Understanding Your Bodys Reaction To Panic Attacks
Panic attacks are sometimes described as intense waves of fear or worry that immobilise the body. They tend to be unpredictable but may be linked to a variety of triggers such as crowded rooms, social gatherings, severe stress in the workplace or a significant life transition.
In order to fully treat the effects of a panic attack, it’s important to understand how it affects the body.
Take Any Prescribed Medications
Depending on the severity of panic attacks, a doctor may prescribe a use-as-needed medication. These medications typically work fast.
Some contain a benzodiazepine or a . Propranolol is a beta-blocker that slows a racing heartbeat and decreases blood pressure.
Benzodiazepines that doctors commonly prescribe for panic attacks include and .
However, these drugs can be highly addictive, so people should use them exactly as their doctor prescribes. Taken with opioids or alcohol, they can have life threatening adverse effects.
A doctor may also describe selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which can help prevent panic attacks from occurring in the first place.
Help Them Stay Grounded
Grounding techniques can have benefit for a range of anxiety issues, including panic attacks.
“Grounding techniques can help contain panic attacks after they begin,” explains Megan MacCutcheon, a therapist in Vienna, Virginia.
These techniques help the person focus on what’s actually happening, not their fear of the attack. They’re often most helpful once the intensity of the attack has faded a bit.
Give Yourself A Simple Massage
In order to stop panic attacks, you’ll need to help yourself relax. Unfortunately, going to the spa regularly can be out of some people’s price range. So you’ll have to practice pampering yourself. There are a few spots that do the trick.
When having a panic attack, massage the top part of your nose between the eyes. Just move your finger up and down gently to help you relax. You can also massage your wrists or feet. Sometimes rubbing your chest above the heart can help you unwind. Some people rub ice on themselves in a massaging motion to help stop panic attacks. So you can try that too!
If You Are Having A Panic Attack At Work While Reading This Please Immediately Follow The Simple Steps Below :
Challenge Your Negative Thoughts
Changing your thoughts is always easier said than done, especially when you’re in the middle of a panic attack. But the more often you practice replacing negative, scary thoughts with ones that are more positive, the easier it will become.
“People with panic tend to catastrophize or see the worst in things,” Masand says. For example, if you’re panicking while on the subway, it might be because you’re vividly imagining something going wrong, even when everything’s a-OK.
“Carry some positive mantras or sayings to bring you back to reality,” Masand says. “Or better yet, prepare your own. When you have the negative thoughts of gloom and doom, write down some positive and more realistic rebuttals.”
Keep Your Mind In The Present
Notice five things you can see around you. Then, four things you can touch. Three things you can hear. Two things you smell. One thing you taste. When you stay grounded in whatâ€™s going on around you, it gives your mind something better to do than focus on fear or bounce from one worry to the next.
Steps For Getting Through A Panic Attack
“It feels like I’m dying.” Those are the words people use to describe what a panic attack feels like. The process of addressing and managing them is a journey — there’s no immediate cure or course of action that will stop a panic attack in its tracks.
It takes time, patience and dedication to identify your unique triggers. However, there are steps that serve as preemptive measures to help shorten the duration of a panic attack when it is occurring, and reduce the frequency and severity of your anxiety in the long term.
Write Down The Signs Of An Anxiety Attack
Once you know you’re having an anxiety attack, try to jot down a few of the symptoms and you are experiencing. This can help you put your anxiety attack into perspective.
“One of the things that worsens anxiety and can make it develop into a panic attack is looking at those symptoms in a catastrophic way,” says Cheryl Carmin, PhD, director of clinical psychology training at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center and a professor at Ohio State in Columbus.
How To Subdue A Panic Episode In 9 Steps
Here is something you can try to treat the pre-described symptoms,
It is a series of simple breathing techniques aimed at helping your body override its natural fight-or-flight response .
The following may be performed sitting down, standing up, or lying down. You can do this whilst on a crowded commute into work, when you’re in bed, during a stressful work meeting, or basically in any situation where it is safe to switch your attention to yourself for a few minutes.
To feel less panicky, do the following:
This simple breathing exercise is effective because when you are feeling stressed, your breathing pattern changes. When we feel anxious, out natural physiological response is to breathe too much in short shallow bursts.
The above abdominal breathing exercise makes you conscious of how you are breathing.
Bring Your Focus To Your Breath
Panic attacks often cause racing thoughts that make it feel like you can’t focus on anything. It can also cause shallow, labored breathing and pounding heart rate. You can turn all of these problems around by focusing on taking deep breaths. Start with this strategy:
This technique works differently for everyone, so you may have to try a few different ways of deep breathing. For example, you may find that you do better if you only hold your breath for three seconds or if you exhale for seven seconds. The point is simply to slow your breathing and shift your focus internally.
Tip 6: Think Of A Happy Time
Fond memories can play an important role in helping us feel better. Placing photographs and positive mementoes around your desk can help induce positive emotions that help prevent a panic attack. Try shifting your memory back to a happier time or recalling something positive someone said about you. This helps you regain a sense of positive wellbeing.
Pay Attention To Your Surroundings
Since panic attacks can make the world look and feel unreal, it can really help to focus on the sensations around you as a way of coming back to reality. What do your clothes feel like against your skin? How do your feet feel on the floor? What sounds can you hear nearby? Paying attention to these senses will hopefully shake off that bizarre dreamlike state, and make you feel human again.
What Are Panic Attacks
Panic attacks 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 – a tightness of the chest and feeling as though it’s 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 they’re 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’.
Night time panic attacks, also known as ‘nocturnal panic attacks’ or ‘night terrors’, happen while you’re asleep and wake you up, often with the same symptoms as day time panic attacks. However, while these nocturnal attacks usually only last for a few minutes, it can take a long time for you to calm down enough to go back to sleep after having one. This, coupled with worrying about whether you’re going to have another panic attack, may lead to insomnia.
How To Cope With A Panic Attack At Night
Waking up and discovering you’re having a panic attack can be an overwhelming and scary experience, and the fact that you’re probably still groggy and trying to ‘come round’ from sleep, can make you feel out of control and cause you to panic even more.
If you’re having a nocturnal panic attack, try the following:
Don’t fight it
If you wake up and you’re having a panic attack, it’s important not to fight it, as this could make things worse. Accept the panic attack for what it is and let the feelings wash over you. Remember, it is only temporary, and it will fade eventually. You just need to let it happen.
Try and relax
Try to get your body back into a relaxed state. Inhale deeply and exhale slowly to regulate your breathing. Relax your muscles, and try to focus your mind on positive thoughts and images.
Get up and do something
Go back to bed when you’re ready
Only go back to bed when you’re beginning to feel tired again and ready for sleep. When you’re in bed, keep yourself calm by breathing deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth, to the extent that your whole abdomen, not just your chest, is rising and falling.
How To Deal With The Anxiety Attack ‘hangover’
Panic attacks are hard enough at the time, but what about that sense of feeling completely drained in the aftermath? Judy Johnson finds out how to recover, with tips on dealing with anxiety and the after effects of an attack
A tight, constricted throat, a pressure in your chest that feels as though your lungs are being crushed, clammy palms, an erratic, pulsating heart and a lightheadedness that stops your eyes from focusing properly; if you’ve been unlucky enough to have had a panic attack or have read any of the many accounts of them online, you probably recognise the symptoms. I’ve experienced anxiety attacks for as long as I can remember – though I only realised that’s what they were in my early twenties, when rather than simply feeling hot, faint, dizzy and sick in certain situations, my breathing became affected, chest tight, and I finally twigged what was happening to me.
The body is beautifully designed to meet the ‘fight or flight’ need, but only once in a while
All very well if you’re in a situation that might require you to fight it or leg it, but when you’re standing on the tube in rush hour it’s the last thing you need. “The body is beautifully designed to meet the ‘fight or flight’ need, but only once in a while,” Lucy agrees. “Too many dramatic changes, or too much adrenaline sloshing through our system too often is draining, causing fatigue.”
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.
Breathe From Your Diaphragm
It’s helpful to take deep breaths to calm down during a panic attack. But it can be even more helpful to try diaphragmatic breathing, in particular.
“Forcing yourself to breathe through your diaphragm will trick your brain into believing that you are in a relaxed state,” Forshee says. “When you are having a panic attack, your brain creates these physiological symptoms because it thinks that you are in need of protection . Diaphragmatic breathing will send signals to your brain that is not the case.”
Take Charge With The Venue
A guy once asked me to go bowling on a first date. Yeah, no thanks! I was nervous enough as it was without having to worry about being terrible at bowling. If a particular setting puts you on edge, you can always laugh the request off and say something like, “Maybe on the second date!” Then, suggest somewhere you’d feel more comfortable going.
Where Benzodiazepines Fit In
Benzodiazepines are used as a sleep aid and anti-anxiety medicine. They help treat symptoms such as decreased need for sleep, racing thoughts, unusual talkativeness, increased activity, agitation, or distractibility, which may be part of a manic or hypomanic episode in people with bipolar disorder. There is a risk of addiction, so these medications are usually limited to short-term use for temporary relief of these symptoms.
Falling Asleep And Anxiety
The time before you go to sleep is a difficult one for anxiety sufferers. This is because all the worries you have accumulated over the course of the day choose now to float through your mind. Being alone in a dark room doing nothing but lying there with your worries allows you no distractions from them, which often allow them to seem to grow bigger and bigger and spiral out of control.
Step 1: Ground Yourself And Then Write A Quick Note
This takes practice, but when your anxiety begins taking over, experts say being present and reasonable can help shorten the duration.
“When I get in the middle of my ‘what-if snowball,’ at some point I’m able to back off,” says Elaine, a 32-year-old mother in Indiana, who has been diagnosed with panic disorder. “I sometimes have to actually tell myself to stop out loud. I’ve said, ‘Stop, Elaine. That’s ridiculous.’ When I take a second to really evaluate whether or not what I’m thinking is reasonable, I am able to recognize it’s not and just move on.”
In cases where she cannot recognize whether her thoughts or anxiety is normal, she physically writes down a note and discusses it with her therapist.
Studies show that people who wrote about emotionally charged episodes were happier, less depressed and less anxious.
Which science says is a smart move. Writing down your fears can actually help reduce them, and ease the anxiety that accompanies them. One study found that writing thoughts down and physically throwing them in the garbage can be an effective way to clear your mind.
So keep a notebook and pen in your car, by your bedside, and in your purse for when anxious thoughts begin to creep up.
Treatment For Panic Attacks And Panic Disorder
The most effective form of professional treatment for tackling panic attacks, panic disorder, and agoraphobia is . 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.
Hotlines and support
NAMI Helpline – Trained volunteers can provide information, referrals, and support for those suffering from anxiety disorders in the U.S. Call 1-800-950-6264.
Find a Therapist – Search for anxiety disorder treatment providers in the U.S.
Support Groups – List of support groups in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and South Africa.
Anxiety UK – Information, support, and a dedicated helpline for UK sufferers and their families. Call: 03444 775 774.
Anxiety Canada – Provides links to services in different Canadian provinces.
SANE Help Centre – Provides information about symptoms, treatments, medications, and where to go for support in Australia. Call: 1800 18 7263. .
– Provides information and support to those with mental health concerns in India. Call: 1860 2662 345 or 1800 2333 330.
How To Stop Panic Attacks At Night
Getting a good night’s is essential for our health and wellbeing. Sleep promotes rest and relaxation, and gives us a chance to recuperate and let go of the stresses of the day. However, this isn’t the case for the many individuals who struggle with panic attacks at night.
Here, we provide advice on how to cope with panic attacks at night, and give tips on how to reduce them.
Here Are 7 Tips For Calming A Panic Attack:
1. Focus on Your Breathing
Many anxiety attack symptoms have to do with your heart rate and breathing rate. In fact, you might have issues with breathing, such as hyperventilating. As a result, this can further exacerbate your anxiety attack.
One of the best things you can do for calming your anxiety attack is to focus on your breathing. Take a deep breath in, but don’t exhale just yet. Hold it for about 5 seconds, and then slowly let it out.
Repeat this process until you can noticeably feel yourself calming down. This is the first thing you should try when it comes to how to deal with anxiety attacks.
2. Ground Yourself
In the moment, it can feel very scary to have a panic attack. You might even wonder if it’s anxiety or a heart attack.
But a vital thing you can do is ground yourself. Instead of focusing on how scary the attack is, focus on the things that are tangible to you.
For example, focus on your clothes feel against your skin, how the air smells, or how the texture of the wall looks. It might help to just pick one thing and focus all your attention on it.
This type of mindfulness is a great anxiety attack remedy.
3. Relax Your Muscles
While you’re having a panic attack, you’re probably tensing up a lot of muscles without even realizing it. That’s actually one of the common signs of an anxiety attack.
4. Be Conscious of the Fact That the Attack Will Pass
5. Do Some Light Exercise
6. Speak to Your Therapist
7. Speak to Your Loved Ones
A Positive View Of A Panic Attack
Next time you have a panic attack view it as a positive thing. They usually only arise when we’re pushing ourselves or facing our fears. Your mind is struggling to process the fact that you’re doing something that scares you and can therefore result in a panic attack. More often than not they occur because you are doing something about your fears.
I try to view a panic attack as a positive thing. I tell myself that every panic attack I have gets me one step closer to realising that nothing bad will happen if I confront my fears. I’d be lying to you if I said that this works every time but it’s a good approach and it has helped me in the past.
Be proud of yourself for being brave and doing whatever scares you.
Be strong and keep fighting.
How Common Are Anxiety Disorders
The World Health Organisation estimates that 1 in 13 people have an anxiety disorder. This means that there are more than half a billion people living with a highly treatable mental illness.
What does this mean for you?
If you are experiencing prolonged anxiety, you are not alone. It is common for people with an anxiety disorder to feel isolated and misunderstood. The good news is that anxiety can be effectively managed with the right type of guidance from a health professional.
Know What To Do For Calming A Panic Attack
Now you have some effective ways of calming a panic attack.
We understand it’s 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 aren’t 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.
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.
What To Do To Cope With A Panic Attack
When I had my first panic attack at the age of 19, I believed with absolute certainty that I was in mortal danger. I lie in my dorm room bed for what felt like hours, clutching my pounding heart and gasping for air. Fifteen interminable minutes later, it was as if it had never happened, and I felt relatively normal — but that wouldn’t be the last incident. I went on to have many more panic attacks, and have since been diagnosed with a panic disorder . I’m among two to three percent of Americans with PD; while 18.1 percent of Americans have anxiety disorders in general — the most common mental illness. Since that day, I’ve treated my condition both with therapy and medication.
Despite managing my PD, I do still suffer the occasional panic attack, but with professional guidance , I’ve learned that there are simple things I can do to stop a panic attack in its tracks. I talked with mental health professionals to discuss why my own techniques work and what more those of us living with panic attacks can do.