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How To Cope With Anxiety And Panic Attacks

What Is Panic Disorder

How To Cope With Panic Attacks

Panic disorder is characterized by repeated panic attacks. A panic attack is a sudden rush of strong fear or discomfort that is accompanied by a cluster of physical and cognitive symptoms, including heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, trembling, and fears of dying, going crazy, or losing control.

Panic attacks are common among all anxiety disorders but what sets panic disorder apart is that panic attacks are unexpected and occur “out of the blue” without an obvious trigger . These unexpected panic attacks must be associated with a significant change in behavior or be followed by at least one month of persistent worry about having another attack or about what will happen if you have another panic attack.

Panic disorder is a disorder that many people experience – roughly 2-3% of people per year in the United States suffer from panic disorder .

Stop An Anxiety Attack With Belly Breathing

Feeling short of breath is a hallmark symptom of an anxiety attack. But you can make the feeling worse by taking short, shallow breaths. Try belly breathing instead to stop the anxiety attack.

Carbonell compares the type of breathing youll need with the breathing of infants, whose bellies rise and fall with each inhale and exhale. When an anxiety attack starts, exhale deeply, loosen your shoulders, and focus on some longer, deeper inhales and exhales that let your belly rise and fall. Place one hand on your belly if you need to feel this happening.

Some People May Develop Panic Disorders

For many people, the feelings of panic occur only occasionally during periods of stress or illness. A person who experiences recurring panic attacks is said to have panic disorder, which is a type of anxiety disorder. They generally have recurring and unexpected panic attacks and persistent fears of repeated attacks.

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Why Might I Have A Panic Attack

A panic attack can happen at any time or place, and because it can happen quite quickly, it might feel unexpected.

Because a panic attack is an intense feeling of fear and anxiety, it often happens if you are feeling very anxious about something happening in your life, or you have experienced something difficult or stressful. This might be:

  • a difficult situation at home that is making you anxious
  • a frightening experience like abuse, or neglect
  • feeling stressed about things like exams, work, friendships or relationships
  • if you have lost a friend or family member
  • if you are being bullied
  • anxiety around school, college or university

There are many reasons why you might feel anxious and have a panic attack. Everyone has different experiences and thats okay. Sometimes, it might feel like there is no clear reason why you are having a panic attack.

Whats important is to try and understand what you might be feeling anxious or stressed about, and what types of situations or places can cause you to have panic attacks.

The first step to doing this is to talk to someone you trust, like a friend, family member, teacher or GP. They can help you understand what you are experiencing and help you find the support you need.

I get a pounding heart and my breathing becomes rapid like I cant get any air in it feels stuck in the back of my throat.

Helping Someone Who Is Having A Panic Attack

How to Cope at a Party When Anxiety is Your Plus

Dont diagnose a panic attack in someone else, but learning to recognize the symptoms will help you better support someone whos in distress. When speaking to them, remain calm and use a calm voice. You can help in the following five ways:

  • Ask. Dont assume you know whats going on. Calmly ask if and how they would like your assistance. Say something like, Miguel, are you OK? Would you like me to go outside with you so you can catch your breath? If the person seems like they cant communicate and you think they are having a heart attack, then call an ambulance immediately and let medical professionals make the assessment.
  • Find a quiet, private place. Reducing environmental stimuli can ease stress and help reduce the effects of dizziness and nausea. Ask your colleague whether theyd like you to help them find somewhere quiet to sit. If they say yes, do so. If they say no, then ask if there is anything you can do to help them. And if they refuse your help, then just let them know you are there for them if they change their mind.
  • Reassure. If the person asks you to stay, tell them that you are there to support them. Introduce a mantra as a way of focusing their attention elsewhere. Suggest they repeat after you, I am going to be OK. Help them breathe slowly. Model slow and purposeful breathing. Ask them to close their eyes and to breathe along with you, using the method described earlier. Repeat until their breathing slows and they regain control.
  • Recommended Reading: How To Tell If Shortness Of Breath Is From Anxiety

    How Long Do Panic Attacks Last

    Panic attacks usually last from 5-20 minutes but can last up to one hour, although this can be as the first panic attack has triggered another.

    It’s important to remember that the symptoms of a panic attack will pass and you will be okay. Panic attacks can often feel like they have no end, but they will.

    Anxiety Attack Symptoms Include:

    • 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.

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    Breathing Exercise For Panic Attacks

    If youre breathing quickly during a panic attack, doing a breathing exercise can ease your other symptoms. Try this:

    • breathe in as slowly, deeply and gently as you can, through your nose
    • breathe out slowly, deeply and gently through your mouth
    • some people find it helpful to count steadily from one to five on each in-breath and each out-breath
    • close your eyes and focus on your breathing

    You should start to feel better in a few minutes. You may feel tired afterwards.

    Find Some Private Space To Normalize With This Posture

    How to Deal with Anxiety attacks & Depression

    While you shouldnt, say, bolt from the company meeting if youre having a panic attack, you may want take a break in a quiet place where you can sit.

    When you feel one coming on, if possible, try and go to your nearest bathroom or a private conference room, then, lower your head until its almost between your knees and focus on taking slow, deep breaths, says Wright. You may be able to self-regulate and de-escalate the panic attack by doing this. If you cant go somewhere private and this happens in a meeting, pretend you have to lean down to tie your shoe or accidentally drop your phone on the ground and stay down until you feel yourself normalizing.

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    The Factors That Can Lead To Panic Disorder

    The following three factors contribute to interoceptive conditioning, higher anxiety sensitivity and development of panic disorder.

    • Biological vulnerability. A genetic predisposition to certain personality styles, such as negative affect, contributes to the development of anxiety.
    • Psychological vulnerability. Early developmental experiences can make certain individuals more likely to experience anxiety, especially if they grew up in controlled environments without opportunities to explore threatening situations.
    • A specific psychological experience. A negative experience with an illness may cause a person to fear certain symptoms associated with that condition. Also, an individual may fear an illness if a family member modeled the illness as something to fear.

    Gruner says that panic disorder often starts with an unexpected panic attack that surprises the person. They might have a panic attack while driving, in a parking lot, on a planesomewhere where it could have severe consequences to have a panic attack and also where the attack seems unwarranted based on the situation.

    The first panic attack can be very disconcerting, and then an individual can fear that it may happen again, says Gruner.

    Engage In Light Exercise

    Research shows that regular exercise can not only keep the body healthy but boost mental well-being, too.

    Experts have found that exercising at 60 to 90 percent of your maximum heart rate for 20 minutes three times per week can help reduce anxiety.

    If you are not used to exercising, talk with your doctor before starting. There is some evidence that starting aerobic exercise anew can trigger additional anxiety in people with an anxiety disorder. Building up gradually can help your body adjust and avoid breathing problems. Aerobic exercise includes activities such as running on a treadmill.

    If you feel stressed or youre hyperventilating or struggling to breathe, stop and take a rest or choose a more moderate option, such as walking, swimming, or yoga.

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    Stopping Panic: What To Do When You’re Having A Panic Attack

    Here, some strategies that have worked for others that may help you:

  • Just breath, deeply. Relaxing your body can help sidestep a panic attack. Practice breathing in through your nose for a count of five, hold it for five, and then breathe out through your mouth for a count of five. Or take a class in meditation and breathing techniques.

  • Count backward. If you suddenly feel your heart pounding or experience other physical clues that a panic attack is barreling for you, try this distraction suggested by Rob Cole, LHMC, clinical director of mental health services at Banyan Treatment Centers. Start counting backward from 100 by 3s. The act of counting at random intervals helps you to focus and override the anxious thoughts that are trying to sneak into your psyche. Better still keep loose change in your pocket. Add a dime to a nickel, then add two pennies, and so on. By controlling your thoughts and focusing on something outside yourself you will being to feel calmer.

  • Get grounded. Grounding yourself is another helpful technique. Tune yourself into 4 things around you that you can see, 3 things you can touch, 2 that you smell and 1 you can taste. Again, forcing your mind to consider something outside yourself helps, says Cole.

  • Try DBT. Caroline, 16, has found helpful and shes discovered that her panic attacks may be heightened if not triggered by bright light. Her tip: wear sunglasses. She also shies away from conversation during the attack. Dont ask me if Im OK, she says.

  • Keep Lavender On Hand

    How to control anxiety and panic attacks naturally

    Lavender is a traditional remedy that many people use to reduce stress and help them relax.

    Research suggests it has a calming effect but doesnt lead to dependence or cause withdrawal symptoms. Using products that contain diluted lavender oil may help reduce or manage symptoms of anxiety.

    However, the Food and Drug Administration does not regulate essential oils, and strengths and ingredients vary widely.

    If you use lavender essential oil, make sure you:

    • get your oil from a reputable source, such as a pharmacy
    • follow the instructions for use
    • avoid applying concentrated oil directly to the skin
    • avoid using lavender with benzodiazepines because the combination can cause intense drowsiness

    While research suggests there are health benefits, the FDA doesnt monitor or regulate the purity or quality of essential oils. Its important to talk with a healthcare professional before you begin using essential oils and be sure to research the quality of a brands products. Always do a patch test before trying a new essential oil.

    Which essential oil is right for you?

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    When Is My Anxiety Harmful

    Identifying what sort of anxiety youre dealing with can be somewhat challenging because how ones body reacts to perceived danger can be entirely different compared to another person.

    Its likely you heard anxiety as a blanket term for that general feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease. Its often a feeling in response to an upcoming event that has an uncertain outcome.

    Every person deals with it at one time or another, because its part of our brains response to a perceived danger even if that danger isnt real.

    That said, there are times anxiety can get serious and turn into anxiety attacks that initially feel manageable and then gradually build up over a few hours.

    How To Eliminate Anxiety Negative Thoughts Insomnia & Panic Attacks Naturallywith The Simple Techniques Described In This Video

    Dear Reader,

    Are you suffering with anxiety and its many symptoms such as insomnia, worry, panic attacks and fear? Is the anxiety robbing you of happiness and you dont know how to make it stop?

    Are you suffering with non-stop negative intrusive thoughts? Are they draining your energy and getting worse and you dont know how to get rid of them?

    Do you secretly worry you will never be free of anxiety?

    You are not alone

    Many people worldwide are suffering with anxiety and dont know the real cause of it or how to get rid of it. They remain suffering in silence instead of enjoying life.

    But anxiety CAN BE OVERCOME NATURALLY without medication and without therapy.

    Watch this short video below to understand the REAL CAUSE of anxiety and how to eliminate it naturally without medication and without therapy.

    I promise you this video contains truly life changing information you have NEVER HEARD BEFORE

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    Take A Test To See How You Feel

    If youre unsure about the way you feel, take our anonymous online test to check whether your levels of stress, anxiety, or depression are within a healthy range, and see if one of our online programs could help.

    What Causes Panic Attacks and Panic Disorder?

    Panic attacks are triggered by the fight-or-flight response, the bodys natural reaction to perceived threat. This response is supposed to help us fight or escape dangerous situations. In prehistoric times, this threat might have been something like a bear or a tiger. Today however, were more often threatened by things like financial stress, public speaking, or even the thought of another panic attack.

    When the fight-or-flight response is triggered, it causes changes in the body, like increased heart rate, sweating, and quick, shallow breathing. These reactions would be helpful if you needed to escape a life-threatening situation. Most of the time, however, they just feel terrifying.

    Because panic attacks are so frightening, people start to avoid situations where they could have a panic attack, and try to do things that make them feel safer, like always having a mobile phone in case they need help. Although these behaviours reduce anxiety in the short-term, they actually reinforce peoples fear of panic attacks, resulting in panic disorder.

    How To Deal With Panic Disorder

    What is CBT?

    What Is An Anxiety Disorder

    How to cope with anxiety | Olivia Remes | TEDxUHasselt

    An anxiety disorder is a type of mental health condition. If you have an anxiety disorder, you may respond to certain things and situations with fear and dread. You may also experience physical signs of anxiety, such as a pounding heart and sweating.

    Its normal to have some anxiety. You may feel anxious or nervous if you have to tackle a problem at work, go to an interview, take a test or make an important decision. And anxiety can even be beneficial. For example, anxiety helps us notice dangerous situations and focuses our attention, so we stay safe.

    But an anxiety disorder goes beyond the regular nervousness and slight fear you may feel from time to time. An anxiety disorder happens when:

    • Anxiety interferes with your ability to function.
    • You often overreact when something triggers your emotions.
    • You cant control your responses to situations.

    Anxiety disorders can make it difficult to get through the day. Fortunately, there are several effective treatments for anxiety disorders.

    Recommended Reading: How Do You Overcome Social Anxiety

    Take Any Prescribed Medications

    Depending on the severity of panic attacks, a doctor may prescribe a use-as-needed medication. These medications typically work fast.

    Some contain a benzodiazepine or a beta-blocker. Propranolol is a beta-blocker that slows a racing heartbeat and decreases blood pressure.

    Benzodiazepines that doctors commonly prescribe for panic attacks include Valium and Xanax.

    However, these drugs can be highly addictive, so people should use them exactly as their doctor prescribes. Taken with opioids or alcohol, they can have life threatening adverse effects.

    A doctor may also describe selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which can help prevent panic attacks from occurring in the first place.

    Helping Someone Whos Having A Panic Attack

    It can be scary when someone you know is having a panic attack. But there are some simple things you can do to help them:

    • Stay calm Keep your voice calm and dont talk about or focus on whats happening to them during the panic attack. Remind the person that theyre safe and that itll be over soon.
    • Ask if they need anything Someone having a panic attack might not always be able to tell you what they need, but asking can help remind them theyre not alone.
    • Help them to breathe Try counting out loud as you breathe in for 5 seconds and out for 5 seconds.
    • Support them afterwards Take them somewhere quiet to calm down and get them some water if they need it. Try to stay with them for a few minutes afterwards or for as long as they need to feel better.

    Also Check: Can Anxiety Cause Heart Pain

    How To Cope With Your Anxiety Or Panic Attacks During Covid

    Unprecedented times its the phrase of the year, and for a good reason. COVID-19 has triggered a pandemic that has caused drastic change and disruption across the world. Theres no doubt the virus is scary- its infectious, contagious, and life-threatening.

    But while were all feeling nervous and uncertain, some people are struggling with excess anxiety and panic. Unfortunately, these symptoms can make stressful situations feel even worse. And while there isnt a perfect solution for coping, there are some considerations to keep in mind when prioritizing your mental health.

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