After You’ve Had A Panic Attack
Once you feel your breath returning to normal, you start to feel more in control of your body and your thoughts start to calm down, you might feel drained and tired from the panic attack. It can be a good idea to take some time out to look after yourself and rest if you are able to. If you are not sure what to do to relax, here are some things that might help:
- Breathing exercises a simple breathing exercise can have a calming effect and help you to relax
- Use a self-soothe box. A self-soothe box contains things that make you feel relaxed. You can put some of your favourite things in there to focus your mind.
- Listen to some of your favourite music or watch your favourite TV show. This can help you switch off from your anxious thoughts and help you to calm down.
- Drinking some water can help if you were breathing quickly, felt out of breath or were crying a lot during your panic attack, as your throat might feel dry or you may feel dehydrated.
Everyone has a different way of looking after themselves, so find something that works for you. For more tips and advice on how to look after yourself, visit our taking time out page.
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 Are Panic Attacks Managed Or Treated
Psychotherapy, medications or a combination are very effective at stopping panic attacks. How long youll need treatment depends on the severity of your problem and how well you respond to treatment. Options include:
- Psychotherapy:Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of psychotherapy, or talk therapy. You discuss your thoughts and emotions with a mental health professional, such as a licensed counselor or psychologist. This specialist helps identify panic attack triggers so you can change your thinking, behaviors and reactions. As you start to respond differently to triggers, the attacks decrease and ultimately stop.
- Antidepressants: Certain antidepressant medications can make panic attacks less frequent or less severe. Providers may prescribe serotonin selective reuptake inhibitors , serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors or tricyclic antidepressants . SSRIs include fluoxetine and paroxetine . SNRIs include duloxetine and venlafaxine . TCAs include amitriptyline and doxepin .
- Anti-anxiety medications: Benzodiazepines are the most commonly prescribed anti-anxiety medication to treat and prevent panic attacks. They help with anxiety but have risks of addiction or dependence. These medications include alprazolam and lorazepam .
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Are All Panic Attacks The Same
Not all panic attacks are experienced in the same way. The following describes one way panic attacks are categorized:
- Expected panic attacks: These attacks occur when a person is subjected to or is anticipating a particular trigger. For example, a person with a fear of heights may have a panic attack when inside of a tall building.
- Situational predisposed panic attacks: These attacks are similar to cued panic attacks, but do not always occur after subjection to a feared situation. These attacks also dont always occur at the time the person is exposed to the trigger. For instance, a person who has a fear of flying may not always have a panic attack while on a plane or may have one after being on a flight.
- Unexpected panic attacks: These attacks occur suddenly without any internal or external;cues.
The Link Between Anxiety Symptoms And Depression
Many people with anxiety disorders also suffer from depression at some point. Anxiety and depression are believed to stem from the same biological vulnerability, which may explain why they so often go hand-in-hand. Since depression makes anxiety worse , its important to seek treatment for both conditions.
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You Can Help Guide Me Through A Panic Attack
The best thing you can do if you see me having a panic attack is to stay calm and talk me through it. When a panic attack strikes, I will feel a combination of overwhelming fear and some of the scary physical symptoms listed above. This is what helps:
- Deep breathing: I dont need the paper bag, but it helps if you count my breaths with me. Breathing in for four, holding for four, and releasing for four helps slow my heart rate and decrease the physical symptoms I experience.
- Coping statements: Talking back to my irrational thoughts with assertive coping statements helps me work through the attack. Saying, Im not dying, Im feeling anxious, disrupts the irrational thought process.
- Distraction: Once Im using my deep breathing, it helps to shift my focus.
Once the panic has passed, I need time to unwind and recover. Taking a walk or simply getting outside can help.
Your loved ones might never truly understand how you feel when you have a panic attack, but educating them helps them better understand what a panic attack is, symptoms to look for, and how they can help you when they see you in distress.
When To See A Doctor
While panic attacks can feel awful and terrifying, they are manageable and can be treated with coping strategies, therapy, and sometimes medication.
Remember, having one panic attack doesnt mean youll have another. But if you do, or are having anxiety about having another, talking to a health professional can help.
Consider seeking out a healthcare professional your primary doctor or a mental health professional if youre:
- finding it difficult to make it through the day and your symptoms are interfering with your relationships, work, or any other daily activities
- having recurrent physical symptoms, such as insomnia, heart palpitations, headaches, or any form of pain
- using substances to cope with your anxiety and physical symptoms
- having panic attacks after sustaining an injury or being diagnosed with a medical condition
- staying home despite having responsibilities that require you to leave the house
- interested in better understanding your symptoms or would like to be screened for diagnosis
- interested in learning the best ways to self-manage your symptoms or the various treatment options for panic attacks
These resources might be a good starting point when seeking help:
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What Causes Anxiety Attacks
Situational stressors like academic or workplace pressure, relationship tension, and personal distress just to name a few can cause anxiety attacks. But anxiety attacks can be caused by physiological ailments as well. For instance, not only can chemical imbalance cause a panic attack but so can other diseases or injuries. There isnât one cause of anxiety attacks and sufferers oftentimes cannot pinpoint a trigger to a panic attack.
Panic attacks are not always logical. Someone may have an anxiety attack from something small or there may not be apparent or visible cause. If someone has been under consistent and long-term stress, an anxiety attack may occur from the culmination of stress.
On the other hand, someone may experience panic attacks out of seemingly nowhere. These situations may be a result of a chemical imbalance within the individual. One cause of mental illness is a chemical imbalance within the brain. Even while an individual may experience a chemical imbalance due to mental illness, the chemical makeup of the brain, like other parts of the body, fluctuate over time. These fluctuations may spur panic attacks or other mental differences much like individuals with bipolar disorder cycle between mania and depression.
How To Deal With An Anxiety Attack
In the immediate moments when an attack is occurring, there are several steps a person can take to try to calm themselves down. These include:
- Recognize an attack is occurring and trying to remember that the symptoms will pass
- Breathe deeply to stop or calm hyperventilation and subsequently slow your heart rate
- Relax muscles to release some of the feelings of tension from your body and help you regain control
The person experiencing the attack may feel like they are going to die and request medical assistance. Severe anxiety attacks often result in trips to the emergency room, where the person experiencing the attack can get the help they need.
In many cases, anxiety attacks occur in response to certain situations or perceived threats.; Avoiding these triggers can help reduce the chance of having an attack, but may not be feasible if the trigger is present in your everyday life. If perceived anxiety attacks are brought on by certain triggers, there may be an underlying anxiety disorder that needs to be addressed. Therapy or medications can be very helpful in dealing with an anxiety disorder.
There are things that can be done to avoid another anxiety attack. Some of them include:
If you are experiencing anxiety attacks or panic attacks that are frequent and debilitating, and you have turned to substances to cope, The Recovery Village can help. To learn more about treatment for anxiety and addiction, to speak with a representative.
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How Long Do Panic Attacks Last
Everyone is different, so panic attacks will be, too.
Not all panic attacks have the same symptoms or the same intensity. They can vary in duration, as well.
Typical panic attacks last up to 30 minutes, with the symptoms reaching peak intensity within the first 10 minutes before easing up. But depending on how intense your symptoms are, attacks can seem to last much longer.
In some cases, you may also experience residual effects for hours like a rippling effect. So you could have some less intense physical and psychological sensations for up to a day or two after the panic attack began.
For instance, you could still feel somewhat shaky, dizzy, and experience fear of losing control hours after the actual panic attack has ended.
Panic attacks can last longer or come in and out in waves for days.
In fact, some people experience panic attacks every day for weeks or months. Others may have one panic attack and then go on for months or even years without having another one.
For some people, learning how to cope with anticipatory anxiety and how to manage panic attack symptoms can help decrease the frequency of the panic episodes.
I Knew Something Terribly Wrong Was Happening
J.T. Lewis, 58, Charlottesville, Va.
Courtesy J.T. Lewis
One morning almost 20 years ago, J.T. Lewis hailed a cab because she was late to work. As she settled into the back seat, Lewis noticed the car seemed unusually hot, dirty and cramped. The driver’s seat was so far back it seemed to be crushing her. She felt sweaty and light-headed.
“Suddenly, I couldn’t breathe, Lewis recalls. There was this crushing chest pain. I knew something was terribly wrong. Was I dying?”
The attack subsided after a few minutes, but Lewis was so shaken she had the driver drop her at her physician’s office. After a battery of tests, the doctor told her there was nothing physically wrong with her.
A few weeks later, Lewis, who frequently traveled for her job as a lawyer, had just buckled into first class on a plane when it happened again. The pressure in her chest. The feeling that she couldn’t breathe. Sweaty and pallid, she asked the flight attendant for some water.
The flight attendant took one look at her and instead had the pilot return the plane to the gate, so Lewis could get off. I was frustrated, confused and humiliated, Lewis said. I began avoiding business travel.”
After that, the panic attacks started happening more often. In the short run, medicine quelled her symptoms: Her doctor prescribed daily beta blockers plus Xanax for the moments when she felt an attack coming on .
Now retired from law practice, she hasn’t had a full-blown panic attack in years.
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What Do Anxiety Attacks Look Like
There isnât an age limit to those that suffer nor do anxiety attacks prefer a certain sex. One cannot simply look at a person and determine that they are prone to panic attacks. There may or may not be any visible signs of anxiety attacks.
Some people may present as mentally fine while having a panic attack as a form of insulation from public criticism. Others may be visibly distressed while having a panic attack. Sufferers may sweat, have shortness of breath, become dizzy and nauseous, tremble, and but not limited to their heart racing. Then some may look perfectly normal to the casual observer. The best way to understand if someone is having a panic attack is if a person tells you or they are diagnosed by a physician.
Some People May Develop Panic Disorders
For many people, the feelings of panic occur only occasionally during periods of stress or illness. A person who experiences recurring panic attacks is said to have panic disorder, which is a type of anxiety disorder. They generally have recurring and unexpected panic attacks and persistent fears of repeated attacks.;
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It’s As If A Vice Is Squeezing Me
Anita Lesko, 61, Pensacola, Fla.
Courtesy Anita Lesko
Anita Lesko has always been a germaphobe, so her anxiety started to build when she first read about the coronavirus in early 2020.
A certified registered nurse anesthetist , Lesko knew she was at higher risk of exposure because of her job administering anesthesia to patients before surgery. When she began hearing about the nationwide lack of personal protective equipment for health-care workers, Lesko really began to worry.
“The prospect of going to work, getting exposed and ending up on a ventilator or dead that’s what pushed me over the edge, she says.
One morning in March, when she was between patients at the hospital, Lesko developed a deep feeling of impending doom. She began to hyperventilate, her heart started racing and she broke out in a sweat. Pressure began building in her chest.
“I got a gripping sensation in my whole chest and throat area, as if a vice was squeezing me, she said. Then I started shaking literally to the core of my body.
Lesko asked to leave early and fled to her car. She collapsed into the driver’s seat and burst into tears.
“I was just sitting there trying to talk myself out of it, and trying to make myself breathe normally, she recalls.
It took about 30 minutes before she was calm enough to drive. When Lesko got home, she was so exhausted she had to sleep for a few hours before she could do anything.
Panic Attack Symptoms: How To Recognize One
Have you ever had an overwhelming, intense surge of fear and anxiety, which caused you to have feelings of chest pain, shortness of breath, palpitations, and or numbness? If so, you may have had a panic attack and if you did, trust me, you are not alone. Today, we’re going to talk about panic attack symptoms and how to know when it’s time to seek treatment.
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Is It A Ptsd Attack Knowing The Signs And Symptoms
Medically Reviewed By: Tanya Harell
Once relegated to the annals of wartime histories and considered a plague specific to individuals who have seen or fought in the war, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is an increasingly common problem and one that does not require a history of military service or presence in a war-torn country. Instead, PTSD is being recognized as an issue plaguing adults and children alike, with causes ranging from a traumatic event recognized by almost everyone , to a more covert traumatic event, such as a case of narcissistic abuse. Regardless of the exact trigger or traumatic event at the core of PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a treatable disorder, and individuals who have been diagnosed are not alone in their experiences.
Panic Attacks In Children At Night
Panic attacks during nights are called nocturnal panic attacks. It is the sudden awakening from sleep with fear and physical symptoms without real triggers of fear . Children with nocturnal panic attacks may also have day time episodes. Symptoms are also similar to attacks that occur during the day. Panic episodes at night may last for a few minutes, but a child may require time to calm down and go back to sleep.
Nocturnal panic attacks are neither dangerous nor require emergency treatment. You may make sure that there are no physical reasons that could cause a panic attack in the night. If you suspect the child has some problem, then seek prompt medical care.
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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.
How To Tell If You’re Having An Anxiety Attack
If you feel like you had severe anxiety, then you had an anxiety attack. Any form of severe anxiety can count as an attack. But for those that are experiencing something more like panic attacks, the experience tends to be similar between different people.
Recall that anxiety attacks can mimic other health problems. If you haven’t been to a doctor, it’s a good idea to go at least once to rule out any more serious issues. Make sure your doctor knows about anxiety, however. Not all doctors are aware of the severity of anxiety attack symptoms. Some may not believe that anxiety can cause so many physical symptoms and sensations, but it absolutely can. Thats why its so important to find the right doctor.
The symptoms below are often experienced differently by different people. During an anxiety attack, your body experiences a wave of stress that is so profound, it’s difficult to know exactly how your individual body will react. Yet below are some of the most common symptoms of an anxiety attack:
You may not experience all of these symptoms at once either, and each one may cause various degrees of severity. You may also feel as though there is no way that it is an anxiety attack. Anxiety attacks and panic attacks are often so severe that the sufferers live in constant fear of the symptoms coming back.
Anxiety attacks also tend to peak around 10 minutes . Then as they dissipate, they often leave you feeling fatigued and drained, possibly fearful of another attack.
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