How do you deal with panic attacks?

Nov 13, 2023

A panic attack may occur when a person is extremely anxious. These attacks might occasionally be a sign of panic disorder. A clinician may identify panic disorder based on the frequency and anxiety of panic attacks. A person with anxiety disorder may feel overpowering feelings, such as helplessness and terror, during a panic attack. Rapid breathing, shivering, sweating, and a quick heartbeat are examples of physical panic disorder symptoms.

Terror plays a major role in panic attacks. Despite the fact that intense anxiety has more panic attacks and that most people only link them with the mind, they actually consist of a variety of physical and cognitive symptoms. Fear grips your brain; your body reacts; and it might be challenging to make sense of it all.

Specific conditions that cause abdominal distress or increased stress are common triggers of panic attacks. However, for other people, they occur repeatedly with no apparent cause. The individual in this situation may have panic disorder. An individual panic episode may occur once or often as a symptom of panic disorder. No matter what, an intense fear attack can be unsettling, frightful, and uncomfortable. The emotions are stronger than the typical stress that people feel.

The average duration of a panic episode is 5 to 20 minutes, but the aftereffects can persist for up to an hour.

The Signs and Symptoms

The warning signs and panic attack symptoms appear suddenly and often peak in 10 minutes. They often end within 20 to 30 minutes and rarely last longer than an hour. At any time, anywhere, panic attacks can occur. You can consume one whether you're sitting on the couch at home, driving your car, walking down the street, or even shopping at a store.

At least four of the following signs and symptoms are present during a panic attack:

• Chest discomfort and pain or racing heartbeat

• Feeling cold or hot

• Feeling faint and dizzy

• A fear of dying

• A concern about "going crazy" or losing control.

• A fast heartbeat, palpitations, or an irregular pulse

• Tingling or numbness

• Trembling, sweating, or shaking

• Breathing issues that may cause choking sensations or choking feelings

• A sense of detachment from reality

• diarrhea and stomach discomfort

The symptoms of a panic attack can be similar to those of other illnesses, such as respiratory problems, thyroid disorders, or coronary artery disease.

When having a panic attack, a person may go to the emergency room because they believe they are having a heart attack.

Causes of Panic Attacks

Panic can trigger panic attacks that can be brought on by a wide range of stressors, including traumatic events or experiences, financial stress, family history, or even public speaking. However, they can sometimes happen suddenly and without a clear cause.

The sympathetic nervous system, a network of nerves that sets off the "fight or flight" reaction to perceived danger, is activated when humans suffer acute stress. Chemicals like epinephrine, also known as adrenaline, and norepinephrine are released by the body and cause the heart to race, the pupils to dilate, and the skin to perspire.

The tendency to experience panic attacks runs in families, despite the fact that the precise origins of panic attacks and panic disorder are unknown. There also seems to be a link between significant life events like getting married, having a child, graduating from college, and starting a job. Panic disorders and attacks can also be brought on by extreme stress, such as the death of a loved one, a divorce, a job loss, or other mental health conditions.

How do I control panic attack when it happens?

You should visit the emergency hospital to determine that you are actually suffering from a panic attack rather than a cardiac problem if you have never before had a panic attack and are experiencing chest pain and shortness of breath. However, if you've previously experienced panic attacks or mental health issues and you notice that you're having one again, these strategies can help you stay present and prevent panic attacks.

To use these coping mechanisms when the next panic attack or anxiety attack ever strikes, it may be beneficial to practice them beforehand and make panic attacks worse.

Talk yourself through it.

Remind yourself that, while frightening, sudden attacks or unexpected panic attacks or episodes are not harmful because you have already survived them.

Know who to call.

When you feel a panic attack coming on, talk it out with a close friend or relative you can trust. Simply describing the physical sensations all throughout your body and discussing them with someone else will help you feel more stable right now.

Count colors.

Simple grounding exercises like counting and naming the colors in your environment are advised by some therapists. As you notice the carpet is blue or your clothing is red, say each one aloud or just make a mental note of it. By doing this, you can take your attention off of the overwhelming anxiety that is growing inside of you.

Grab something cold.

Hold an ice cube from your freezer in your hand, or wrap your wrist in a wet, cool washcloth. The jolt of cold can help you stay in the moment and can also help you stop sweating and feeling heated, which some individuals experience during symptoms of panic disorder or attacks.

Breathe like a baby.

Taking calm breaths can be beneficial because hyperventilation, a common aspect of panic attacks, can make patients feel lightheaded.

Adults frequently breathe from our chests; it might be beneficial to breathe from our diaphragms instead, similar to how a newborn might, while concentrating on extending our belly.

As a result, the brain receives an oxygen boost, and the parasympathetic nervous system is activated, which helps us signal that we don't need to fight and lessens levels of distress.

How to help someone having a panic attack

It can be terrible to observe a friend or family member having a panic attack. They may suffer abnormally quick and shallow breathing, dizziness or lightheadedness, shaking, sweating, nausea, or the sensation that they are having a heart attack. Whatever you may think of your loved one's terrified response to a situation, keep in mind that the threat looks very real to them. Simply encouraging them to relax or downplay their concerns will not help. However, by supporting your loved one during a panic attack, you can make them less afraid of future panic episodes.

Maintain your own calm. Being composed, sympathetic, and nonjudgmental will hasten the calming of your loved one's anxiety. Your loved one should concentrate on breathing. As you guide your friend through a few minutes of relaxed, deep breathing, they should sit in a serene environment.

Do something active. Stamp your feet, or lift and lower your arms collectively. Burning off some of your loved one's tension can be beneficial. Asking them to list five items around or engaging them in a calming conversation on a shared interest will help you break your friend out of their own thoughts.

When a panic episode strikes again, tell your loved one to get help and have their panic disorder treated. Once the panic attack is over, your loved one may feel embarrassed about having an episode in front of you. Reassure them and urge them to seek out help for their anxiety. Believe in the power of talk therapy.

How to avoid psychic attacks

Study up on anxiety and panic.

Simply increasing your knowledge about recurring panic attacks can help you feel better. Learn about anxiety, symptoms of panic disorder, and the fight-or-flight reaction a panic attack causes. You'll discover that the sensations and emotions you experience during a panic attack are common and that you're not insane. Talk to a mental health professional to understand more about your panic attack symptoms.

Steer clear of coffee, alcohol, and smoking.

People who are predisposed to anxiety disorders who develop panic disorders or attacks may experience any of these. If you require assistance quitting smoking, Medications that contain stimulants, such as diet pills and non-drowsy cold remedies, should also be used with caution. You should have a healthy diet as well.

Find out how to regulate your breathing.

Numerous physical symptoms of a panic attack, including dizziness, difficulty breathing, and tightness in the chest, are exacerbated by hyperventilation. On the other hand, deep breathing can lessen the effects of repeated panic attacks. You can control your breathing so that you can relax when you start to feel nervous. You're also less likely to produce the sensations you're scared of if you know how to control your breathing.

Do breathing exercises regularly.

Face-to-face interactions with family and friends

Reach out to those who care about you frequently because loneliness can exacerbate anxiety and symptoms of panic. If you feel alone and isolated, look into strategies to make new friends and find helpful relationships.

Routinely moving around.

Try to move for at least 30 minutes on most days (three 10-minute sessions are equally effective). Exercise is a natural way to reduce anxiety. It can be especially beneficial to engage in rhythmic aerobic exercise that requires arm and leg motion, such as walking, running, swimming, or dancing.

Sleep well enough each night. Try to get seven to nine hours of peaceful sleep every night because getting less or less restful sleep might exacerbate anxiety. If you have trouble sleeping, following suggestions for a restful night's sleep can be of assistance.

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