Know What To Do For Calming A Panic Attack
Now you have some effective ways of calming a panic attack.
We understand its a highly unpleasant and scary thing to go through, which is why we hope the above tips have helped. But one of the most important things in handling an anxiety attack is to have the aid of a professional therapist.
With their help, you can learn even more effective ways of dealing with these panic attacks so they arent as detrimental to your life. In addition, they can help you pinpoint your sources of anxiety and give you effective ways to deal with them so your chances of anxiety attacks are decreased for the future.
A Panic Attack Comes Out Of Nowhere And Is Not An Anxiety Attack
Though we tend to use the terms panic attack and anxiety attack interchangeably, its worth noting that professionally speaking , theres actually no such thing as an anxiety attack, per se.
Anxiety is an excessive persistent worrying over an imminent event that can last a while. A panic attack is a burst of intense fear that typically lasts fewer than 30 minutes, Dr. Carolyn Rodriguez, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford tells NBC News BETTER. She says that she would never use the term anxiety attack to define any such event, noting that the term is something of a lay approach.
Additionally, when panic attacks are linked to a panic disorder, they come out of the blue with no apparent trigger, but anyone can experience a panic attack. If youre afraid of heights for instance, and are up on the roof, you might have a panic attack. The difference here is that in this case, the panic attack has a clear cause, whereas with a panic disorder theres no obvious culprit in the environment.
Calming Step : Focus On Breathing
Your breath affects your mental state, so breathing is a crucial part of stopping a panic attack.
During a panic attack, your breathing speeds up, a signal that your body is in fight-or-flight mode, Dr. Josell says. Rapid breathing sends a clear signal that youre in danger, but slow, deep breathing helps to turn off the fight-or-flight response.
Try Some Aerobic Activity
During periods of anxiety, your body is filled with adrenaline. Putting that adrenaline toward aerobic activity can be a great way to improve your anxiety. Exercise has numerous advantages for controlling your anxiety symptoms:
- Exercise burns away stress hormones that create anxiety symptoms.
- Exercise tires your muscles, reducing excess energy and tension.
- Exercise releases endorphins in your brain which can improve overall mood.
- Exercise is linked to healthier breathing.
- Exercise is a healthy distraction.
Aerobic activity, like light jogging or even fast walking, can be extremely effective at reducing the severity of your anxiety symptoms, as well as the anxiety itself.
Breathwork In Any Environment
The above tips can be difficult to do in a crowded spot or if you don’t have the kit with you. Luckily, breathwork techniques can be done anywhere, anytime.
“Depending on your environment, you can try progressive muscle relaxation, meditation or square breathing,” says Bruha.
Square breathing uses four actions, each lasting for about four seconds.
Square breathing instructions:
- Breathe in through your nose while counting to four
- Hold your breath for a count of four
- Exhale slowly to a count of four
- Hold your breath for a count of four
Repeat these four actions, for as long as you want to.
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How To Stop A Panic Attack
You can help stop a panic attack by breaking it down into phases and symptoms. This makes it easier to recognize when a panic attack is coming on so you can interrupt it before it becomes too overwhelming.
The first step in managing a panic attack is being able to recognize when it’s happening. Besides sudden, overwhelming feelings of anxiety, fear, or dread, you may also have symptoms like a racing heart, nausea, or chest pain.
Thank Your Body For Fighting Even If It Was Misled
Its easy to get upset at ourselves when we have a panic attack, even though theyre not our fault. Rather than feeling bad about these episodes, thank your body for the hard work its done after a panic attack.
Be gentle and kind to yourself and dont underestimate your body’s response respect it. Think, Wow my body is strong, it really got ready to fight and now we have to rest a little bit now. A positive attitude can be so helpful to lean in to the anxiety instead of avoiding it. And remember, there are therapists here to help you. This is very treatable and you dont need to suffer.
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What To Do When Someone Else Is Having A Panic Attack
This section will provide some tips on how to help a person having a panic attack.
First, try talking them through a few of the methods above. For instance, help them find a peaceful spot, encourage them to take slow, deep breaths, and ask them to focus on a nearby object.
If you do not know the person, introduce yourself and ask them if they need help. Ask them if they have had a panic attack before, and if so, what helps them regain control.
People can also try the following tips when someone else is having a panic attack:
- Try to remain calm. This will help them relax a little more.
- Suggest moving to a quiet spot nearby and help them find one. Sitting down in a comfortable place can be very effective, as it allows them to focus on their breathing.
- Remind the person that panic attacks always end.
- Stay positive and nonjudgmental. Avoid validating any negative statements.
- Try having a gentle, friendly conversation to distract them and help them feel safe.
- Avoid telling them to calm down or telling them that there is nothing to worry about, as this devalues their emotions.
- Stay with them. If they feel that they need to be alone, make sure they remain visible.
Managing A Panic Attack At Work
A panic attack, defined by the American Psychological Association as, a sudden surge of overwhelming fear that comes without warning and without any obvious reason can strike anyone at any timeeven at work. The feelings and physical symptoms are very real and can be very scary. Panic attacks wont kill you, but depending on how severe and frequent they are, they can have a significant impact on your quality of life in every realm, including work. Often triggered by stressful situations, the symptoms of panic attacks usually recede when the stress ends. Common triggers at work include public speaking, conflict, an important meeting, a major transition such as a promotion or a big project, or a work-related social event such as a meeting with a key client or after-work drinks. The author provides tips for managing your symptoms and keeping them from taking over your workday and how to support a colleague who may be experiencing one.
Youre at work when you suddenly feel a deep sense of dread. Heart pounding, hands trembling, lightheaded, and drenched in sweat, you cant breathe. You think youre having a heart attack and feel like youre about to die. Youre about to call for an ambulance when the symptoms start to fade. You just had a panic attack.
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Introduction To Anxiety Attacks/panic Attacks
Anxiety attacks are not a psychological term, so their definition can vary a bit depending on the speaker. But anxiety attacks are often used either synonymously with the term “panic attacks” .
Panic attacks are short term moments of anxiety so severe, it can feel like you are about to die. During an anxiety attack, you’ll often experience a host of physical and mental symptoms that can leave you severely frightened and incredibly drained once they pass. These include:
It’s not uncommon to experience other unusual symptoms during an anxiety attack that all contribute to further fear. Anxiety attacks tend to peak around 10 minutes in and then slowly fade over the course of a few hours, often leaving the individual drained and anxious, and in some cases wondering what went wrong.
These panic attacks are rarely just feelings of nervousness or worry. They are very physical and mental events. Those that have never had a panic attack before dont always realize that they had an anxiety attack. Some people have first-time anxiety attacks so severe that they call the hospital because they think something is going horribly wrong.
How To Calm Down Quickly
Something sets you off, and before long, you feel stuck in an endless loop of intrusive thoughts, pondering every possible thing that could go wrong. Your body tenses, your breathing quickens, and you can hear your heartbeat pounding in your ears.
When you feel anxiety kick in like this, its time to calm yourself down. The first step is awareness. Its a good idea to learn to recognize the first signs of anxiety and get to work right away before experiencing an episode.
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Avoid Stimulants Like Coffee And Alcohol
Caffeine and alcohol can often have the opposite effect to what you might think. Coffee for example has been proven to induce more anxiety especially when drunk in high doses . Alcohol too can, on the face of it, help us to calm down if were feeling anxious. However, over time alcohol and anxiety don’t pair well together and will worsen any symptoms of anxiety you’re currently experiencing.
How To Prevent A Panic Attack
- Limiting your use of alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine or avoiding them completely.
- Eating a balanced diet.
- Joining a support group such as one through the ADAA.
Treatment can also include identifying panic-inducing environments or situations and developing coping skills to help decrease your stress.
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Treatment For Panic Attacks And Panic Disorder
The most effective form of professional treatment for tackling panic attacks, panic disorder, and agoraphobia is therapy. Even a short course of treatment can help.
Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on the thinking patterns and behaviors that are sustaining or triggering your panic attacks and helps you look at your fears in a more realistic light. For example, if you had a panic attack while driving, what is the worst thing that would really happen? While you might have to pull over to the side of the road, you are not likely to crash your car or have a heart attack. Once you learn that nothing truly disastrous is going to happen, the experience of panic becomes less terrifying.
Exposure therapy for panic disorder allows you to experience the physical sensations of panic in a safe and controlled environment, giving you the opportunity to learn healthier ways of coping. You may be asked to hyperventilate, shake your head from side to side, or hold your breath. These different exercises cause sensations similar to the symptoms of panic. With each exposure, you become less afraid of these internal bodily sensations and feel a greater sense of control over your panic.
Write Down Your Feelings
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What To Do When Someone Is Having A Panic Attack
Talking to someone through a panic attack is one strategy and there are more structured methods to try if your words don’t seem to be helping.
- Count backward from 10, slowly
- Place an ice cube on the writs or face for a few moments
- Take a walk or engage in some type of movement
- Try to solve simple math problems
- Practice visualization
- Try a grounding exercise, like the 5-4-3-2-1 grounding technique
Write Down The Signs Of An Anxiety Attack
Once you know youre having an anxiety attack, try to jot down a few of the symptoms and thoughts you are experiencing. This can help you put your anxiety attack into perspective.
One of the things that worsens anxiety and can make it develop into a panic attack is looking at those symptoms in a catastrophic way, says Cheryl Carmin, PhD, director of clinical psychology training at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center and a professor at Ohio State in Columbus.
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Before A Panic Attack
Panic attacks can occur for a number of reasons, including:
- Unrelated to any specific trigger and unexpected:These types of panic attacks can even occur when you are relaxed or asleep and are the most common type of panic attack.
- Situational-induced:These occur as a response to something specific and expected, such as being in an enclosed space. They happen in anticipation of the trigger or immediately after exposure to it.
- Situational predisposed: With these types of attacks, a trigger often causes a panic attack, but not always. For example, having a fear of spiders and seeing a spider might bring on a panic attack, but sometimes an attack won’t happen at all or one might occur after the trigger is no longer present.
- Emotionally induced:These types of panic attacks are brought on by a special highly emotional circumstance. These types of attacks are common at night.
- Situational: These types of panic attacks are common with specific types of phobias, like social phobias. They are also common in panic disorders.
Knowing the situations and triggers that may cause panic attacks can help you prepare for them. Having tools ready to use when needed offers some control over the situation and can lessen the intensity of symptoms.
What Does Anxiety Attack Mean
Anxiety attacks often have triggers, although they can be triggered by nothing at all. Some people experience anxiety attacks during periods of intense anxiety, but many others experience them “out of nowhere,” usually as a response to a physical sensation. For example, it’s not uncommon to have your first anxiety attack simply because your heartbeat speeds up, because anxiety has caused you to be hypersensitive to these changes.
The causes of anxiety attacks are everything from severe stress to hyperventilation to a need to regain control. It differs for different people, which is why treating it has a great deal to do with identifying triggers. Once you’ve experienced an anxiety attack, the fear of another anxiety attack may actually trigger an attack, because those that are afraid of getting a panic attack again often pay too much attention to their own body, and react to any changes in sensations.
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Repeat A Mantra To Keep Yourself From Losing It
I dont enjoy using the word mantra, but you need to have something to say to yourself to keep you in a relaxed state. One thing I felt when I was having an anxiety attack is that I couldnt breathe and that I might die from asphyxia. So I started repeating the same sentence over and over to remind myself that I just needed to breathe.
This is what I said: If Im talking, Im breathing, and if Im breathing, Im alive.
I said this because I remembered that if you couldnt breathe, it would be impossible to talk. So I just repeated it a lot. There might be different arguments for this, but at that moment, that was my reasoning.
Depending on what your anxiety attack is causing you to do, have a mantra so that you can repeat it to stay focused on your breathing.
What Are Anxiety Attacks
Defining and understanding what you are dealing with is the first step in the recovery process. For many, the wrong terminology can make it hard for them to find out more about what you are going through. For example, while many believe they may be experiencing an anxiety attack, they actually have a panic attack. Anxiety attacks and panic attacks are both terms that are used to describe the same thing. Whether you choose to call it an anxiety attack or a panic attack, however, its important to know the signs and symptoms of an attack when it strikes. Panic attacks can have alarming symptoms, including physical sensations that mimic a heart attack, so its important to recognize the signs.
Symptoms Of Panic Attacks
A panic attack is described by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as an abrupt surge of intense fear or intense discomfort, which may often be experienced for no reason at all or may be triggered by overwhelming feelings of anxiety. Symptoms of panic attacks include:
- An overwhelming feeling of dread and impending doom
- Fear of losing control
- Feeling weak, fatigued, or dizzy
- Stomach pain and nausea
Symptoms of an anxiety disorder like generalized anxiety disorder, for example, include:
- Excessive worry in almost all aspects of daily life
- Difficulty controlling your feelings of worry or nervousness
- Feelings of restlessness
- Frequent restroom visits
- Difficulty swallowing
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