How It Feels After A Panic Attack
A more likely possibility is that you had a single panic attack that leaves you feeling generally anxious, tired, and frayed. While panic attacks can be scary, theyre not dangerous. But the fear they may cause you can be more unsettling than the attack itself. Thats especially true if youve never had one before. When its your first episode, you may think youre having a stroke or a heart attack.
How do you tell if its a panic attack or high anxiety? Its tricky. It helps to talk to your doctor, but a closer look at your symptoms often can give you some clues.
A true panic attack tends to have clear, intense, physical symptoms a pounding heart, shortness of breath, and so on.
Anxiety can give you some of these, but they tend to be milder. Instead, youll have more mental symptoms like a racing mind, lots of worries you cant stop, and a hard time focusing. You might also feel restless and have a hard time sleeping.
Focus On Something Else
After a panic attack, your personal thoughts and energy may be overly focused on your anxiety and other symptoms. Instead of feeding your anxiety with more attention or worry, try to concentrate on something that brings you some happiness or a sense of peace.
For example, you may find it helpful to bring your awareness to something fun you plan on doing in the future or to joyful times from your past. If possible, try taking a walk in the fresh air or engage in an activity you enjoy to help clear your mind.
Some distraction techniques that can be effective include counting breaths, watching television, reading a book, meditating, or a creative hobby.
The 5 4 3 2 1 Grounding Technique
The 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 technique uses your 5 senses to help ground you in the present when anxious thoughts are racing through your mind. Heres how:
- Name 5 things that you can see
- Name 4 things that you can feel
- Name 3 things that you can hear
- Name 2 things that you can smell
- Name 1 thing that you can taste
This exercise can be used anytime and anywhere. Combine it with some deep breathing and you should see the anxiety start to reduce.
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Sharon L Campbell Dvm Ms Dacvim
Dr. Campbell received her DVM degree from University of Wisconsin and completed a residency in internal medicine and a Masters Degree at Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. She was a Clinical Instructor at the University of Tennessee for 2 years, then worked at a private referral hospital for many years before joining Zoetis, where she is a Medical Lead for the pain management, anesthesia, sedation, behavior and anti-infectives portfolio of medications.
Dr. Campbell is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. She is Fear Free Certified and is on the Fear Free Advisory Board.
Waves Of Panic Attacks
If you have panic attack symptoms for an hour or more, you may really be having a wave of panic attacks, one after another. Theres actually a period of recovery between them, though you may not notice it. The overall effect feels like youre being hit with one never-ending attack.
Its rare that this happens, though. The fight or flight response is so draining, its hard to set it off that often.
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During A Panic Attack
Panic attacks feel different for everyone. Some people might have physical symptoms first, followed by emotional symptoms, while others have emotional symptoms first or experience various symptoms at the same time. Regardless of how a panic attack feels, there are ways to lessen or stop symptoms once they starts.
Panic attacks may feel like they are never ending, but they usually peak within 10 minutes. Keeping this in mind and using techniques that bring relaxation, distraction, and mindfulness can lessen symptoms during a panic attack
Relaxation techniques can help prevent hyperventilation, slow down a racing heart, and interrupt the body’s natural panic response to extreme stress. Some examples include:
- 4-7-8 breathing:Breathe in for a count of four, hold the breath for a count of seven, and breathe out for a count of eight.
- Meditative breathing: Focus on the breath as it enters and leaves the body. As thoughts or distractions enter the mind, bring the focus back to breathing.
- Grounding breathing:Combine a focus on breathing with a grounding experience like drawing circles on the palm of one hand with the finger of the other hand. Doing this distracts the mind and brings attention back to the body.
Panic attacks often get mistaken for medical emergencies because of the common physical reactions that accompany them. If you are unsure whether you’re having a panic attack, call your doctor or go to the nearest emergency room for an evaluation.
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.
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Try Talking To Them Gently
Let them know that youre there for them, and that they are safe. They might not answer you, but if they do then you can ask them what you can do to help.
Try not to take it personally if their response isnt necessarily friendly or helpful remember that theyre unlikely to be aware of what theyre saying or how theyre coming across to you.
Understanding A Panic Attack Sufferer
Many panic attack sufferers wont feel able to talk about what they feel or how they feel out of shame or embarrassment.
However, if you really want to understand a little bit how they feel keep reading.
When someone suffers from panic attacks, they would like to understand what causes it or how to stop it but they really dont.
Most of them are just certain they are having one and would hope for it to end soon.
Moreover, most of them express how exhausting panic attacks are and how drained they feel after, just wanting to take a nap after it.
In addition, it feels just logical to tell them stop thinking about it or stop letting things affect you so much as if it would just go away on its own or somehow they will suddenly stop if they want to or control it at their own will, but it is not a choice.
Remember, they are not doing it on purpose.
Sometimes you may feel angry or frustrated because they tend to cancel plans last minute but we need to understand how they feel safer and more comfortable at home than at a crowded party.
Moreover, if you are not used to seeing them having a panic attack, pointing out their symptoms might seem like something normal but it really isnt helpful.
Besides, remember how they are even more aware of them than you do.
If you have tried to hug your friend when they were having a panic attack without asking, they may have become even more agitated, make them feel claustrophobic, and may have ended up in confrontation.
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What If They Want Me To Leave
As long as theyre not in immediate danger, take a few steps back and give them some space. Stay nearby so you can still keep an eye on things, and let them know that should they change their mind, youll come right back.
If you havent already, take some time to familiarize yourself with the early signs of a potential panic attack.
Panic attacks commonly begin with:
- a feeling of terror or dread
- hyperventilation or shortness of breath
- feelings of choking
- a pounding heart
- dizziness and shaking
Not everyone experiences panic attacks in the same way, so its best to ask what signs they tend to experience.
The sooner you realize whats happening, the faster you can help them get to a more private place, or wherever they need to feel more comfortable.
How Do You Calm Down From A Panic Attack
Panic attack may last for a short span of time but it can leave a long lasting feeling of being uneasy and uncomfortable. If you are worried about how do you calm down from a panic attack, you need to consider the related factors and your own responses to them.
In order to overcome a panic attack, it is important to understand the panic attack and train your mind to accept the attack and respond in a calm way. Training the mind involves responding in a manner that is acceptable and that does not worsen the situation. Behavior therapy and breathing training helps to reduce hyperventilation and is an important part of reducing symptoms of panic attacks. This is one of the effective ways to calm down from a panic attack.1
It is important to note that if a particular strategy does not solve the problem it is probably not doing any good and a different strategy should be looked for.
Here are some of the steps to follow to calm down from a panic attack. These can also be called as AWARE steps, with each step being valuable in providing relief.
- A Acknowledge and accept
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Keep Track Of What Makes You Anxious
While panic attacks sometimes feel like they hit out of the blue, Moore suggested keeping a journal to keep consistent track of your anxiety so you can potentially identify any unnoticed triggers.
Over the day, chart your anxiety. Record your activity, giving each part of your day a rating between one 10, with 10 being the most anxiety you are feeling in that moment, she said.
If you can find a pattern to your anxiety, you may be able to pinpoint what is causing your panic attacks so you can stop them in their tracks or reduce their severity, Moore added.
Know The Right Things To Say
Saying the wrong thing can reinforce someones feelings of panic. The onset of a panic attack causes extreme anxiety for the person having it and the people around them. Saying you will be fine or this is no big deal may make the person feel their needs are not getting addressed, as if their feelings are not genuine or intense.
Some suggestions on what to say when someone has a panic attack include:4
- You can get through this.
- Im proud of you. Good job.
- Tell me what you need now.
- Its not the place that bothers you it is the thought.
- What you are feeling is scary but not dangerous.
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What To Say To Someone Having A Panic Attack
Panic attacks can be scary to experience and observe. If you are with someone who is having a panic attack, there are things you can say to help. Clear, direct messages are more effective than general comments. It is important to be non-judgemental and provide reassurance.
- Talk to them in a calm voice and speak in short sentences.
- Ask about medications they may use during a panic attack.
- Ask what they need or what has helped them in the past rather than making assumptions.
- Help them slow their breathing by focusing on slow, deep inhales through the nose, and long exhales through the mouth.
- Offer additional suggestions in a way that makes them feel in control. Do this by asking them if they’d like to try a new strategy rather than telling them what to do.
Why Dogs Get Anxiety Disorders
The way anxiety disorders develop in a dog or other domesticated pets are much the same way they would in a human. Anxiety is a reaction to stress or fear and can be brought about by changes. In a study that addressed anxiety in dogs, it was found that 72.5% of all subjects exhibited some form of anxiety-like behaviour. The majority of triggers were environmental factors that had been altered in some way or another.
As with humans, pets can be predisposed to anxiety due to their genetic makeup. Thats why some will weather massive changes to living situations without any problems, and others will get severely worked up when you move furniture around in the living room.
The early development and learning phase of a pets life, especially in a dog, can play a big part in whether or not they will develop an anxiety disorder.
A puppy thats properly trained and stimulated and raised in a safe, loving, consistent environment will be far less likely to develop anxiety even if they are genetically predisposed to it. This is why rescue pets are more likely to suffer from these disorders as they havent had the basic grounding from a young age.
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The Difference Between An Anxiety Attack And A Panic Attack
When I first started having panic attacks, I didnt know they were different from anxiety attacks. I just knew that I was suddenly overcome with this intense fear and didnt know what to do.
Anxiety attacks are more common than panic attacks and can be caused by a variety of things, like work stress or money problems. Theyre generally associated with worrying about a real or perceived danger.
Panic attacks, on the other hand, are usually caused by sudden feelings of intense anxiety and fear, and tend to be more severeoften characterized by both mental and physical symptoms. Many of the symptoms of anxiety attacks are similar to panic attacks, but anxiety attacks are less intense.
Find An Object To Focus On
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Talk To A Therapist With Experience In Anxiety Attacks
People often fear the worst when theyre 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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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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Should You Hug Someone Having A Panic Attack
Should you touch someone having a panic attack? This is entirely dependent on the person. Some will find comfort in being held and rocked during their panic attacks, others may not want to be touched. It is very important that you always ask before simply reaching out or hugging someone experiencing a panic attack.
Causes Of Anxiety Fear And Panic
There are many different causes of anxiety, fear or panic and it’s different for everyone.
When you’re feeling anxious or scared, your body releases stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol.
This can be helpful in some situations, but it might also cause physical symptoms such as an increased heart rate and increased sweating. In some people, it might cause a panic attack.
Regular anxiety, fear or panic can also be the main symptom of several health conditions. Do not self-diagnose speak to a GP if you’re worried about how you’re feeling.
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