Panic attacks are brief bursts of extreme dread, panic, or anxiety. They are overpowering, with both physical and emotional sensations.
Many people who suffer from panic attacks have trouble breathing, sweat heavily, shake, and feel their hearts beating.
During a panic attack, some people may suffer chest discomfort and a sense of disconnection from reality or themselves, leading them to believe they are experiencing a heart attack. Others have said they feel like they’re suffering a stroke.
Panic attacks may be frightening and come on suddenly. Here are 11 methods to attempt to halt a panic attack while you’re having one or suspect one is on its way:
1. Use Deep Breathing
While hyperventilating is a sign of panic attacks that can heighten terror, deep breathing can alleviate panic symptoms during an attack.
If you can regulate your breathing, you’ll be less likely to have hyperventilation, which can exacerbate other symptoms and the panic attack itself.
Concentrate on taking deep breathes in and out through your mouth, feeling the air gently fill and then leave your chest and abdomen. Breathe in for four counts, hold for a second, and then exhale for four counts: breathe in and breathe out.
2. Recognise That You’re Having A Panic Attack
Recognising that you’re having a panic attack rather than a heart attack allows you to convince yourself that this is only temporary, that it will pass, and that you’re OK.
Remove the worry that you are dying or that you are about to die, both of which are indicators of a panic attack. This might free up your time to concentrate on other methods of symptom relief.
3. Close Your Eyes
Some panic episodes are brought on by stimuli that overwhelm you. If you’re in a high-stress situation with a lot of stimulation, this might exacerbate your panic attack.
Close your eyes during a panic episode to limit the amount of stimulation. This might help to filter out any distracting inputs and allow you to concentrate on your breathing.
4. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness can help you stay grounded in the reality of your surroundings. Because panic attacks can induce a sense of detachment or separation from reality, this might help you battle your panic attack as it approaches or occurs.
Concentrate on familiar bodily sensations, such as sinking your feet into the ground or feeling the texture of your pants on your palms. These distinct feelings anchor you to reality and provide you with something objective to focus on.
5. Find A Focus Object
During a panic attack, some people find it useful to focus all of their attention on a single item. Choose one object in plain sight and take careful note of all you can about it.
For example, you may notice that the clock hand twitches when it ticks and is somewhat uneven. Describe the object’s patterns, colour, forms, and size to yourself. Concentrate all of your energy on this thing, and your panic feelings could go away.
6. Use Muscle Relaxation Techniques
Muscle relaxation techniques, including deep breathing, can help halt a panic attack in its tracks by regulating your body’s response as much as possible.
Relax one muscle at the moment, beginning with something basic like your fingers in your hand and working your way up through your body.
Muscle relaxation techniques are most effective when practised beforehand.
7. Picture Your Happy Place
What is the most soothing spot in the world that comes to mind? A sun-kissed beach with gently crashing waves? A cottage in the woods?
Imagine yourself there, and try to pay attention to the details as much as possible. Consider sinking your toes into warm sand or inhaling the crisp aroma of pine trees.
This area should be peaceful, tranquil, and soothing – no New York or Hong Kong streets, no matter how much you adore the cities in person.
8. Engage In Light Exercise
Endorphins keep the blood flowing straight immediately. It can help our body produce endorphins, which improves our mood. Because you’re stressed, choose a mild activity that’s easy on your body, such as walking or swimming.
The only exception is if you are hyperventilating or having difficulty breathing. First, do all you can to catch your breath.
9. Keep Lavender On Hand
Lavender is well-known for its calming and stress-relieving properties. It might assist your body in relaxing. If you know you’re prone to panic attacks, keep some lavender essential oil available and apply it to your forearms when you have one. Inhale the fragrance.
You may also try lavender or chamomile tea. Both are peaceful and calming.
Benzodiazepines and lavender should not be mixed. This combination might result in extreme sleepiness.
10. Repeat A Mantra Internally
Internally repeating a mantra may be calming and reassuring, and it can provide you with something to hold onto during a panic attack.
Whether it’s as simple as “This too shall pass,” or a mantra that speaks to you personally, repeat it in your brain until the panic attack subsides.
11. Take Benzodiazepines
If you take benzodiazepines as soon as you notice a panic attack coming on, it may help treat it.
While alternative ways to the treatment of panic may be preferable, the profession of psychiatry has recognised that a small number of people may not react fully (or at all in certain circumstances) to the other approaches described above and will thus be dependent on pharmaceutical approaches to therapy.
Benzodiazepines, some of which have FDA clearance for the treatment of this disease, such as alprazolam, are frequently used in these techniques (Xanax).
Because benzodiazepines are a prescription medicine, you’ll almost certainly require a panic disorder diagnosis to obtain the medication.
This medicine has the potential to be very addictive, and the body can adapt to it over time. It should only be used sparingly and in severe circumstances.