Coping with Panic Attacks

A panic attack is defined as a sudden feeling of acute and disabling anxiety.

If you are having a panic attack, you may feel:
-heart palpitations
-choking sensations
-blurred vision
-trembling or shaking
-tightness in the chest
-shortness of breath

Many individuals find themselves in the emergency rooms or visits to the doctor after a panic attack where nothing is found. It can seem as though you are having a heart attack, an allergy reaction, or some other serious ailment. Individuals are often left feeling frustrated because questions were still left unanswered for what just happened. The first step in coping with panic attacks is educating yourself. This will lead to you gaining some control over your anxiety. Many people often feel that they do not have control and anxiety is controlling their body.

If you are having or someone else is experiencing a panic attack, reassure them panic attacks are brief. They generally last from five to ten minutes even though they feel as though they may last forever. Panic attacks take up a lot of energy in our body so they run out of gas fairly quickly.

If you feel as though a panic attack is coming on, utilize relaxation and breathing techniques. Focusing on your breathing allows more oxygen to flow throughout your body which will make your mind and muscles feel more relaxed. Try to take your mind off things, talk to someone you love or do an activity that will distract you.

After the panic attack has occurred, try to determine what brought on the attack. This will help you prevent future panic attacks from occurring. Many individuals fear a future panic attack may occur. If you can determine what caused your panic attack, you can prevent future episodes. Also, you should develop a toolbox of coping skills to deal with anxiety like breathing techniques, relaxation exercises, journaling etc.

If you are experiencing frequent and intense panic attacks, you may be suffering from Panic Disorder. If so, consult your doctor or psychiatrist.

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