Put An Ice Cube In Your Hand Or Use Cold Water
This may sound silly, but focusing on the cold of an ice cube in your hand, and then switching hands when the cold becomes uncomfortable, can help divert your focus from the panic attack. Splashing cold water on your face repeatedly or putting an ice pack on your forehead can reduce anxiety. This process activates the divers reflex which lowers heart rate and breathing when exposed to cold water. Do not splash cold water on your face if you have a history of cardiac issues without first talking with your doctor.
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.
How To Ground Yourself During An Anxiety Attack
Grounding is an effective way to calm anxiety during a panic attack. In this process, you identify objects around you to help your brain recognize where you are. This creates a sense of comfort because you know where you are and you feel more in control of the situation. Combine this with anxiety attack breathing exercises, and you should be feeling better in no time. Here are some grounding techniques you may learn in anxiety treatment.
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Stop An Anxiety Attack With Belly Breathing
Feeling short of breath is a hallmark symptom of an anxiety attack. But you can make the feeling worse by taking short, shallow breaths. Try belly breathing instead to stop the anxiety attack.
Carbonell compares the type of breathing youll need with the breathing of infants, whose bellies rise and fall with each inhale and exhale. When an anxiety attack starts, exhale deeply, loosen your shoulders, and focus on some longer, deeper inhales and exhales that let your belly rise and fall. Place one hand on your belly if you need to feel this happening.
How To Stop A Panic Attack
You can help stop a panic attack by breaking it down into phases and symptoms. This makes it easier to recognize when a panic attack is coming on so you can interrupt it before it becomes too overwhelming.
The first step in managing a panic attack is being able to recognize when it’s happening. Besides sudden, overwhelming feelings of anxiety, fear, or dread, you may also have symptoms like a racing heart, nausea, or chest pain.
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Try To Focus On Just One Thing
Related to focusing on your breathing is shifting your attention to one thing, Kailee Place, licensed professional counselor at her private practice,Shifting Tides Therapeutic Solutions in Charleston, SC, tells Bustle.
If you start feeling that youre beginning to panic, focus on as few things as possible, she says. Zero in on your breathing and try to look at only one thing in your environment as you steady your breathing. She says that by doing this, it will help quiet the overstimulation and physiologically slow your body down, as well.
You will notice your heart rate drop, your thoughts slow their racing, and your body release some tension, she says.
Recognize The Panic For What It Is
Panic attacks often get triggered by something called catastrophic misinterpretation of bodily symptoms. Typically the process begins when you notice an uncomfortable or unexpected physical feeling in the body, such as a heart flutter, muscle tension, or mild dizziness. If you are prone to panic attacks, you might interpret these innocent bodily sensations as dangerous and react with fear to them.
This, of course, triggers the fight-or-flight response which includes increased heart rate, breathing rate, muscle tension, etc. and only intensifies the sensations. You might then react with even more fear to these more intense sensations , intensifying them even further, and leading to a panic cycle that ends up in a full blown panic attack.
One of the best ways to prevent this panic cycle is to recognize those early sensations for what they are namely, innocent bodily sensations that may be uncomfortable but are not harmful. Often just the recognition of this can stop panic in its tracks, since its not being fueled by the catastrophic misinterpretation of those sensations. Rather than respond mentally to those sensations with an oh no attitude, you start viewing them with an oh well attitude, which does not trigger fight-or-flight activity like the oh no stance. In other words, gasoline is removed from the fire and it eventually burns out the panic cycle gets interrupted and a panic attack gets pre-empted.
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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
How Long Does An Anxiety Attack Last
Attacks vary in length from person to person, but they usually last from 5 to 20 minutes, peaking around 10 minutes. Sometimes, anxiety attacks can last for an hour.
For the person experiencing the anxiety attack, it can feel a lot longer, as if it might never end. Some sufferers find it useful to time the length of attacks so they can remind themselves they do end, particularly when attacks are accompanied by the feeling of impending doom or death.
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How To Treat Panic Attacks
Panic attack treatment is really about finding what works for you. Some people find that therapy, medication, or a combination of the two is helpful. Others may find that home remedies work best for them. The important thing is to keep trying different things until you find something that helps relieve your symptoms.
If youre not sure where to start, here are the top 10 best strategies for panic attack treatment:
Behavior Scale: How To Judge Severity
- Mild Symptoms: Symptoms do not keep the child from any normal activities. School, play, relationships and sleep have not changed. Treatment: parenting groups or books.
- Moderate Symptoms: Symptoms keep the child from doing some normal activities. New behaviors mainly happen at home. They affect how the child and parent interact. They may also keep him or her from going to child care or school. Your child may not sleep well because of these symptoms. Treatment: most often, brief counseling from a mental health provider or your child’s doctor.
- Severe Symptoms: Symptoms keep the child from doing most normal activities. They affect the way the child acts with parents. Symptoms also impact relations with siblings and friends. Adults at child care or school may also be impacted by the child’s actions. Treatment: these patients often need to be seen urgently by a mental health provider.
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Find Any Focus Object
Focus object refers to anything you can look at to help distract yourself from the anxiety and focus on something else. For some people, it may be a physical object like a pen or a bracelet. For others, it may be something visual like watching the clouds pass by.
And for others still, it may be an auditory focus like listening to music or white noise. The important thing is to find something that works for you. Because in panic attack treatment, the goal is to refocus your attention away from the anxious thoughts and onto something else.
Tips For Calming A Panic Attack
Knowing how to calm a panic attack is more useful than you may think. In the US, 40 million adults have some type of anxiety disorder. Even those who have no history of anxiety disorders may also suffer from a panic attack at some point in their life and dont know how to calm themselves down.
While panic attacks generally wont cause serious physical health dangers, they can still be scary if you dont know how to calm it down right away. However, the good news is, there are ways to calm yourself down to get through a panic attack better.
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Panic Attack Survival Kit
The thing is, when we focus on panic attack symptoms, they become more intense. The key to stopping or minimizing any panic attack is to focus on your external world rather than the internal signs .
Ever heard of a panic attack survival kit? If you or someone you love has dealt with panic attacks before, you know they can come on without warning. You can use these five tips to put together a small bag of items to reach for the next time a panic attack strikes.
Keep Lavender On Hand
Lavender is a traditional remedy that many people use to reduce stress and help them relax.
Research suggests it has a calming effect but doesnt lead to dependence or cause withdrawal symptoms. Using products that contain diluted lavender oil may help reduce or manage symptoms of anxiety.
However, the Food and Drug Administration does not regulate essential oils, and strengths and ingredients vary widely.
If you use lavender essential oil, make sure you:
- get your oil from a reputable source, such as a pharmacy
- follow the instructions for use
- avoid applying concentrated oil directly to the skin
- avoid using lavender with benzodiazepines because the combination can cause intense drowsiness
While research suggests there are health benefits, the FDA doesnt monitor or regulate the purity or quality of essential oils. Its important to talk with a healthcare professional before you begin using essential oils and be sure to research the quality of a brands products. Always do a patch test before trying a new essential oil.
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How To Stop An Anxiety Attack
People have this powerful idea to make the anxiety attack stop, Carbonell says, but you cant make it stop through force of will. However, if you look back at your history, you’ll see that every anxiety attack does indeed stop, even if it feels awful for a while.
Your best first step stopping an anxiety attack is to simply notice your symptoms and accept that you’re having an attack. This can be challenging if it’s one of your first anxiety attacks, but after that you’ll know more about what to expect.
How Do I Treat And Prevent Panic Attacks
There are self-help, psychological and medical options available to treat and avoid panic attacks. Panic is associated with anxiety and the treatments are similar. During a panic attack:
- Avoid self-talk that focuses your attention on your symptoms dont tell yourself to stop panicking!
- Reassure yourself that the symptoms of a panic attack are uncomfortable but not life threatening.
- Focus your attention on something outside your own body and symptoms. For example, try to recall the words to your favourite song or concentrate on the sights and sounds around you.
- Fleeing from the situation will confirm your fear that your panic symptoms are unbearable. Try to sit and allow the symptoms to pass and get confidence in your ability to cope.
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Support Them To Seek Help
If you think your friend or family members anxiety is becoming a problem for them, you could encourage them to seek treatment by talking to a GP or therapist. You could:
- Offer to help them arrange a doctors appointment. If they are scared of leaving the house, you could suggest they ring their GP to find out if they will do home visits and telephone appointments.
- Offer support when they attend appointments. You could offer to go with them to their appointments and wait in the waiting room. You can also help them plan what theyd like to talk about with the doctor. See our page on talking to your GP for more information.
- Help them seek help from a therapist. See our page on how to find a therapist for more information.
- Help them research different options for support, such as community services or peer support groups such as those run by Anxiety UK and No Panic. See our useful contacts page for more information. You could also call Minds Infoline to find out more about local services.
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Stay In The Moment To Relieve Anxiety Attacks
Although your gut response might be to leave the stressful situation immediately, dont. Let your anxiety level come down, advises Carmin. Then you can decide if you want to leave or if there’s a way to get back to whatever you were doing when the anxiety attack started. Staying in the moment will help you overcome anxiety, but its hard to do this at first.
Its one of the things I respect the most about people I work with, that they are taking the leap of faith and willing to do the things that terrify them,” Carmin says. “That takes a lot of courage.”
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The Factors That Can Lead To Panic Disorder
The following three factors contribute to interoceptive conditioning, higher anxiety sensitivity and development of panic disorder.
- Biological vulnerability. A genetic predisposition to certain personality styles, such as negative affect, contributes to the development of anxiety.
- Psychological vulnerability. Early developmental experiences can make certain individuals more likely to experience anxiety, especially if they grew up in controlled environments without opportunities to explore threatening situations.
- A specific psychological experience. A negative experience with an illness may cause a person to fear certain symptoms associated with that condition. Also, an individual may fear an illness if a family member modeled the illness as something to fear.
Gruner says that panic disorder often starts with an unexpected panic attack that surprises the person. They might have a panic attack while driving, in a parking lot, on a planesomewhere where it could have severe consequences to have a panic attack and also where the attack seems unwarranted based on the situation.
The first panic attack can be very disconcerting, and then an individual can fear that it may happen again, says Gruner.
How To Cope With Panic Attacks
Dr Waleed says that if you know what to expect, there are things you can do to help make further attacks easier to manage. During a panic attack, he advises:
- Recognise that this is a panic attack its temporary and will soon pass it is not life threatening. To realise this effectively, some familiarity may be required and so this is for subsequent panic attacks.
- Dont try to avoid the situation try and stay with the feeling without fighting it
- Some people find it helpful to find an object to focus on and notice everything possible about it they will verbally describe it in detail to themselves as a means of distraction and grounding
- Our thoughts, feelings, and bodily responses are interconnected, so think about a happy place, memory or positive experience
- Another grounding technique is to look at your surroundings and think about five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste
In terms of lifestyle changes, Dr Waleed adds: Anything that reduces stress and anxiety levels can potentially limit the occurrence of panic attacks.
Effectively managing stress by taking breaks, managing time and tasks, getting enough sleep, eating wholesome foods, regular exercise, mindfulness practice, self-soothing activities like taking a massage and journaling all go a long way to help calm the mind and body. Reducing ones caffeine intake will also help.
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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Is 70 To 90 Percent Effective As A Treatment For Panic Disorder
Panic disorder is one of the most treatable anxiety disorders. The prevailing treatment is cognitive behavioral therapy . A new offshoot of CBT, known as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy , has also been found effective in treating panic disorder. Psychologist Steven Hayes developed ACT in part as a way to treat his own panic disorder. This form of therapy uses acceptance and mindfulness techniques to change how you relate to your physical sensations of anxiety and anxiety itself.
CBT is an incredibly effective treatment for panic disorder. Seventy to ninety percent of people who undergo CBT will get better, says Gruner.
A key part of CBT in treating panic is a method called interoceptive exposure, in which the person deliberately confronts the unpleasant physical sensations that are causing anxiety. People become more sensitive to these sensations because they fear and avoid them, so facing the sensations and learning that they are not dangerous can lower anxiety sensitivity.
CBT sessions are usually conducted on a weekly basis and last for around 12 to 16 sessions. The treatment tends to show long-lasting results, and relapse is uncommon.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are also often used to treat depression and anxiety disorders, with or without CBT. These drugs can be effective, but CBT has been found to be a longer-lasting treatment than SSRIs.
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