How To Stop A Panic Attack: The Usual Suggestions
When I started looking online at the advice for panic attacks, I got really frustrated.
Most of what I found was not very helpful.
One expert advisesthe very best thing you can do is actually nothing.
Other typical suggestions are to control your breathing by taking deeps breaths or breathing into a paper bag.
But deep breathing can sometimes make panic symptoms even worse.
Another oft-recommended technique is to consciously relax your muscles.
But, as anyone who has had a panic attack can attest, its virtually impossible to will yourself to relax in the middle of a panic attack.
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Other suggestions focus on managing your thoughts, such as picturing a happy place, thinking positive thoughts, or reciting a positive mantra such as I am safe or This feeling will pass and Ill be OK.
And, while learning to manage anxious thoughts is an excellent long-term strategy, its not much use in the middle of a panic attack there is no reasoning with yourself at a time like that!
Another popular piece of advice is to distract yourself by calling a friend, squeezing a stress ball, or even doing jumping jacks.
And, of course, doctors often prescribe anti-anxiety medications.
But these drugs are highly addictive and have many unwanted side effects.
If these suggestions work for you, thats fine.
Seeking Professional Help For An Anxiety Or Panic Disorder
Seeking professional help can help you and your child gain knowledge about the tools and techniques used to prevent and manage anxiety attacks. A trained professional may have insight on why your child is having panic attacks, however there may not be a specific reason or trigger. Additionally, a trained professional can teach certain techniques such as exposure therapy and relaxation techniques to help your son or daughter overcome panic attacks. Although there are medications known to help panic disorders, they are not recommended for children due to the side effects, therefore these disorders are best managed with therapy and knowledge.
If your child has been experiencing frequent panic attacks likely related to an anxiety disorder, Discovery Mood and Anxiety Program is here to help. Please contact Discovery to get in touch with a supportive professional today.
Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator
This online resource, provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration , helps you locate mental health treatment facilities and programs. Find a facility in your state by searching SAMHSAs online Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator. For additional resources, visit NIMH’s Help for Mental Illnesses webpage.
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Tell Yourself Youre Just Processing Information
When youre suffering from PTSD, panic attacks are so often you cant tell when youre actually having one. Youre in a constant state of fight or flight for months on end. Youre too scared to fall asleep and terrified while being awake. Eventually, when you do finally fall asleep, you wake up from nightmares that scare you awake. Sometimes they come as often as every ten minutes.
A social worker once told me that nightmares are the brains way of processing information. The best way to combat them is to say processing information every time you wake up from one. This little trick has helped desensitize nightmares over the long-term so you feel less panicked after waking up from one.
Top Rated Anxiety Therapist In Fort Worth Texas
Wondering how to stop a panic attack? Hopefully, todays blog post offered some helpful strategies. However, if you struggle with chronic anxiety or suffer frequent panic attacks, the best way to stop them is to seek the help of a licensed therapist.
Fort Wellness Counseling is home to one of the top-rated anxiety and depression therapists in the Fort Worth area. With over a decade of experience helping people overcome their anxiety, I am confident in my ability to help you.
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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Is 70 To 90 Percent Effective As A Treatment For Panic Disorder
Panic disorder is one of the most treatable anxiety disorders. The prevailing treatment is cognitive behavioral therapy . A new offshoot of CBT, known as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy , has also been found effective in treating panic disorder. Psychologist Steven Hayes developed ACT in part as a way to treat his own panic disorder. This form of therapy uses acceptance and mindfulness techniques to change how you relate to your physical sensations of anxiety and anxiety itself.
CBT is an incredibly effective treatment for panic disorder. Seventy to ninety percent of people who undergo CBT will get better, says Gruner.
A key part of CBT in treating panic is a method called interoceptive exposure, in which the person deliberately confronts the unpleasant physical sensations that are causing anxiety. People become more sensitive to these sensations because they fear and avoid them, so facing the sensations and learning that they are not dangerous can lower anxiety sensitivity.
CBT sessions are usually conducted on a weekly basis and last for around 12 to 16 sessions. The treatment tends to show long-lasting results, and relapse is uncommon.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are also often used to treat depression and anxiety disorders, with or without CBT. These drugs can be effective, but CBT has been found to be a longer-lasting treatment than SSRIs.
Keep Lavender On Hand
Lavender is a traditional remedy that many people use to reduce stress and help them relax.
Research suggests it has a calming effect but doesnt lead to dependence or cause withdrawal symptoms. Using products that contain diluted lavender oil may help reduce or manage symptoms of anxiety.
However, the Food and Drug Administration does not regulate essential oils, and strengths and ingredients vary widely.
If you use lavender essential oil, make sure you:
- get your oil from a reputable source, such as a pharmacy
- follow the instructions for use
- avoid applying concentrated oil directly to the skin
- avoid using lavender with benzodiazepines because the combination can cause intense drowsiness
While research suggests there are health benefits, the FDA doesnt monitor or regulate the purity or quality of essential oils. Its important to talk with a healthcare professional before you begin using essential oils and be sure to research the quality of a brands products. Always do a patch test before trying a new essential oil.
Which essential oil is right for you?
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What Does An Anxiety Attack Feel Like
Some common symptoms associated with a panic attack include:
- Heart palpitations
- Feelings of being detached from oneself
- Fear of losing control
Panic attacks typically begin suddenly, without warning and they can strike at any time. You may have occasional panic attacks, or they may occur frequently. If you have recurring panic attacks and worry about future panic attacks, you may have panic disorder.
Panic attacks may come on suddenly and without warning at first, but over time, theyre usually triggered by certain situations.
For some people, a panic attack might not look like anything more than a moment of zoning out. Even in cases where symptoms are not physically apparent, anxiety could still be wreaking havoc internally.
Panic attacks can be draining and disheartening, and experiencing them regularly can certainly take a toll on your physical and mental well-being. There are several different strategies that can help you regain control over your anxiety, and may help you stop a panic attack in its tracks.
Walk Or Do Some Light Exercise
Walking can remove a person from a stressful environment, and the rhythm of walking may also help them regulate their breathing.
Moving around releases hormones called endorphins that relax the body and improve mood. Taking up regular exercise can help reduce anxiety over time, which may lead to a reduction in the number or severity of panic attacks.
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First Step: Breathing As The Object
Find a comfortable place with minimum distractions. You will need to avoid any distractions for the next 5 minutes.
Turn off or silence your phone and turn off your TV.
For starter, you will practice for at least 5 minutes, twice daily. Once in the morning before any activities, or before going to work and once in the evening after work.
Youll do the sitting posture. You dont have to sit in lotus posture if you dont want to or if you feel it uncomfortable. You can use any chair. Sit with your back straight up in a relaxed and natural way. This is to avoid drowsiness and to help you maintain awareness.
I recommend you to close your eyes to avoid visual distractions, especially if youre a beginner.
This is how youll do it
You will use your breathing activity as the object of your meditation practice.
What is an object? A meditation object is something to be aware of or something you pay your attention to. Youll understand what I mean in a moment. So, please, read on.
No need to regulate your breath intentionally or breathe in a certain way. Just breathe normally, naturally.
Pay attention to the process of breathing, the air moving in as you inhale, the air moving out as you exhale. Feel the flow of the air, in and out, at the nostrils. Feel that the air youre exhaling is a bit warmer than the air youre inhaling.
Or, alternatively, you can pay attention to your abdomen moving up and down.
Objects are where you pay your attention to, what to be aware of
What Do I Do If Im Having A Panic Attack
With or without panic disorder, panic attacks are common. And theres a big misconception around dealing with them, Gruner explains.
The most common advice people hear when theyre experiencing a panic attack is to take deep breaths, think positively, and try to calm down, he says.
However, trying to control anxiety in these ways can backfire. Struggling to prevent a panic attack can have a paradoxical effect and actually cause a panic attack.
During a panic attack, a person should do the counterintuitive thing: let go of control and allow the panic attack to run its course.
It can also be useful to remind yourself that you cant die from a panic attack, and that its your bodys normal, natural reaction, which is not dangerous.
Gabe Gruner, LICSW, is a psychotherapist at the Psychiatry Outpatient Clinic at Brigham and Womens Hospital .
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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.
Talk To A Therapist With Experience In Anxiety Attacks
People often fear the worst when they’re having an anxiety attack. Most of the time, theres no underlying physical problem, such as a real heart attack. But you should get the medical all clear if you have repeat anxiety attacks, just to be sure you dont need additional treatment. Then find a cognitive behavioral therapist with experience treating anxiety to help you through.
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Here’s A Panic Attack Cure
Do you need help with panic attacks? Let me put your mind at ease . Regardless of how long youve had the problem, panic attacks can be cured. Theres one powerful panic attack cure in particular.
The most significant difference between someone who is cured of panic attacks and someone who is not is simple. Here is the key point you need to know: The cured person is the one who is not afraid of panic attacks.
The trick to a panic attack cure is to want to have a panic attack. I know that sounds strange, but stay with me for a moment. Heres why this works: wanting to have a panic attack causes an immediate dissipation of any anticipatory fear. And the opposite is also true: If you avoid or resist a situation out of fear, the fear will persist.
So the solution to treating panic attacks is to stop resisting them. But how does one stop resisting? Heres how: You face the anxiety directly. And how do you do that? Try to have a panic attack in this very moment go ahead, try . Sure, calling on an attack is a scary idea, but play with the concept and see what happens.
It may comfort and encourage you to know that, while it might be uncomfortable, a panic attack cant hurt you. Its medical fact. Your place of safety is in knowing that no harm can come to you by calling on an attack.
For more on this cure and others, check out my program.
Try To Find Evidence For Your Fear
When trying to stop a panic attack, you need to get to the root cause of it: your fear. Many times are fears are exaggerated in our mind. Our imagination can play some terrifying tricks on us. A simple way to stop panic attacks is to first label what the situation or trigger is. For example, an upcoming wedding. Then, list your feelings such as anxious, paranoid, scared, etc. Next, name the unhelpful thoughts that youre having. For example, feeling like youre in danger, feeling like youre about to die. Then, list the facts that support your unhelpful thought.
Keep in mind they need to be facts not beliefs. You might have some weird coincidences that you can list but that wont be considered actual evidence. Then, list facts that provide evidence against the unhelpful thought. For example, maybe youre still young and healthy so you likely arent about to die. Next, provide an alternative and more realistic. Next, focus on reevaluate you how currently feel. This is the Thought Record you can fill out to help you.
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Recognize That Youre Having A Panic Attack
Take away the fear that you may be dying or that impending doom is looming, both symptoms of panic attacks. This can allow you to focus on other techniques to reduce your symptoms.
It is not always possible to avoid triggers for a panic attack, but if you know what triggers it, this can help you understand that it is a panic attack and not something else.
Talk To Someone About It
Joining a support group or talking to someone to share your feelings will help you release some stress and reduce your negative thoughts. If your panic attacks are not manageable or they are causing you other issues such as depression or other phobias we would strongly advise you to consult a professional therapist.
You have learned how to stop anticipating panic attacks. However, it will not take a day or two to control them. It is best to be determined, positive, and committed to overcoming them. In addition, converting negative thoughts into positive ones is an essential part of defeating panic attacks.
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Useful Ways To Stop An Anxiety Attack
Director of Therapy
10 Minute Read
If you struggle with anxiety and panic attacks, you know the discomfort all too well. Panic attacks, which are sometimes colloquially referred to as anxiety attacks, can cause a variety of symptoms and may manifest differently for different people.
Anxiety itself can be very hard to manage and get control over, and when panic attacks come into the picture, too, things can feel that much more overwhelming and draining. That said, there are several ways that you can try to manage a panic attack, and practicing certain coping techniques can help.
Certain methods of anxiety and stress reduction may also help prevent panic attacks from happening in the first place, or at least reduce the frequency and intensity. This is your ultimate guide to stopping panic attacks.
Want to speak 1:1 with a licensed expert about anxiety or panic? Start with a free assessment.
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Focus On Action Over Words
A soothing, familiar voice helps some people, but try to avoid repeatedly saying things like dont worry or asking them if theyre alright over and over.
Of course you mean well, but your words may not have much benefit in the moment. They can also make the situation more stressful, since your loved one may believe theyre doing something wrong by not being alright.
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