Find A Focus Point For Your Mind
To counter the overwhelming sense of helplessness that often accompanies a panic attack, some people find it helpful to train their minds on a simple focal point, like a small object in the room or actively listening to a song. You can alsto count backward from 100 by intervals of three.
Focus all your attention on that one thing and be as actively involved with your focus point as possible. The goal here is to be so focused that your anxious feelings melt away in the backgrounds until they disappear. This is a distraction technique.
Pick a focus point in advance so that you can quickly go there during a panic attack.
What To Do When Panic Attacks Happen In Public
Approximately 22.7 percent of Americans will suffer from a panic attack in their lifetime. According to WebMD, panic attacks are sudden fear and extreme nervousness for 10 minutes or more at a time. They are strong feelings of being terrified at seemingly random times, or after a triggering event. Panic attacks can unfortunately take place at any second no matter where you are. Thankfully, there are some useful coping mechanisms and ways to make public panic attacks easier.
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.
Don’t Miss: Pristiq Depression
Acknowledge The Panic Attack
People spend most of their time in the two wrong places: the past or the future. In the past, you drown yourself in depression. In the future, youre scared for your life. But in the present, thats where you can find the most joy. While having a panic attack can be wildly unpleasant, its important to sit with yourself in the present moment and acknowledge it.
Tell yourself, Right now, Im having a panic attack. I feel scared, anxious, and worried that something will go wrong. However, right now nothing bad is happening right now. I am safe. I feel myself taking a deep breath in. I feel the oxygen entering my lungs. I feel my toes grounded on the floor. Im shaking my arms back and forth. This moment isnt perfect but it will pass. Good moments are up ahead. All I need to do is feel this present moment.
How To Deal With Panic Attacks
A panic attack is a feeling of sudden and intense anxiety.
Panic attacks can also have physical symptoms, including shaking, feeling disorientated, nausea, rapid, irregular heartbeats, dry mouth, breathlessness, sweating and dizziness.
The symptoms of a panic attack are not dangerous, but can be very frightening.
They can make you feel as though you are having a heart attack, or that you are going to collapse or even die.
Most panic attacks last somewhere from five minutes to half an hour.
Also Check: What Is The Phobia Of Long Words
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.”
Learn To Recognize The Signs Of Anxiety
Anxiety disorder is the most common mental health condition in the United States, affecting up to 18% of the population. Knowing the signs of anxiety can help you realize when someone you love is having fearful thoughts or feelings. Symptoms vary from person to person but can be broken into three categories:
What Can I Do About It
There are a few different things you can do that have been shown by research to help the most:
Although there are many other alternative therapies for anxiety, there is less evidence that they actually work. Some people find that herbal remedies help reduce their bodys response to anxiety. Remember that even herbal remedies can have side-effects and may interfere with other medications. Dosages can also vary depending on the brand you use. Talk about the risks and benefits of herbal or other alternative treatments with your health care providerand make sure they know all the different treatments youre trying.
Know Your Physical Health Status
Knowing more about your physical health puts you in a better position to tell the difference between panic attack symptoms and signs of a medical condition. Going to your doctor for regular checkups can help you rule out other conditions that would be cause for alarm.
A doctor will be able to differentiate whether the symptoms of panic shortness of breath, rapid heart rate, shaking and sweating, etc. are the result of a medical condition or anxiety, says Dr. Mehta. Also, if you do have a medical condition, educate yourself about those symptoms and how they differ from panic and anxiety.
Think about the specific symptoms youre experiencing. Are they things common during a panic attack? Remind yourself of the conversations with your doctor. Go over the logic in your head or say it out loud.
You May Like: What Is The Phobia For Long Words
Try Muscle Relaxation Techniques
Another symptom of panic attacks is muscle tension. Practicing muscle relaxation techniques may help limit an attack. This is because if the mind senses that the body is relaxing, other symptoms such as rapid breathing may also diminish.
A technique called progressive muscle relaxation is a popular method for coping with anxiety and panic attacks.
This involves tensing up and then relaxing various muscles in turn. To do this:
Tips To Help Recover After A Panic Attack
Often, people feel helpless and don’t know what to do, but learning how to deal with panic attacks when they come out of nowhere can help you. According to the National Institute of Mental Health , if you are prone to panic attacks, it’s best to speak with a mental health professional because it can be treated with therapy, medication, or a combination of both. You have to try to remember you are not alone in this, and you can treat and overcome panic attacks. Take the time to learn about panic attacks, and speak with loved ones for support.
While knowing about panic attacks can help, there are tips you can learn to help you during and after such moments. When you realize you are about to have a panic attack, practicing some tips can alleviate the situation. Healthline recommends trying deep breathing by focusing on your breath because this can help calm you. Practice mindfulness by focusing on your current moment in reality. During such episodes, we enter the world of fear , so bringing yourself back can help relax you.
You can also try meditating. Furthermore, studies have shown that smelling lavender can help reduce the anxiety that causes panic attacks, per Medical News Today. Remind yourself that this too shall pass, and it’s a temporary situation. It can be hard in the moment, but with practice and perhaps keeping near you an item in which you have close personal value you can help yourself feel better after a panic attack.
Read Also: Define Phobia In Psychology
Remind Yourself This Will Pass
Panic attacks generally last only for a few minutes, although they can feel a lot longer in the moment. Tell yourself youre having a panic attack and that thats OK. You dont have to try and control it. Just knowing whats happening can help that feeling of doom lose some of its power.
Its helpful to remind yourself that a panic attack will pass and will not kill you, says Dr. Mehta.
Try To Find Evidence For Your Fear
When trying to stop a panic attack, you need to get to the root cause of it: your fear. Many times are fears are exaggerated in our mind. Our imagination can play some terrifying tricks on us. A simple way to stop panic attacks is to first label what the situation or trigger is. For example, an upcoming wedding. Then, list your feelings such as anxious, paranoid, scared, etc. Next, name the unhelpful thoughts that youre having. For example, feeling like youre in danger, feeling like youre about to die. Then, list the facts that support your unhelpful thought.
Keep in mind they need to be facts not beliefs. You might have some weird coincidences that you can list but that wont be considered actual evidence. Then, list facts that provide evidence against the unhelpful thought. For example, maybe youre still young and healthy so you likely arent about to die. Next, provide an alternative and more realistic. Next, focus on reevaluate you how currently feel. This is the Thought Record you can fill out to help you.
Don’t Miss: Bipolar And Eating Disorders
To Relieve Anxiety Talk Out Loud To Yourself
Give yourself permission to have an anxiety attack by saying the words out loud. Remind yourself that the attack will end, and it wont kill you or cause you to faint.
Carbonell says that understanding the physiology of fainting and reminding yourself of it is important. People faint when their blood pressure drops. A anxiety attack can make you feel like youre going to faint, but you wont because your blood pressure doesn’t drop during an attack. Remind yourself out loud of truths like these to counter your fears.
Could I Have Panic Disorder
Recognizing a panic attack
Panic disorder involves repeated panic attacks, so it’s important to know what a panic attack feels like. Here is a list of signs that youre having a panic attack:
If the first symptom plus several of the others come on suddenly, you may be experiencing a panic attack. Panic attacks usually peak within a few seconds or a few minutes, although it can take some time for all the symptoms to settle. Panic attacks can happen at any time and while they are sometimes triggered by a stressful life event, they can often appear to be triggered by nothing at all.
Recommended Reading: What Does Phobic Mean
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.
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors
SSRIs are a type of antidepressant also used to treat anxiety and panic attacks. They increase serotonin levels in the brain. They do this by blocking the natural reabsoprtion cycle of serotonin into nerve cells, allowing more serotonin to flow through the brain.
Serotonin is a chemical messenger associated with mood regulation. Stabilizing serotonin levels helps to reduce anxiety and panic.
SSRIs have been widely studied. They carry a low risk of serious side effects and are effective long term. As a result, theyre one of the most commonly prescribed medications for panic disorder.
Some SSRIs commonly prescribed to treat panic disorder include:
Also Check: What Is Feretrophobia
Get A Breath Of Fresh Air
Another one of my favourite techniques for overcoming anxiety is simply nothing more than getting a breath of fresh air. It is completely normal to say, Excuse me. Im going to go get a breath of fresh air, when youre out with your friends or family. So, dont worry about what people will think. Everyone desires some fresh air once in a while.
So, crack open a window or slip outside for a couple of minutes. The air will provide you with a steady supply of oxygen, which your brain needs to work efficiently especially when your panic attack is giving it a run for its money. The air also has a calming effect on your mind, body, and soul. So, take deep breaths and relish from this natural treatment for anxiety.
Write Down The Signs Of An Anxiety Attack
Once you know youre having an anxiety attack, try to jot down a few of the symptoms and thoughts 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.
Also Check: Pristiq For Panic Disorder
Ground Yourself With Focusing On 5 Things For Every Sense
Grounding is an excellent form of natural treatment for anxiety and panic attacks. It helps you rationalize with your brain, as opposed to fighting with it, and is a powerful distraction tool. The best part? Its easy. Linda Esposito explains, Grounding strategies include feeling your feet on the ground, or your hands on the steering wheel, or bracing yourself against a wall. So, theres always something you can focus on that can distract your mind from the attack. This is crucial because the more you focus on the attack, the more panic youll experience.
I like to take this anxiety attack technique a step further by picking out 5 things around me that I can see, touch, smell, hear and if Im eating taste. The key is to truly focus on what youre thinking about. So, count 5 plants you see in the room and then think about where they came from, point out the different tones, textures, etc. Before you know it, the panic will be gone because you didnt feed into it.
Often times, I also have one of the several types of stones for anxiety with me that is used to treat anxiety naturally. It might sound crazy but different materials send off different vibrations, and some of them can help keep you grounded, calm, happy, etc.
When To Use Medication
Sometimes, panic attacks cannot be managed entirely alone. If panic attacks become an ongoing concern or they cause significant anxiety or fear about future panic attacks, it might be necessary to see a therapist or doctor.
Types of therapeutic interventions that have been shown to have the best outcomes include cognitive behavioral therapy and humanistic therapy. CBT involves understanding the relationship between thoughts and behaviors and working toward changing negative or distorted thoughts to more positive, helpful ones.
One study found CBT to be between 85% and 90% successful in treating panic disorders.
Humanistic therapy is a type of intervention that helps people make rational decisions and accept responsibility for themselves. Common humanistic therapy approaches include client-centered therapy, gestalt therapy, and existential therapy.
If therapy alone is not effective in treating panic attacks, as may be the case in severe cases of panic disorders, medications may be recommended and prescribed by a psychiatrist. Commonly prescribed medications that have been shown to be effective in helping with panic disorders include antidepressants and benzodiazepines.
Read Also: Mdd Vs Bpd
Use Essential Oils To Snap Your System Out Of The Attack
Personally, I rely on essential oils and happily so. They arent like prescription drugs, where you become addicted and dependent. Essential oils are 100% natural and you can use them to snap your mind, body, and soul out of an attack. I always have some sort of anti-anxiety essential oil on me, whether its a roller or a drop on my wrist, essential oil jewelry, etc.
The scent of natural extracts trigger certain toxins in your brain that help you calm down and come out of a panic attack. However, its important to find out which ones do what. So, do educate yourself on the types of essential oils for anxiety and what each does.
Professional Support For Panic Attacks
There is treatment available for those who suffer from panic attacks, which can help you to manage them and also prevent panic attacks from happening in the future.
At Priory, we make use of tried and tested therapeutic interventions such as cognitive behavioural therapy to help you address any dysfunctional thoughts that are contributing to your panic. We can also recommend and prescribe medication if it is needed, in conjunction with therapies.
The treatments that we will provide will always fit around your needs and requirements, so that you are able to get the most effective support in the best possible manner.
For details of how Priory can provide you with assistance regarding mental health and wellbeing, please call 0800 840 3219 or . For professionals looking to make a referral, please click here