Who Should Avoid Them
Older adults are at a higher risk of benzodiazepine side effects such as memory problems and falls. People ages 65 years and older should avoid these medications, according to criteria developed by the American Geriatric Society. The College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists recommends that people ages 55 years and older avoid benzodiazepines.
Benzodiazepines can also worsen some conditions, such as:
The following medications can affect how benzodiazepines are absorbed by your body:
- Antacids.Antacids can decrease the absorption of benzodiazepines and reduce their concentration in your blood.
- Proton pump inhibitors . These medications, such as omeprazole and esomeprazole , are used to treat acid reflux. They can interact with the liver enzymes that remove benzodiazepines from your body, increasing the amount that remains in your blood.
Benzodiazepines should not be combined with alcohol or other substances that inhibit the central nervous system either. Alcohol can increase side effects such as drowsiness, and it also increases the risk of an accidental overdose.
- dizziness or lightheadedness
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.
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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When Might I Have Panic Attacks
Panic attacks happen at different times for everyone. Some people have one panic attack then don’t ever experience another, or you might find that you have them regularly, or several in a short space of time. You might notice that particular places, situations or activities seem to trigger panic attacks. For example, they might happen before a stressful appointment.
Most panic attacks last between 5 to 20 minutes. They can come on very quickly. Your symptoms will usually be at their worst within 10 minutes. You might also experience symptoms of a panic attack over a longer period of time. This could be because you’re having a second panic attack, or you’re experiencing other symptoms of anxiety.
“My panic attacks seem to come out of the blue now. But in fact, they seem to be triggered mainly at night when I want to go to sleep but cannot stop my mind racing, experiencing worry and panic about anything that may be on my mind.”
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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.
How Do I Calm My Anxious Child
Anxiety and panic share some common symptoms. When your child is experiencing a panic attack or is feeling particularly anxious, follow these steps.
- Be calm yourself. Its not about you.
- Acknowledge that their feelings are real instead of punishing/shaming them for how they feel.
- Practice chest breathing together to encourage their parasympathetic nervous system to do its thing.
- Tell them that you are there for them by saying, I am here for you.
- Give them a long hug .
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What Are Panic Attacks
Panic attacks can happen day or night. They are sudden, unexpected episodes of intense anxiety, which can cause a variety of frightening symptoms. These include:
- Feeling out of control and disconnected from your surroundings
- Feeling faint, dizzy or light-headed
- Chest pains and shortness of breath – tightness of the chest and feeling as though its a struggle to breathe
- A racing or pounding heart
- Numbness and tingling, for example, tingling lips and numbness in your fingers and toes
- Fluctuating body temperature feeling very hot or very cold
These symptoms can be so severe they sometimes make first time sufferers believe theyre experiencing a heart attack or a nervous breakdown. Over time, panic attacks can become more frequent, and the fear of having a panic attack becomes embedded, resulting in a ‘vicious circle’. You might also experience what’s known as hypnic jerks. If you’re particuarly stressed or anxious, you might also experience what’s known as hypnic jerks. These involuntary muscle sensations, like jolts, occur when you are in your lightest stage of sleep.
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
- 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
- Physical symptoms during a panic attack, such as:
- Pounding or racing heart
- Stomach pain or nausea
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What Is A Home Remedy
Any treatment that you can perform from the comfort of your own home can be seen as a home remedy for anxiety. Herbal supplements are an example of a common home remedy. People seeking to treat their anxiety may use herbs such as:
These are believed to be somewhat effective at reducing anxiety in certain cases – more than any other type of natural supplement. In addition, there are many vitamins that are also highly beneficial for anxiety. Magnesium is perhaps the most valuable, 25% of the country is magnesium deficient and that deficiency may cause anxiety and anxiety symptoms . Vitamin B12 and Vitamin B1 may also be valuable according to some nutritionists. You can add these vitamins in food or in supplement form. In the rest of this article, however, we’ll look at behavior-based remedies for coping with anxiety.
What’s Your Job During An Attack
It’s not your job to bring the panic attack to an end that will happen no matter what you do. Don’t take my word for it. Review your personal history with panic attacks. Have you ever had one that didn’t end?
The fact is, every panic attack ends no matter what you do. If you respond in the most cogent way possible, and do a good job at bringing it in for a soft landing, that panic attack will end. And if you do everything the most unhelpful way possible – struggling and resisting and fleeing in ways that make the panic worse – that one will end also. Even the first panic attack a person has, when they have the least idea of what’s happening, those end as well.
The end of a panic attack is a part of a panic attack, just as much as the start of one is a part of it. It’s not something you need to supply or make happen. The panic attack will end no matter what you do. Even when you don’t believe it will end, when you have the fearful thoughts that it will last forever, it still ends.
So what is your job during a panic attack? It’s a more modest task than you probably supposed. Your job is to see if you can make yourself a little more comfortable while waiting for the attack to end. And if you can’t even make yourself a little more comfortable, then your job is just to wait for it to end.
Here are a few techniques that my patients have found particularly useful while waiting for an attack to end.
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If You Think You Have Panic Disorder Self
Many individuals with panic disorder realize they have the disorder after a trip to the emergency room , as panic attack symptoms can easily be mistaken for a heart attack or stroke. An ER can only offer short-term relief or provide a referral to mental health services.
Many people who are concerned about panic disorder visit their primary care provider . Unfortunately, according to Gruner, PCPs can sometimes mistreat panic disorder by prescribing benzodiazepines, such as lorazepam or klonopin . However, current research shows that benzos are a counterproductive long-term treatment approach.
Benzodiazepines can reduce your anxiety in the short-term, but people can become dependent on them to the point where they dont feel safe without it. They usually attribute progress to the benzo, so it can make treatment progress difficult, says Gruner.
Gruner advises individuals to be wary if their PCP prescribes benzodiazepines. There is increased awareness among PCPs now with the problem of prescribing benzos to people with panic disorder, but its not perfect, says Gruner. So, its worth educating yourself about effective treatment before meeting with your PCP.
Ideally, a PCP would recommend a therapist or psychiatrist. A cognitive behavioral therapist who has experience with anxiety disorders is an ideal choice.
How Is Panic Disorder Treated
If youre experiencing symptoms of panic disorder, talk to a health care provider. After discussing your history, a health care provider may conduct a physical exam to ensure that an unrelated physical problem is not causing your symptoms. A health care provider may refer you to a mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or clinical social worker. The first step to effective treatment is to get a diagnosis, usually from a mental health professional.
Panic disorder is generally treated with psychotherapy , medication, or both. Speak with a health care provider about the best treatment for you.
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Focus On Your Five Senses
“Focus on your external reality, rather than the symptoms,” advises Bruha. “Use the five senses to ground yourself in the moment.” Be curious about your environment. What can you see, hear, touch, smell or taste?
This is where you can add tactile items to your kit: a fidget spinner, stress ball or a squishy toy.
Always Seek Professional Advice
Always seek medical advice if you are not sure whether your symptoms, or another persons symptoms, indicate a panic attack. In an emergency, dial triple zero for an ambulance. Its important to see your doctor for a check-up to make sure that any recurring physical panic-like symptoms are not due to illnesses, including:
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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.
Treatment Of Anxiety And Panic
There is plenty that can be done for people who have problems with anxiety and panic.
Treatment can include:
- cutting back on alcohol, cigarettes and drugs
- distracting yourself with mental activities, like counting
- slow breathing, which can be supported by using mobile apps such as Breathe
- psychological therapies, such as cognitive behavioural therapy
Getting professional support is always a good idea. Its important to find the right health professional for you. And there are plenty of online self-help programs, support and ways to get therapy, too.
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Top 3 Exercises For Relieving Anxiety
The exercises discussed above are useful tools your client can use to prevent and control a panic attack.
They might also find it useful to know techniques for managing generalized anxiety that might exist in the broader context of their panic attacks.
As you learned above, anxiety can act as a sensitizing factor, making it more likely for a panic attack to occur. In a more general sense, your client may find it easier to engage with their therapy and maintain a positive attitude if they feel confident controlling their everyday mental health.
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.
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Teaching Your Child About Anxiety
This is a very important first step, as it helps children and teens understand what is happening to them when they experience anxiety. Let your child know that all the worries and physical feelings he or she is experiencing has a name: Anxiety. Help your child understand the facts about anxiety.
- Fact 1: Anxiety is normal and adaptive, as it helps us prepare for danger.
- Fact 2: Anxiety can become a problem when our body tells us that there is danger when there is no real danger.
Dont Compare Normal Stress And Fear To Panic
Maybe youve felt stressed or terrified in a dangerous situation. You might even have anxiety yourself.
These experiences arent quite the same as a panic attack, though. Avoid trying to draw comparisons between your different experiences. Unless you also get panic attacks, you probably dont entirely understand how they feel.
If you have experienced extreme fear, let that memory inform you on what your friend is going through. Remind yourself they arent just afraid or stressed.
They may also feel:
- unable to manage whats happening
- physical pain or discomfort
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