How Do I Relieve Chest Pain Felt During A Panic Attack
When someone has a panic attack, chest pain is a common and frightening symptom. It can be so severe, and accompanied by palpitations, difficulty breathing and other physical symptoms of panic attacks, that it makes a person feel as though they are having a heart attack where they worry that they are going to die. Often, it is stress that causes the chest pain.
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:
How To Help Someone Having An Anxiety Or Panic Attack
Anxiety and panic attacks are physical manifestations of an anxiety disorder, including generalized anxiety disorder. An individual can experience anxiety or panic attacks in a variety of different situations. When individuals have a panic or anxiety disorder, they have a higher chance of experiencing unprompted panic attacks. Someone having an anxiety attack may have an elevated heartbeat, rapid breathing, and increased stress. Panic attacks tend to last for ten minutes at the most, though they typically have much sharper symptoms than anxiety attacks. An individual having a panic attack may experience pressure or squeezing on their chest, difficulty breathing, a rapid heartbeat, and intense fear.
Thankfully, patients have many anxiety and panic attacks treatment options. Many individuals try a medication for panic attacks to help calm their symptoms. There are also some other options, so some patients look into a homeopathic remedy for panic attacks. However, it may also be helpful for other individuals to know how to help someone having an anxiety or panic attack. In fact, knowing how to help can be the first step in finding the best treatment for panic attacks.
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Calming Step : Have A Script Ready
A panic attack can fill your head with racing, negative thoughts, which can keep the panic going and make you feel worse. But you can wield a powerful weapon against them: A script of positive thoughts.
Write down encouraging words you can read to yourself during a panic attack, Dr. Josell says. Your script should answer the negative thoughts. So if you feel like youre going to pass out, tell yourself you wont. If you feel like youre dying, tell yourself you wont die from a panic attack. The words you hear are powerful, and over time, they become your truth.
Ideally, write your script when youre feeling calm. Tuck it in your pocket or purse or type it into your smartphone notes so its easy to access.
If youre in the middle of a panic attack and dont have your script, you can fight negative thoughts on the fly. Try repeating in your mind or out loud phrases like, Im strong, and I can handle this, or This is only temporary, and it will pass.
Your script helps you deal with an attack that arises, but its a preventive measure, too. It can calm your fear of having another panic attack because you know youre in control. The more confident you are that you can manage a panic attack, the less likely you are to have future attacks.
What To Avoid When A Spouse Has A Panic Attack
Knowing how to talk to someone having a panic attack can help to deescalate intense feelings. For those whose spouse has a panic disorder, it can be challenging to know what to say. While each person can come up with their own ways to recenter themselves and regain control during an attack, having their partners support can also be helpful.
While different people find comfort in different strategies for managing panic attacks, there are a handful of things that are never helpful.
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Tips For Helping During A Panic Attack
Its estimated that about 2.7% of U.S. adults experience severe panic attacks in a year. This number doesnt include the folks who dont report attacks, and theres a good chunk of those folks. Some people dont even know what to call the experience.
Adults arent the only ones who suffer from panic attacks. Its known to affect teens and children, too. The reality is panic attacks happen, and it can be hard to help someone having an attack. The good thing is there are steps to take to reach the person going through this experience.
Ask Them If They Are Having One
The first thing most people can do to help someone having a panic or anxiety attack is quite simple: ask them if they are having one. This question lets you know if the individual has had a panic attack before. If they have, you can then ask them if they would like you to help or if there is anything that you can do for them. However, sometimes this may be the patient’s first anxiety or panic attack. In this case, they may find it even more terrifying, since they may not immediately know what is happening. Asking them if they are having a panic attack can help get the thought into their mind. However, it is vital for you to remain calm and still ask if you can offer them help.
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Understand Their Panic May Not Make Sense To You Or Them
Panic attacks can be confusing as well as scary. People generally cant predict them and theres often no clear cause. They can happen in stressful situations but also during calm moments or even during sleep.
It might seem helpful to tell your friend theres nothing to be afraid of. But theyre probably perfectly aware theres no actual threat.
Thats part of what makes panic attacks so confusing. The reaction matches a fear response but nothings happening to cause that fear. In response, someone who gets panic attacks might begin to fear the symptoms themselves, or link them to a serious health issue.
Its typical to feel embarrassed or ashamed of such an intense reaction, Bingham explains. But having a trusted companion offer compassion can allow space for the person to return to baseline.
You can be that person even without understanding why they get panic attacks. Thats far less important than your ability to offer empathy and recognize their distress as real and significant.
How Long Do Panic Attacks Last
Panic attacks are generally brief, lasting less than 10 minutes, although some of the symptoms may last longer. An isolated panic attack, while extremely unpleasant, is not uncommon or life-threatening.
Panic attacks can be a symptom of other anxiety disorders, and people whoâve had one panic attack are at greater risk for another compared to those whoâve never had one. Panic attacks and panic disorder are not the same thing. When the attacks happen repeatedly and you worry about having more episodes, you may have panic disorder.
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What Causes Panic Attacks
Experts are not sure exactly why they occur, but panic attacks can be triggered by stressful situations, and some experts believe they are tied to genetics or changes in the way parts of the brain function. And while anyone can have a panic attack, many people dont have more than one or two in their lifetime. In fact, according to the Canadian Association of Mental Health Association in British Columbia , one-third of adults may have a panic attack in a given year, while some people get them recurrently. This is often referred to as panic disorder about four per cent of Canadians will experience panic disorder in their lifetime.
Natural Breathing Or Abdominal Breathing
Breathing deeply and slowly getting the air into the diaphragm, which is the muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen, will look as if your stomach is expanding and then contracting with each breath.
This type of breathing pattern is called natural breathing or abdominal breathing.
But how to do this? You may wonder. Try slowly inhaling a normal amount of air through your nose to fill your lower lungs and then exhale slowly, you may feel a bit dizzy at first but it is normal.
Place your hand on your stomach and one in your chest.
While you are inhaling slowly and focusing on letting the air go into your diaphragm you will see and feel how the hand on your stomach rises while the one in your chest stays still.
Moreover, keep breathing and concentrate on your breathing for a few minutes.
If you notice, it is completely different from the breathing pattern someone that is having a panic attack will display since as we have mentioned, breathing becomes rapid and shallow.
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I Can’t Catch My Breath
Feeling like “I can’t catch my breath!” is probably the most common of all panic symptoms. Your breathing feels labored, you strain to take a deep breath, you fear you’re not going to get it – and the harder you try, the worse it feels!
When you feel short of breath, it doesn’t mean you’re not getting enough air. In fact, people will often say “I can’t catch my breath”, and this shows that they’re getting air, because we talk by making air vibrate. If you’re talking, you’re breathing! It’s not a dangerous symptom.
But it does get people very scared, and it produces other uncomfortable physical symptoms, so it’s worth your while to be able to correct it.
You’ve probably already had it told to you, and you’ve probably also read it as well, that what you need to do is “take a deep breath”. If you’re like most people, that advice hasn’t helped you much. It’s good advice, but it’s incomplete. It doesn’t tell you how to take a deep breath. A good breathing exercise should tell you how to take a deep breath, and that’s what I’m going to do.
A Simple But Powerful Technique
If you have Panic Disorder or Social Phobia, this deep breathing exercise may be the single most important coping technique I can show you. It’s also useful with other anxiety disorders in which the physical symptoms are less prominent, but still present. Comfortable, deep breathing is the key to relaxation. All the the traditional relaxation methods place a central emphasis on breathing.
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Slow Deep Breathing Is Key But You Should Practice Every Day
Long, deep breaths calm your body down, but they can be tricky to implement if youre not used to doing them. Dr. Schaeffer suggests that to make this practice easier, you should do it daily anxious or not.
Practice full-body breathing every day, he tells NBC News BETTER. Breathe in deeply through your nose and imagine your whole body filling up with air like a balloon. Next, make your mouth small like you are exhaling through a straw. Slowly exhale through your mouth until you feel like all the air has completely emptied from your body. Repeat this about 10 times and notice any changes in your heart rate or body tension. Once you are comfortable with this kind of breathing, use it during a panic attack to slow your heart rate and calm down.
Concentrate On Your Breathing
Focus on breathing in slowly, then breathing out slowly. It can be helpful to count when youre breathing to focus your mind. You can start small at first, like counting to three as you breathe in and counting to three as you breathe out. When you begin to calm down, you can increase how long you hold each breath to five seconds or seven seconds.
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How Correct Breathing Reduces Anxiety
When someone has a pain in their chest they automatically fear that something is wrong with their heart which of course can be terrifying.
One of the main symptoms of a panic/anxiety attack, other than a racing heartbeat is chest pain and a feeling of suffocation. These symptoms along with possible dizziness, tiredness, headaches, vomiting and more quite often lead the patient to call the ambulance or rush immediately to the hospital. In most of the cases, after being checked over, he or she is told that they are having a panic/anxiety attack and nothing is wrong with their heart.
Take a minute to think about what happens to the body when experiencing a panic/anxiety attack it is in fear response mode. If you were in some kind of danger you would need to act quickly to defend yourself, thats why we have a built-in fight-or-flight response that our body activates once we feel any type of threat. This basically means that you breathe harder to pump more blood to your organs and your body automatically releases Adrenaline, a hormone secreted by the adrenal gland which is found just above the kidneys. When Adrenaline is produced, it stimulates the heart-rate, dilates blood vessels and air passages, as well as a number of more minor effects. Adrenaline is naturally produced in high-stress or physically exhilarating situations so your body and mind are prepared to take on whatever is facing them.
How Do Psychologists Treat Anxiety
The treatment outcomes for anxiety are very positive through counselling sessions with an experienced psychologist. This is because psychologists have experience in understanding human behaviour and can assist in identifying emotional triggers. By doing this, psychologists can provide you with practical solutions to address the underlying issue so that they do not keep coming back.
As the practice of psychology is an evidence-based one, many psychologists will employ psychoeducation and cognitive behavioural therapy to treat people with anxiety.
Psychoeducation is a process where a psychologist helps you understand the nature of anxiety so that you are no longer afraid of it.
Cognitive behavioural therapy is based on the reduction and elimination of anxiety symptoms. CBT has been shown to be highly effective in the short-term. Research indicates that over 60% of people who undergo CBT experience substantial improvements in anxiety symptoms. It is also the best long-term treatment for anxiety as CBT teaches you skills that you can apply on-demand.
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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
Learn The Warning Signs
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.
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Tips To Manage Anxiety And Stress
- Maintain a healthy diet. Avoid binge eating or stress eating, which is common during periods of distress and uncertainty.
- Stay active and exercise regularly. Walk outdoors on a nice day, or dust off some of that old fitness equipment in the basement.
- Participate in hobbies and interests. Puzzles are one of the most popular items on the internet lately, which is an activity that encourages concentration and can be done alone or with others.
If you are experiencing stress or anxiety and need to determine if it is COVID-19 related, contact your primary care physician, many of whom are now offering virtual visits via phone or computer. Urgent care centers and telemedicine resources such as Convenient Care NOW are also helpful resources. In case of emergency, contact a crisis hotline or call 911.
Panic Attack Breathing Training
Once hyperventilation occurs, it is very difficult to stop entirely. You cannot simply hold your breath and have all the symptoms go away, nor can you stop a panic attack by breathing alone. But the right breathing can decrease the severity of the symptoms, and when your symptoms are less severe you start fearing them less, thus decreasing your risk of panic attacks in the future.
It’s best to start this as soon as you even think you might be hyperventilating, and especially if you start to feel panic attacks coming on:
- Breathe in through your nose for at least 5 seconds. Try to breathe in through your stomach if possible first, and fill up your chest second. Don’t try too hard to expand your chest hyperventilation makes it very hard to get a full breath, because your body doesn’t want a full breath.
- Hold for 2 or 3 seconds. Not too much longer. Most doctors advise against holding your breath very long, possibly because if your body regains the Co2 balance too quickly you may experience a change in your blood saturation that could cause other upsetting symptoms.
- Breathe out for 7 seconds by creating a small hole in your lips, almost like you’re about to whistle. Repeat as needed
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