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How to deal with a panic attack?

Medikoe Health Expert

Medikoe Health Expert

  Koramangala, bengaluru, karnataka, india, Bengaluru     Feb 9, 2017

   5 min     


A panic attack is a short period of very intense anxiety that causes much discomfort.  Panic attacks often strikeout of the blue, without any warning, and sometimes with no clear trigger. They may even occur when you’re relaxed or asleep. 

A panic attack may be a one-time occurrence, although many people experience repeat episodes. You may experience one or more panic attacks, yet be otherwise perfectly happy and healthy. Or your panic attacks may occur as part of another disorder, such as panic disorder, social phobia, or depressionPeople can learn to manage panic attacks by following some simple guidelines. If you have panic attacks regularly, you should be sure to tell an adult and also your doctor.

Causes of a panic attack-

Panic attacks may come on suddenly and without warning at first, but over time, they're usually triggered by certain situations. It's not known what causes panic attacks or panic disorder, but these factors may play a role:

  • Genetics

  • Major stress

  • The temperament that is more sensitive to stress or prone to negative emotions

  • Certain changes in the way parts of your brain function

Research has shown that panic disorder may be genetically linked. Panic disorder is also associated with significant transitions that occur in life. Leaving for college, getting married, or having your first child are all major life transitions that may create stress and lead to the development of panic disorder.  Severe stress, such as the death of a loved one, divorce, or job loss can also trigger panic attacks.

The fear and terror that a person experiences during a panic attack are not in proportion to the true situation and may be unrelated to what is happening around them. Most people with panic attacks experience several of the following symptoms:

  • Pounding heart

  • Chest pains

  • Sweating

  • Lightheadedness

  • Nausea

  • Tingling 

  • Numbness

  • Fear of dying

  • Dizziness

  • Stomach problems

  • Chills

  • Flushes

  • Shortness of breath

  • Shaking

  • Feeling of unreality

  • Feeling out of control

  • Feeling of smothering

  • Feeling of choking.

Panic attack treatment

Both psychotherapy and medication have been found to be effective in helping to reduce the frequency and intensity of panic attacks. Your specific treatment path will depend on personal preference, medical history, and the severity of your attacks. Treatment for panic disorder focuses on reducing or eliminating your symptoms. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a therapy that teaches you to change your thoughts and actions so that you can understand your attacks and manage your fear. 

Here are some techniques on what to do if you have a panic attack-

1. Using Your Mind

  • Remind yourself that you are not in danger. You are just having an exaggerated experience of a normal reaction to stress

  • Remind yourself that you can manage the uncomfortable feelings.

  • Instead of thinking thoughts like “Oh my gosh, this is awful! What’s going to happen to me?” think, “Okay, I recognize these feelings. I know exactly what to do to release them, and I’ll do it now.”

 2. Using Your Body

  • Find a place where you can sit down. If you are outside, lean against something solid.

  • Begin to slow your breathing by taking long, deep breaths. Remember that breathing deeply will bring the needed oxygen back into your body, stop your heart from racing, and eliminate any tingling or dizzy feeling.

  • Look around and notice all the normal things going on around you. Focus on that normalcy as you allow the fearful symptoms to pass.

  • To relieve your symptoms, do other things that feel comforting to you. Some people sip cool water, some lie down and close their eyes, and some put a cool cloth on the base of their neck.

In addition to these treatments, there are a number of steps that you can try at home to reduce your symptoms. Some of the panic attacks natural remedies are:

  • Maintaining a regular schedule

  • Exercising on a regular basis

  • Getting enough sleep

  • Avoiding the use of stimulants such as caffeine

You should speak to your doctor or another mental health professional to find out what you can do to both prevent and treat anxiety- and panic-related symptoms. Here are some panic attack home remedies:

  • Take slow deep breaths. When you feel your breath quickening, focus your attention on each inhale and exhale. Feel your stomach fill with air as you inhale. Count down from four as you exhale. Repeat until your breathing slows.

  • Recognize and accept what you’re experiencing. If you’ve already experienced an anxiety or panic attack, you know that it can be incredibly frightening. Remind yourself that the symptoms will pass and you’ll be alright.

  • Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness-based interventions are increasingly used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. Mindfulness is a technique that can help you ground your thoughts in the present. You can practice mindfulness by actively observing thoughts and sensations without reacting to them.

  • Use relaxation techniques. Relaxation techniques include guided imagery, aromatherapy, and muscle relaxation. If you’re experiencing symptoms of anxiety or a panic attack, try doing things that you find relaxing. Close your eyes, take a bath or use lavender, which has relaxing effects.

Panic attack vs Anxiety attack

Anxiety and panic attacks have similar symptoms, causes, and risk factors. However, panic attacks tend to be more intense and are often accompanied by more severe physical symptoms. Because the symptoms are so similar, it can be difficult to tell the difference between panic and anxiety attacks.

Here are some tips that can help:

  • Panic attacks usually occur without a trigger. Anxiety is a response to a perceived stressor or threat.

  • Symptoms of a panic attack are intense and disruptive. They often involve a sense of "unreality" and detachment. Anxiety symptoms vary in intensity from mild to severe.

  • Panic attacks appear suddenly, while anxiety symptoms become gradually more intense over minutes, hours, or days.

  • Panic attacks usually subside after a few minutes, while anxiety symptoms can prevail for long periods.

Anxiety and panic attacks can disrupt your everyday life. Whether you experience them or you want to understand what a friend or loved one goes through, know that help is available.

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Tags:  Mental Health,Mental Wellness,panic attack, stroke, health care

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