How Do I Calm My Anxious Child
Anxiety and panic share some common symptoms. When your child is experiencing a panic attack or is feeling particularly anxious, follow these steps.
- Be calm yourself. Its not about you.
- Acknowledge that their feelings are real instead of punishing/shaming them for how they feel.
- Practice chest breathing together to encourage their parasympathetic nervous system to do its thing.
- Tell them that you are there for them by saying, I am here for you.
- Give them a long hug .
How To Subdue A Panic Episode In 9 Steps
Here is something you can try to treat the pre-described symptoms,
It is a series of simple breathing techniques aimed at helping your body override its natural fight-or-flight response .
The following may be performed sitting down, standing up, or lying down. You can do this whilst on a crowded commute into work, when youre in bed, during a stressful work meeting, or basically in any situation where it is safe to switch your attention to yourself for a few minutes.
To feel less panicky, do the following:
This simple breathing exercise is effective because when you are feeling stressed, your breathing pattern changes. When we feel anxious, out natural physiological response is to breathe too much in short shallow bursts.
The above abdominal breathing exercise makes you conscious of how you are breathing.
Get Our Latest Articles Direct To Your Mailbox
Join our mailing list for more articles written by family members, people with lived experience, and mental health professionals.
About the Author: Javier Velazquez is a Mental Health freelance writer. He uses his expert knowledge, skills, and personal experience in digital marketing to craft content in Mental Health that makes people take action. When hes not working on his latest project, you can find him reading a wonderful book and drinking coffee.
The opinions and views expressed in any guest blog post do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc. The author and www.rtor.org have no affiliations with any products or services mentioned in the article or linked to therein. Guest Authors may have affiliations to products mentioned or linked to in their author bios only.
Recommended Reading: Does Anxiety Make Your Heart Race
How Do Psychologists Treat Anxiety
The treatment outcomes for anxiety are very positive through counselling sessions with an experienced psychologist. This is because psychologists have experience in understanding human behaviour and can assist in identifying emotional triggers. By doing this, psychologists can provide you with practical solutions to address the underlying issue so that they do not keep coming back.
As the practice of psychology is an evidence-based one, many psychologists will employ psychoeducation and cognitive behavioural therapy to treat people with anxiety.
Psychoeducation is a process where a psychologist helps you understand the nature of anxiety so that you are no longer afraid of it.
Cognitive behavioural therapy is based on the reduction and elimination of anxiety symptoms. CBT has been shown to be highly effective in the short-term. Research indicates that over 60% of people who undergo CBT experience substantial improvements in anxiety symptoms. It is also the best long-term treatment for anxiety as CBT teaches you skills that you can apply on-demand.
How To Cope With A Panic Attack At Night
Waking up and discovering youre having a panic attack can be an overwhelming and scary experience, and the fact that youre probably still groggy and trying to come round from sleep, can make you feel out of control and cause you to panic even more.
If youre having a nocturnal panic attack, try the following:
Dont fight it
If you wake up and youre having a panic attack, its important not to fight it, as this could make things worse. Accept the panic attack for what it is and let the feelings wash over you. Remember, it is only temporary, and it will fade eventually. You just need to let it happen.
Try and relax
Try to get your body back into a relaxed state. Inhale deeply and exhale slowly to regulate your breathing. Relax your muscles, and try to focus your mind on positive thoughts and images.
Get up and do something
Go back to bed when youre ready
Only go back to bed when youre beginning to feel tired again and ready for sleep. When youre in bed, keep yourself calm by breathing deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth, to the extent that your whole abdomen, not just your chest, is rising and falling.
Recommended Reading: How To Know If You Have Stress Or Anxiety
Walk Or Do Some Light Exercise
Walking can remove a person from a stressful environment, and the rhythm of walking may also help them regulate their breathing.
Moving around releases hormones called endorphins that relax the body and improve mood. Taking up regular exercise can help reduce anxiety over time, which may lead to a reduction in the number or severity of panic attacks.
Do Some Deep Breathing
The feeling of shortness of breath often stems from shallow breathing during a panic attack. You can combat this by purposely breathing slowly and deeplyinhale for four counts, hold for four counts, exhale for four counts. Focus on taking deep breaths in and out, feeling the air slowly fill your stomach and then slowly empty air from your stomach. Deep breaths will send more oxygen to your brain and your organs and help you relax. Close your eyes to help you focus on your breathing.
Recommended Reading: How To Get Out Of An Anxiety Attack
What If My Friend Or Family Member Suffers From Anxiety Attacks
People with loved ones suffering from anxiety disorders and panic attack symptoms can be supportive by understanding that its not all in their head, and that if not addressed, these disorders can lead to social isolation and serious health problems.
A person suffering from anxiety or panic attacks need understanding and compassion, not judgment or condemnation. Be there for that person, but dont push them to talk because that can increase anxiety. You might also be able to help them develop coping strategies or help them through social situations that might cause anxiety.
What Are Panic Attacks
Panic attacks are sudden, unexpected episodes of intense anxiety, which can cause a variety of frightening symptoms. These include:
- Feeling out of control and disconnected from your surroundings
- Feeling faint, dizzy or light-headed
- Chest pains and shortness of breath – a tightness of the chest and feeling as though its a struggle to breathe
- A racing or pounding heart
- Numbness and tingling, for example, tingling lips and numbness in your fingers and toes
- Fluctuating body temperature feeling very hot or very cold
These symptoms can be so severe they sometimes make first time sufferers believe theyre experiencing a heart attack or a nervous breakdown. Over time, panic attacks can become more frequent, and the fear of having a panic attack becomes embedded, resulting in a vicious circle.
Night time panic attacks, also known as nocturnal panic attacks or night terrors, happen while youre asleep and wake you up, often with the same symptoms as day time panic attacks. However, while these nocturnal attacks usually only last for a few minutes, it can take a long time for you to calm down enough to go back to sleep after having one. This, coupled with worrying about whether youre going to have another panic attack, may lead to insomnia.
Don’t Miss: How To Calm Chest Anxiety
The End Of Everything: What A Panic Attack Feels Like
Only 16, Caroline, had her first panic attack a year ago. Her mother was dropping her off at her summer job at a local school when, without warning, a full-blown panic attack engulfed her. My heart started racing and my body felt so hot. I started to sweat and shake uncontrollably. My vision became distorted and my body felt limp, like a wet noodle, she says. For 20 minutes, until the panic attacked passed, Caroline refused to get out of the car. Her mother didnt know what to do.
Kirstie Craine Ruiz, 46, has lived with anxiety, panic attacks, and panic disorder for about ten years. For a long time, she had full-blown attacks 2-3 nights a week. I would usually awake to a racing heart or the feeling of my heart expanding in my chestas it might explodeFrom there, I would begin to panic and my heart would go even fasterand my body would shake so hard that it felt like I was having a convulsion. I could barely breathe and was usually pretty sure I was having a heart attack and that I was going to die. Sometimes Id go the ER and theyd hold me overnight because my heart would be going so fast and they couldnt get it to go down.
What Is An Anxiety Attack
An anxiety attack is a high degree stress response activated by either overly apprehensive behavior or by the involuntary action of a chronically stressed body.
In other words, anxiety attacks have two main causes:Voluntary anxiety attacks: When we worry something terrible might happen and the body responds with a high degree stress response.
Involuntary anxiety attacks: When the body activates a high degree stress response all by itself due to the adverse effects of chronic stress.
You May Like: What Are The Symptoms Of Anxiety Disorder
Who Gets Panic Attacks
At least 6 million Americans suffer from panic attacks and panic disorder both conditions classified as anxiety disorders. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America , about 2-3% of Americans experience panic disorder in a given year and it is twice as common in women as in men. Panic disorder typically affects individuals when theyre in their 20s but is also seen in young children, adolescents, and older adults.
Calm Anxiety By Living In Slow Motion
Slowing down your body will affect your minds speed, too. Intentionally practice conscious movements. Try a walking meditation. Take deliberate steps on a garden path. Walk around the block taking in the sights. Yoga and Tai Chi are wonderful at reducing anxiety and increasing mindfulness. Before I started doing yoga, Id get nervous watching people twist their bodies into various poses. But by continuing to practice, I discovered an inner strength and a mental calm I didnt know I had.
Read Also: Can Thyroid Issues Cause Anxiety
Anxiety And Panic Attacks
Although anxiety may fuel a panic attack, its a separate condition that can be gradual and chronic.
Panic attacks, by contrast, are marked by an intense and overwhelming sense of fear or dread in response to an imminent threat. Panic attacks, often brief, are brought on by the bodys fight or flight response a natural and adaptive process that helps fight off danger or run from it.
MORE FROM MICHIGAN: Subscribe to our weekly newsletter
This process can be triggered any time we perceive ourselves to be in harms way and it can happen within the context of any anxiety or stress disorder.
If someone has a fear of dogs, encountering an unfamiliar dog could trigger a panic attack, Duval says. Someone who has social anxiety or worries about being judged negatively by others might have a panic attack when giving a speech or introducing themselves to new people.
Witness And Challenge Your Thoughts
There are often negative and untrue thoughts going through our minds during a panic attack. For instance, you might feel like this panic attack is going to last forever or that you will die. Before thoughts have spiraled out of control, start by simply witnessing the thoughts objectively. You can pretend the thoughts are a friend talking to you. Listen in on the stories, worries and exaggerations this friend is sharing and try to challenge these thoughts methodically, one at a time.
Read Also: What To Give Someone With Anxiety
Anxiety Attack Symptoms Include:
- Feeling of losing control or going crazy.
- Heart palpitations or chest pain.
- Feeling like youre going to pass out.
- Trouble breathing or choking sensation.
- Nausea or stomach cramps.
- Feeling detached or unreal.
Its important to seek help if youre starting to avoid certain situations because youre afraid of having a panic attack. The truth is that panic attacks are highly treatable. In fact, many people are panic free within just 5 to 8 treatment sessions.
Panic Disorder In Children
Panic disorder is more common in teenagers than in younger children.
Panic attacks can be particularly hard for children and young people to deal with. Severe panic disorder may affect their development and learning.
If your child has the signs and symptoms of panic disorder, they should see a GP.
After taking a detailed medical history the GP will carry out a thorough physical examination to rule out any physical causes for the symptoms.
They may refer your child to a specialist for further assessment and treatment. The specialist may recommend a course of CBT for your child.
Screening for other anxiety disorders may also be needed to help find the cause of your child’s panic attacks.
Recommended Reading: What Drugs Help With Anxiety
What Causes Panic Disorder
While the exact causes are not known, what researchers do know is that panic disorder does sometimes run in families. And it is often seen in individuals who suffer from other anxiety disorders explains Cole.
For example, a person with obsessive-compulsive disorder may experience a panic attack when their schedule or compulsions are interrupted. Individuals who struggle with specific phobias are also susceptible to panic attacks. A person with an extreme fear of heights may experience a panic attack in a penthouse apartment.
And for someone with generalized anxiety disorder , a condition characterized by extreme fear or worry, the unending anxiety can escalate to a panic attack. People with post-traumatic stress disorder have a higher incidence of panic disorder than the general population. Illness or traumatic events increase the chances of panic attacks.
People with hyperthyroidism , mitral valve prolapse, and other conditions or diseases also may be more easily triggered.