Panic attacks can be frightening. They are often brought on by stressful situations, and may only occur once or twice
But for those who experience them over and over, it becomes “Panic Disorder,” and fear of the attack itself can keep them from engaging in life.
Panic attacks have a number of symptoms associated with them and can include rapid heart beat, shortness of breath, hyperventilation, chest pain, trouble swallowing, dizziness, and sense of impending doom.
If you or someone you know is experiencing panic attacks on any kind of regular basis, you will probably want to consult your doctor, to be sure there is no physical basis for your symptoms. Assuming nothing is found, you will probably be referred to a psychologist. Counseling and medication can help get the symptoms under control.
But in most cases, that is not the only option. There are actions you can take to regain control.
1. Listen to your favorite music. If you feel that an attack is coming, listen to your favorite music. Recover your serenity by immersing yourself in soothing songs with words of comfort. By turning your mind to a distraction besides your symptoms, you will more easily calm your body and conquer the attacks. If it is the type of music that you can sing along with, that can be even more helpful.
2. Take stock of your environment. When you first become aware of the beginning of a panic attack, try to determine if there really is something dangerous to be afraid of at that moment. Is someone or something posing an eminent threat? Probably the answer is no. Try to relax and let go of the fear.
3. Find a distraction. If a panic attack starts to strike, find a distraction as soon as possible. Look at or examine something in the room, say a mantra or engage your mind with a puzzle or brainteaser. Do whatever it takes to distract yourself from the panic. Engaging your mind can lessen the severity of or prevent an attack.
4. Breathe deeply. Practicing stress management and relaxation techniques like yoga, deep breathing, and muscle relaxation can help
5. Support groups. Talking with others that are experiencing similar distress can help you feel less isolated.
6. Exercise. Get moving! The chemistry of your body changes when you engage in activity, especially aerobic in nature, which will tend to make you feel more calm.
7. Sleep. Lack of sleep can exacerbate the feelings of stress that could be responsible for your panic attack. Be sure to get enough sleep regularly.
Panic attacks are frightening and can limit your enjoyment of life, but you can get control of them and lessen their hold on you. Consult with your doctor about how you can safely treat these attacks. The suggestions in this article can help reduce your symptoms in the meantime.