If you have ever experienced a Panic Attack, you know how debilitating they can be. The sudden uncontrollable anxiety, racing heartbeat, shortness of breath and other symptoms can make it feel as though you have completely lost control of not only your body, but also your mind.
It is possible to understand and therefore deal with Panic Attacks so the impact of them is reduced. The worst part of suffering from Panic Attacks can be the fear of them returning and being unable to cope. This fear needs to be beaten as it exacerbates an already anxiety ridden situation.
One you recognise the signs of a Panic Attack, it enables your brain to understand that what you are feeling is a symptom and not an actual life threatening event. Panic Attacks trigger the “Fear or Flight” response in your body, which in turn brings on the symptoms. Understanding allows the focus to shift from the overwhelming panic to creating responses to calm your body and cope with the symptoms.
What Are Symptoms of a Panic Attack?
Symptoms vary from person to person and not everyone experiences all of the symptoms. If you feel you suffer from Panic Attacks, please see a professional who can diagnose the best treatments for you:
- Dizziness and light headedness
- Shortness of breath
- Choking sensations and nausea
- Shaking and sweating
- Fatigue and weakness
- Chest pain and heartburn
- Muscle spasms
- Hot flashes or sudden chills
- Tingling sensations in your extremities
- A fear that you’re going crazy
- A fear that you might die or be seriously ill
- Irregular heartbeat
Steps To Help Combat Panic Attacks:
- Take Control Of The Panic
Panic is a powerful response, but it can be rationalised with. If you decide to take control of the panic symptoms, recognise them for what they are and essentially ride them out until they have subsided; you have taken the power away from your panic and put yourself back in control.
2. Stop Running From Panic Inducing Situations
Avoiding situations that induce panic is a natural response when you suffer from Panic Attacks. The more that you avoid situations, the bigger the fear behind the situation becomes. This in turn exacerbates the feeling of panic. Retrain your mind to attempt things that induce panic and realise that it is something that can be controlled and there is nothing to fear.
3. Learn To Control Your Breathing
Panic can make the sufferer hyperventilate. When in a state of panic your body starts breathing quickly and in a shallow way from the top of your chest, this is because it assumes you will need to physically flee and starts breathing as though you were exercising heavily.
Hyperventilation is not serious but can make the sufferer feel lightheaded and weak, making the panic worse. Breathe deeply from your diaphragm, place your hand on your stomach and when you breath make sure that you are physically moving your hand with each breath. This encourages your body into a more relaxed state. Take control of your breathing, don’t let it control you.
4. Keep Thinking & Occupy Your Brain
As panic is an irrational response, take charge and continue as normal. Occupy your mind with things that do not induce panic, counting backwards from 100 to 1 is useful. Pick a letter of the alphabet and start trying to name as many countries as you can that begin with that letter. Do anything that distracts your mind from the panic and relaxes your body.
5. Use The AWARE Technique
Write the following on a card and carry it around with you. If you start to feel panicked then read it:
A = Accept the anxiety. Don’t try to fight it.
W = Watch the anxiety. Imagine you are an observer and only noticing the symptoms of panic and not reacting to them.
A = Act Normal. Carry on as if nothing is happening and the panic will soon subside.
R = Repeat the steps above until you start to relax.
E = Expect the best, not the worse. It will pass quicker and quicker the more times you do this.
Panic can be controlled but it is a difficult thing to overcome. By deciding that you are going to take charge and not allow it to have such power over you, it becomes easier to control your panic. If you practice the tips above and make a conscious decision that the fear is irrational then it can get easier.
Learning to recognise the symptoms for what they are means you have regained control and should enable you to carry on, without panic having such a massive impact upon your well being. You can share your stories of coping with anxiety on cathartic and help others who may be struggling.