Panic attacks are not uncommon and many people from all walks of life have suffered from them. They are characterised by the sudden, severe onset of anxiety and can be extremely debilitating when one occurs.
Here are just some of the symptoms you could experience during a panic attack:
If you have suffered from a panic attack before, you will know how overwhelming it can be. You will probably have a list of things you do that makes your anxiety reduce and calms everything down. If it’s your first attack, however, you’ll probably be at a loss to know what to do.
While everyone is different, here’s our quick checklist of proven things that work for stopping panic attacks:
It might sound counter-intuitive, but accepting that you are having a panic attack and focusing on it instead of trying to avoid it can work better. Try to rate the level of the attack objectively and see how it fluctuates even as you observe it. Don’t judge it or try to ignore it, simply stay there with it.
It’s a simple thing but controlling your breathing can help. Take deep, slow breaths and concentrate on your lungs filling with air and as you exhale, holding your breath for a few seconds in between. Focusing on one thing can be difficult but can help to calm your body’s flight or fight response.
You own mind is often your own enemy so find ways to distract yourself from the growing sense of panic. This can include talking to a friend who can reassure you and calm you down. Find what works for you – as we say, no one person is the same as another. You might even find that doing some aerobic exercise on the spot will help you.
Preventing Panic Attacks from Occurring
There is plenty that you can do if you suffer from regular panic attacks and reduce their incidence.
Finally, if you suffer from regular panic attacks and are getting help from your doctor, then joining a local support group is also a great idea. Not only will you meet like-minded people who can share their experiences and realise you’re not alone, you’ll pick up a lot of useful tips on how to handle panic attacks when they occur.
Find out more about anxiety disorders.