Ways To Prevent Panic Attacks
“You need to try to work out what particular stress you might be under that could make your symptoms worse,” says Professor Salkovskis. “It’s important not to restrict your movements and daily activities.”
- Doing breathing exercises every day will help to prevent panic attacks and relieve them when they are happening
- Regular exercise, especially aerobic exercise, will help you to manage stress levels, release tension, improve your mood and boost confidence
- Eat regular meals to stabilise your blood sugar levels
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol and smoking these can make panic attacks worse. Panic support groups have useful advice about how you can effectively manage your attacks. Knowing that other people are experiencing the same feelings can be reassuring. Your GP can put you in touch with groups in your area
- Cognitive behavioural therapy ;can identify and change the negative thought patterns that are feeding your panic attacks
When To Get Help
See a GP if you’ve been experiencing symptoms of panic disorder.
They’ll ask you to describe your symptoms, how often you get them, and how long you have had them.
They may also carry out a physical examination to rule out other conditions that could be causing your symptoms.
It can sometimes be difficult to talk about your feelings, emotions and personal life, but try not to feel anxious or embarrassed.
You may be diagnosed with panic disorder if you have regular and unexpected panic attacks followed by at least a month of continuous worry or concern about having further attacks.
Assessing Panic Attacks: 3 Tests & Questionnaires
Here are a few tools your client can use to examine their panic attacks and the relevant aspects of their mental health:
- The Panic Attack Questionnaire is the most widely used clinical tool for assessing the severity and characteristics of panic attacks and can help you and your client better understand their unique experience.
- The Generalized Anxiety Disorder Questionnaire is used as part of a diagnosis of a variety of anxiety disorders, including panic disorder, and might be useful for examining whether your clients panic attacks are isolated or part of a broader mental health issue.
- The British National Health Service hosts a depression and anxiety self-assessment quiz that may be a useful tool for clients of any nationality to examine their general mental health, which may provide useful insight into the general triggers of their panic attacks.
Don’t Miss: How To Know If You Have Ptsd
Diagnosis For Panic Attacks And Anxiety Attacks
In the past, it was more difficult to diagnose panic and anxiety attacks. The symptoms that come with them are similar to those of many other illnesses, including heart disease, thyroid disorders, and breathing disorders. If you have an attack, you should see your doctor to make sure that the cause of these symptoms is not a serious medical condition.
If you find yourself having panic or anxiety attacks, or anxiety in general, a therapist or mental health professional can help to pinpoint these causes. They may also be able to help diagnose if you have a panic or anxiety disorder that triggers the attacks.
Is It A Panic Attack Or Anxiety Attack
While panic attacks and anxiety attacks may seem the same, they are actually distinct from one another due to their triggers. Anxiety attacks are triggered by events that would be triggering for almost anyone. Panic attacks on the other hand are reactions to internal stimuli alone and can happen in environments or settings that would not trigger someone else.
Also Check: How Does Trileptal Work For Bipolar
What Do Anxiety Attacks Feel Like
Anxiety attacks can make you feel restless, feeling wound up or on edge fatigued, or you may experience physical symptoms like muscle tension. Other symptoms may include difficulty concentrating, feeling irritable, or having trouble sleeping. An anxiety attack can be terrifying; it can feel so scary that it might even make you think youre going to die. Rest assured, anxiety attacks are not dangerous and the feeling will go away.
Until it passes, you might experience some of the unsettling symptoms discussed earlier. It is important to remember that what youre feeling is temporary, know that you will get through it. Although it might be extremely uncomfortable in the moment, you will regain composure soon enough. Some coping strategies to employ during an attack include taking deep breaths through your stomach and talking out loud to yourself. They both have a calming effect on the surge of irrepressible panic and stressed breathing you might feel during an attack.
What Helps To Manage Panic Attacks
Panic attacks can be frightening, but there are things you can do to help yourself cope. It could help to print off these tips, or write them down, and keep them somewhere easy to find.
During a panic attack:
- Focus on your breathing. It can help to concentrate on breathing slowly in and out while counting to five.
- Stamp on the spot. Some people find this helps control their breathing.
- Focus on your senses. For example, taste mint-flavoured sweets or gum, or touch or cuddle something soft.
- Try grounding techniques. Grounding techniques can help you feel more in control. They’re especially useful if you experience dissociation during panic attacks. See our page on self-care for dissociation;for more information on grounding techniques.
After a panic attack:
- Think about self-care. It’s important to pay attention to what your body needs after you’ve had a panic attack. For example, you might need to rest somewhere quietly, or eat or drink something.
- Tell someone you trust. If you feel able to, it could help to let someone know you’ve had a panic attack. It could be particularly helpful to mention how they might notice if you’re having another one, and how you’d like them to help you.
Also Check: Where Are Bipolar Neurons Found
Signs And Symptoms Of Panic Disorder
While many people experience just one or two panic attacks without further episodes or complicationsand theres little reason to worry if thats yousome people go on to develop panic disorder. Panic disorder is characterized by repeated panic attacks, combined with major changes in behavior or persistent anxiety over having further attacks.
You may be suffering from panic disorder if you:
- Experience frequent, unexpected panic attacks that arent tied to a specific situation
- Worry a lot about having another panic attack
- Are behaving differently because of the panic attacks, such as avoiding places where youve previously panicked
While a single panic attack may only last a few minutes, the effects of the experience can leave a lasting imprint. If you have panic disorder, the recurrent panic attacks take an emotional toll. The memory of the intense fear and terror that you felt during the attacks can negatively impact your self-confidence and cause serious disruption to your everyday life. Eventually, this leads to the following panic disorder symptoms:
Anticipatory anxiety Instead of feeling relaxed and like your normal self in between panic attacks, you feel anxious and tense. This anxiety stems from a fear of having future panic attacks. This fear of fear is present most of the time, and can be extremely disabling.
Can Panic Attacks Last For Days
If panicky symptoms last several hours or the better part of a day, its more likely to be ongoing high anxiety rather than a panic attack. These episodes of high anxiety can last days or longer.;
Its possible to have multiple panic attacks that come in waves for hours at a time. It may feel like the panic attack is lasting hours, but each peak is a single attack. In these cases, some of the symptoms may not go away entirely. If your heart keeps racing for an extended period of time, you should seek medical attention to monitor the condition and help relax the palpitations.
Panic attacks are often associated with anxiety disorders, with generalized anxiety disorder being the most common. Both high anxiety and panic attacks can either have triggers or have no discernible cause. GAD can be treated with medication and therapy. When its controlled, you might have fewer and shorter panic attacks.;
Having repeated panic attacks or waves of panic attacks over several days is cause for concern. The side effects of panic attacks put your body in a constant state of stress, which can be damaging to your physical health. Furthermore, high anxiety and multiple panic attacks are bad for your mental health, aggravating conditions like anxiety and depression and creating phobophobia, which is a fear of fear. Fearing another panic attack can place your mind and body in a pre-panic state and take a toll on your everyday life.
Also Check: What Is It Like To Have Schizophrenia
Treatment For Panic And Anxiety
Whether youre dealing with panic, persistent anxiety, or both, effective treatment is available. Some of the most common treatment options include therapy, prescription medications, and self-help strategies. You may decide to try one or a combination of these methods.
- Psychotherapy can help better you understand your symptoms, develop ways to manage them, work through past pain, determine your path for the future, and gain a clearer perspective that will allow for a more hopeful outlook.
- Medicationscan assist you in reducing your symptoms. They sometimes may only be needed for a short period of time to control symptoms while you work on the other strategies.
- Self-help techniques, such as breathing exercises and progressive relaxation, can be beneficial in allowing you to work through symptom management at your own pace.
Remember That It Will Pass
During a panic attack, it can help to remember that these feelings will pass and cause no physical harm, however scary it feels at the time.
Try acknowledging that this is a brief period of concentrated anxiety, and that it will be over soon.
Panic attacks tend to reach their most intense point within 10 minutes of their onset, and then the symptoms will begin to subside.
Read Also: Can You Go To Urgent Care For Panic Attacks
Panic Attacks Vs Anxiety Attacks
Although panic attacks and anxiety attacks are often conflated, they are two distinct conditions with distinct symptoms. In general, panic attacks are abrupt, intense and unexpected, while anxiety attacks are prolonged periods of anxiety. The two experiences share some physical symptoms, including increased heart rate and hyperventilation.
It is important to note the clinical distinctions between the two conditions using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th edition as a basis. The DSM-5 is the psychiatric fields authority on psychiatric diagnosis criteria, treatment recommendations, contemporary terminology and updated scientific findings and research. Panic attacks are defined as a specifier that can be applicable to all disorders in the DSM-5 meaning they provide context to the disorder being diagnosed and can corroborate the diagnosis of any disorder is defined in the DSM-5, however, anxiety attacks do not appear in the Manual as a symptom, specifier or condition. Further, panic attacks can be a specifier or a symptom of any psychiatric disorder defined in the DSM-5, while anxiety itself is only considered a symptom of anxiety disorders.
What Is Panic Disorder
Periodical experiencing a panic attack is referred to panic disorder. And as to panic attack, there are no clear medical causes of panic disorder. But there are established facts about the triggers.
The triggers are those conditions that lead to a panic disorder such as:
- The cardiac problem resulting from when the heart valve doesnt close well. It is medically known as mitral valve prolapsed
- When the thyroid gland overreact
- Low blood sugar in the system known as hypoglycemia
- The use of stimulant or hard drugs such as cocaine, caffeine, and amphetamines
- Withdrawal from some medication.
Read Also: How To Write A Character With Ptsd
Breathing Exercise For Panic Attacks
If youre breathing quickly during a panic attack, doing a breathing exercise can ease your other symptoms. Try this:
- breathe in as slowly, deeply and gently as you can, through your nose
- breathe out slowly, deeply and gently through your mouth
- some people find it helpful to count steadily from one to five on each in-breath and each out-breath
- close your eyes and focus on your breathing
You should start to feel better in a few minutes. You may feel tired afterwards.
Visit the No Panic website for another breathing exercise to calm panic.
Avoid Smoking Alcohol And Caffeine
Certain substances are known to trigger anxiety and sometimes panic attacks. If you notice that your panic attacks occur around the time youve consumed a stimulant such as coffee or another substance, it may be helpful to limit or avoid them and see if your attack frequency changes.
These substances may also increase the intensity of an attack, so avoiding them could help ease symptoms.
Don’t Miss: What Is Schizophrenia Simple Explanation
How To Deal With Panic Attacks
A panic attack is a feeling of sudden and intense anxiety.
Panic attacks can also have physical symptoms, including shaking, feeling disorientated, nausea, rapid, irregular heartbeats, dry mouth, breathlessness, sweating and dizziness.
The symptoms of a panic attack are not dangerous, but can be very frightening.
They can make you feel as though you are having a heart attack, or that you are going to collapse or even die.
Most panic attacks last somewhere from five minutes to half an hour.
Are Panic Attacks Bad For Your Heart
According to a study published in Psychology Medicine1, people who suffer from panic attacks and panic disorder may be at higher risk of heart attack and heart disease later in life. While the link between panic disorder and heart disease remains controversial, the study found that compared to individuals without panic disorder, sufferers were found to have up to a 36% higher risk of heart attack and up to 47% higher risk of heart disease. If you suffer from panic attacks, seek attention for any chest pain symptoms in order to rule out any issues with heart health.
You May Like: Can You Get Ptsd From Mental Abuse
How To Treat Panic Attacks: 6 Exercises And Techniques
Panic attacks can seem as challenging to treat as they are to control.
However, with a systematic approach and adherence to a few simple techniques, panic attacks can become manageable.
In this article, youll gain a working understanding of what triggers a panic attack and how to approach treatment for your client. Youll learn about the options for clinical treatment, as well as exercises and techniques your client can use to manage their panic attacks, both during an attack and in their everyday life to reduce the likelihood of an attack occurring.
Before you continue, we thought you might like to . These science-based exercises will explore fundamental aspects of positive psychology including strengths, values, and self-compassion, and will give you the tools to enhance the wellbeing of your clients, students, or employees.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Panic Disorder
People with panic disorder may have:
- Sudden and repeated panic attacks of overwhelming anxiety and fear
- A feeling of being out of control, or a fear of death or impending doom during a panic attack
- Physical symptoms during a panic attack, such as a pounding or racing heart, sweating, chills, trembling, breathing problems, weakness or dizziness, tingly or numb hands, chest pain, stomach pain, and nausea
- An intense worry about when the next panic attack will happen
- A fear or avoidance of places where panic attacks have occurred in the past
Also Check: Is Tms Approved For Bipolar
Panic Attack Vs Everyday Worries
Everyone worries now and again. It is important to understand that it is a common occurrence to feel worry or dread even when difficult things happen. A panic attack is different from this, however, in that it feels like a zero-sum game to the sufferer. Their experience is outsized and extreme in comparison to the trigger. Additionally, the physiological response in a panic attack differentiates it from normal worry or anxiety.
- Panic attacks are often comorbid with agoraphobia
- 1 million individuals in the US have a panic attack once a month
- Almost half of panic attack sufferers have depression, too
The Physical Symptoms of a Panic Attack
- Increased heart rate, galloping heart rate
- Dizzy feeling
- A sense of being in danger, losing control or impending doom
- Pains in the chest
- Tingling in arms and legs
How Long Does A Panic Attack Last & What Are The Stages Of A Panic Attack
Panic attacks seem to have similar timelines and follow a definite pattern. The panic episode tends to peak for the initial 10 minutes and then decline gradually. This slow but steady decline can last for any 10 minutes and sometimes may even extend for many hours. The weaker the panic attack, the longer it seems to last.
Although the panic attacks follow a specific pattern, the symptoms that show up are, however, different and are affected by the way in which the individual reacts to the anxiety. A limited symptom panic attack is described as a panic attack in which lesser than 4 symptoms develop and each episode can generally lasts for a few minutes to several hours. These panic attacks hardly peak, are more bearable and easier for most people to handle. However, they last for extended periods. The resultant fatigue of a panic attack can stay throughout the day depending on the severity of the panic attack episode. Generally panic attacks follow the below mentioned structure and timeline:
Pre-Attack: During this phase, the sufferer may start getting panicky and feeling that something is going terribly wrong. Their heartbeats start racing suddenly. This period can be small and last for minutes before fading off or the panic attack can build up and aggravate to last for as long as10 minutes and even more.
Read Also: What Is An Eating Disorder Classified As