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How to Handle Panic Attacks and What You Can do to Help Prevent Them

Panic attacks can occur at any time or place without a definite cause but panic attacks are brought on by great and overwhelming fear and anxiety. Panic attacks can be unpredictable therefore handling them is somewhat difficult.

When a panic attack occurs, the person may become somewhat paralysed, feel disoriented and their physical symptoms include sweating, nausea, a rapid heartbeat and increased breathing rate. They often feel “out of control” and helpless, with an urgent feeling of having to run away but being unable to do so.

They may mistakenly think a certain place or social situation is the cause of it but this is usually just a trigger for an underlying anxiety. The body mistakes this anxiety as a physical and life-threatening situation and responds as such – by trying to get away from the perceived threat. However, the struggle to get out of that particular situation can even further worsen the condition.

Regular panic attacks can be quite disabling as it may prevent someone from participating in social gatherings, being in a lecture theatre or taking a train to work. But this is only if you do not know how to manage and prevent them. Yes! There are ways to prevent such occurrence or lessen the effects.

The first thing that needs to be done is to learn and practise some breathing or relaxation techniques. When a person feels like there might be an attack coming, it is best to maintain a regular breathing pattern. During a panic attack, there is a tendency to hyperventilate and gasp for air.

This is because the body's interpretation and response is exactly as if your very life is being threatened, therefore it is somewhat like a survival instinct. Sometimes breathing several times in and out using a paper bag is advocated to assist with regulating the breath. When you hyperventilate, there is an accumulation of too much oxygen which is bad because you lose the balance between carbon dioxide and oxygen.

Carbon dioxide plays an important role in breathing. It serves as the driving force for you to breathe, a signal that you need to inhale oxygen again. Too much oxygen leads to the decrease in the driving force of breathing, and contributes to a physical form of panic that your body is forgetting to breathe by itself.

Here are other things that could help:

  • Talk to a qualified professional who can assist you in identifying trigger situations and teach techniques to assist you to get through them
  • Practice relaxation techniques regularly
  • Remind yourself that these experiences are only temporary and will pass
  • Remind yourself that it is a false fear and that by calming the body down, the mental fear will dissolve quickly
  • Hypnosis has helped many people, explore if this is for you
  • Regularly discuss with a trusted friend/family member/professional other aspects of your emotional life, finding such an outlet can reduce underlying anxieties
  • As far as possible, avoid unnecessary stress; it may even require turning off the nightly news and current affairs shows as these often have a very fear-provoking tone and the stories are usually things you cannot do anything about
  • Maintain a healthy work, play and rest routine; take a break every once in a while, exercise regularly to be fit and healthy, do activities that make you happy and laugh, eat a proper diet and make sure you are getting enough sleep.
These things could help you manage and cope with panic attacks. Good knowledge of your condition helps a lot in being able to handle, manage and prevent it from worsening. Take the time to understand your attacks, recognise your triggers and early symptoms and you can definitely develop skills and techniques to help manage such attacks.

Many people have overcome this crippling condition completely, and you can too!

relaxation commented on 29-Dec-2015 01:20 AM
Merci beaucoup pour l'ensemble des informations que vous donnez, pas évident mais je comprends beaucoup mieux du coup, merci beaucoup.

Lincoln Lillig commented on 03-Aug-2017 10:41 AM
tell her.|

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