Anxiety and panic are universal emotions that everyone experiences at some point in their lives. It is a normal reaction to threatening or unpleasant circumstances.
A person suffering from panic disorder, on the other hand, experiences anxiety, stress, and panic on a consistent basis and at any time, often with no apparent cause.
Although they can all be managed with the help of mental health services, many people avoid using them. However, it is undeniable that panic attacks affect people of all ages and walks of life, and they should receive timely panic attack treatment.
In this blog, we’ll cover important aspects of panic disorder to help people suffering from it such as, what is a panic attack. What causes panic attacks? What are its symptoms? How to stop panic attacks? And many more. Read along!
What is a Panic Attack?
Panic attacks are not always the cause of your panicking: they are your body's way of responding to stress.
Anxiety attacks occur suddenly and without apparent explanation, causing extreme physiological responses. Symptoms of anxiety can cause panic attacks. It's common to feel like you'll lose control, have a heart attack, or even die when a panic attack strikes.
When the source of stress is removed, as it often is, the panic episodes of many people quickly fade away. That is an ideal way that doctors practice when a patient asks how to stop panic attacks forever. Yet, if you have panic disorder, you may suffer from unexpected panic attacks regularly and live in constant terror of having another episode. Panic attacks aren't dangerous or life-threatening, but they can leave you terrified and severely diminish your quality of life.
What Causes Panic Attacks?
Panic attacks can be a terrifying experience for those who suffer from them. While the exact cause of anxiety or panic disorder is not clear, researchers believe that a combination of factors contributes to their onset. One potential trigger is a sudden surge of adrenaline in response to a perceived threat, leading to feelings of intense fear and physical sensations like a rapid heartbeat, sweating, and shortness of breath.
Other contributing factors include genetics, traumatic life experiences, chronic stress, and certain medical conditions. Despite the complexity of panic attacks, help is available for those who struggle with them. Speaking with a mental health professional or seeking panic disorder treatment can provide individuals with the necessary tools to manage and overcome these difficult episodes.
What are the Symptoms of Panic Attacks?
The onset of a panic episode is often unexpected and unexpectedly abrupt. They don't care if you're on the road, in a store, asleep, or in the middle of an important meeting. As a result, panic attacks might be infrequent or persistent occurrences for you.
While the specifics of a panic attack might vary widely, for instance, there are panic attacks that occur at night called nocturnal attacks, and the intensity of the symptoms typically peaks within a few minutes. As a panic attack passes, you may feel exhausted.
Panic attacks typically include some of these signs or symptoms:
Anxiety about something terrible happening soon
- The fear of powerlessness and death
- A sense of disconnection or disbelief
- Trembling or shaking
- Shortness of breath or tightness in your throat
- Hot flashes
- Abdominal cramping
- Chest pain
- Rapid, pounding heart rate
- Feelings of dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting
- Experiences of numbness or tingling
Recommended ways to Deal with Panic Attacks
You must remember that panic attacks are nothing to be afraid of. Anxiety attacks are temporary. The symptoms do not indicate a dangerous condition. Think of them as anxiety symptoms and tell yourself that. You should hold on until the attack has passed. Do what you can to keep busy. Do not escape until you feel comfortable doing so.
Here are a few recommended tips for answering your question, “How to deal with Panic Attacks”?
Seek Counseling for Panic Attacks
People with panic disorders and panic attacks can frequently benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and other forms of counseling. The goal of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) aims to help you find new ways to deal with difficult or frightening situations as they arise and change how you view difficult or threatening situations.
You can participate in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) as an individual, in a group, online, or in person; the panic attack medication duration can also change. During exposure-based CBT, your therapist will put you in situations that have the potential to bring on a panic attack and then help you work through the symptoms of the attack.
There is some evidence that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), in addition to changing behavior, may also affect structures in your brain that are responsible for panic symptoms.
Several Scholars' Sources can rely on a report that the neural pathways involved in panic symptoms change for the better in people who undergo four weeks of exposure-based cognitive behavioral therapy.
By cultivating mindfulness, one can better connect with and accept the world around them. This can help if you're having a panic attack or are worried one is coming on by helping you feel more connected to the world around you.
The mindfulness practice includes:
- Meditation is bringing awareness to the present moment, acknowledging one's current emotional state to calm oneself and release tension.
- Try concentrating on the feelings of everyday physical actions, such as digging your feet into the ground or noticing the feel of your jeans on your hands. Experiencing these sensations firmly plants you in reality and provides a neutral focus point.
- Mindfulness techniques, such as meditation, have been shown to reduce anxiety in some people, but whether or not they can cure an underlying anxiety disorder remains unclear.
Find a Focus Object
Focusing on a concrete object can help stabilize a person's sense of self when confronted with upsetting emotions and memories. Concentrating on one thing can help block out background noise. Considerations of touch, origin, and form could accompany the viewer's examination of the object.
The severity of panic attacks can be mitigated by using this method. When experiencing panic attacks, having something tangible to hold onto, mainly if they occur frequently, can be helpful.
This could be anything from a polished pebble or seashell to a tiny toy or a decorative hair clip. People who suffer from panic attacks, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder can benefit from grounding techniques like these.
Use Muscle Relaxation Techniques
Muscle tension is another sign of a panic attack. Learning how to stop a panic attack and relax your muscles before an attack can help you cope better if you ever experience one. In this case, the mind's perception of the body's relaxation may reduce other symptoms, such as rapid breathing. Progressive muscle relaxation is a well-known technique for alleviating stress and avoiding panic attacks. This is accomplished by flexing and relaxing individual muscle groups. To accomplish this:
- Keep that tension for a full five seconds.
- Say "relax" as you release the muscle.
In order to move on to the next muscle group, you should wait 10 seconds for each muscle to relax.
Distract yourself by Picturing your Happy Place
Scientific evidence shows how compelling guided imagery can alleviate stress and anxiety. According to Reliable Research, direct exposure to nature and mental imagery of the natural world benefit pressure.
Can you think of anywhere in the world where you could genuinely unwind? A warm, sunny beach with soothing waves? A rustic mountain lodge?
Imagine being there and giving your full attention to the scene. Envision sinking your toes into the soft sand or inhaling the fresh scent of pine needles.
Try The 5-4-3-2-1 Method
At the height of a panic attack, a person may feel like they have lost touch with reality. The panic can become so overwhelming that it blocks out perception.
The 5-4-3-2-1 approach is both a mindfulness practice and a grounding strategy. The individual's attention is diverted away from the triggers of stress.
If this approach is effective, the following procedures should be carried out with great care and attention to detail:
- Take a look at these 5 different things. Give some consideration to each possibility.
- There should be 4 audible tones. Keep in mind their background and unique qualities.
- Feel 3 factors. Think about how they feel, how warm or cold they are, and what you can do with them.
- Use your sense of smell to pinpoint 2 distinct odors. It could be anything from the aroma of your coffee to the scent of your soap or laundry detergent.
- Give an example of a flavor you can think of. Consider the taste of the food in your mouth or a piece of candy.
Keep your Favorite Fragrance Handy
Anxiety can be eased with the help of a calming scent because it engages the senses, keeping the anxious person rooted and focused.
The calming and relaxing effects of lavender make it a popular traditional remedy. Lavender's calming effects on anxiety have been documented in numerous studies. You can sniff the oil directly from a handkerchief or by holding it under your nose.
You can find this oil in many online stores. People should only buy it from reputable sellers, though. Those who find the scent of lavender unpleasant can substitute their preferred essential oil, such as bergamot orange, chamomile, or lemon, for the lavender.
Get Away to a Quiet Place
Anxiety attacks are often worsened by environmental factors. Find a quieter place to work if you can. This may require leaving a noisy area or finding a calm spot to lean against a wall. Sitting in a quiet place can help clear your head, allowing you to concentrate better on breathing and other coping mechanisms.
Practice Deep Breathing
A panic attack can be calmed by taking a few deep breaths.
Rapid breathing during a panic attack is common, and chest tightness can make breathing even more difficult. In addition, this breathing pattern can exacerbate anxiety and tension.
Do your best to take deep, slow breaths and focus on each. Then, slowly and steadily fill your lungs from your belly button as you count to 4 on each breath in and out.
The "relaxing breath" technique of 4-7-8 breathing or the 333 rule for anxiety management can also be helpful. Individuals using this method take a 4-second breath in, hold it for 7 seconds, and then release it slowly over 8 seconds.
It's important to remember that some people feel worse when they take deep breaths during panic attacks. When this occurs, it may help the person redirect their attention to something enjoyable.
How to help someone Stop Panic Attacks
If you are experiencing panic attacks, follow and practice anything that suits you from the abovementioned points.
However, while dealing with another person's panic attack, the following strategies might be used:
- Take deep breaths and try to relax. They'll feel a little more at ease after this.
- Asking them to relocate to a more peaceful neighborhood and providing assistance is a good idea.
- They can benefit much from sitting in a relaxed position where they can concentrate on their breathing.
- Reassure them that panic attacks eventually pass.
- Have an upbeat, nonjudgmental attitude.
- Don't support any negative statements.
- Try chatting with them to distract them and make them feel more secure.
- Don't try to reassure them by telling them not to worry or that their feelings are unfounded.
- Maintain contact with them. Don't leave them invisible if they insist on being alone.
Can Panic Attacks be Damaging?
Panic attacks, by themselves, pose no significant risk. Intense anxiety is all that it is, and the symptoms are genuine manifestations of the activation and regulation of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.
In anticipation of physical exertion, such as fighting or fleeing, the body raises its heart rate to better supply oxygen to the muscles. Since the body requires more oxygen, it speeds up its breathing, which can cause shortness of breath and chest discomfort.
Dizziness may occur when oxygen is diverted to the body's vital organs, such as the heart and muscles, instead of the brain and nervous system. Panic attacks will end when the expression of these symptoms becomes self-regulated. Adrenaline and noradrenaline are chemical messengers in the body, but their effects don't "wash out" immediately. Therefore, it is likely that the individual will continue to feel anxious after a panic attack has subsided.
Once again, this keeps the body alert for any potential danger. It's natural for someone to feel exhausted after going through something like this.
Intractable and chronic panic disorder can be extremely challenging to treat. You may have a panic disorder if you've had multiple panic attacks and can't stop worrying that they'll happen again. Treating your panic disorder can help, but it may not be possible to "cure" you completely.
Alternatives to medication include psychotherapy (including cognitive behavioral therapy), stress management, and talk therapy. Studies have shown that women are more likely to experience the onset of panic disorder in their twenties. In addition, a history of anxiety can bolster susceptibility to panic attacks and panic disorder. Be aware of any signs of worry after a traumatic event has occurred.
Think about talking to your therapist or a primary care physician if something you experienced or were exposed to is causing distress. Anxiety and panic attacks are treatable disorders. You are not alone, and assistance is available.