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Panic Attacks – A Guide to Managing Them Better

October 28, 2018

Finding yourself frequently breaking into a nervous sweat when faced with even routine tasks? Experiencing strong accompanying physical symptoms that leave you incapable of functioning normally? Living in fear of when the next panic attack is going to strike?    If the answer to all the above questions is in the affirmative, then read on to learn more about these attacks and how you can tide over them to enjoy a disturbance-free life.

The scariest part of panic attacks is their rapid and intense onset. A galloping heart, disorientation, nausea, excessive perspiration and giddiness are all symptoms that occur while a panic attack ensues, making it easy to mistake it for a heart attack. Sometimes a full-blown panic attack can be so hard-hitting that you may almost feel like you are about to drop dead.

The key to surviving such episodes is to keep reminding yourself that you are not in any danger and that the dreadful feeling is going to fade within a few minutes. In addition to this, the following tips can help you ride out your next panic attack with more ease without having to make a trip to the emergency room.

  1. Regulate Your Breathing – It is very common to feel a tight knot forming in your chest during a panic attack. Very few people, experiencing such a symptom, realize that they are the ones bringing it upon themselves by forgetting to breathe. The most vital thing to remember while dealing with a panic attack is to breathe slowly through your nose so that you avoid hyperventilation. Keeping your eyes shut and counting your breaths may help relax your mind and body and overcome the sinking feeling.

  2. Try Cold Therapy – Reducing your body temperature by placing a cold hand-towel on your neck or by stepping out, in a cooler weather, can help calm you down when feeling overly anxious. Holding an ice cube in your hand is also known to help since it works as a physical distraction that quickly redirects your attention away from the panic attack.

  3. Use Physical Exercise as a Tool – Exercising, while having a panic attack, helps reduce the stress hormone levels and increase the production of endorphins in the body, therefore, toning down its intensity almost instantly. Another significant effect of physical exercise is that it loosens up the body and helps you get rid of the muscular strain that you may feel as a consequence of frequent bouts of panic.

  4. Drink 8 ounces Of Cold Water – Plain cold water can be very beneficial in quelling anxiety. Drinking a glass of cold water as soon as you feel the stirrings of an imminent panic attack can help alleviate the severity of the attack and even avert it entirely.

  5. Talk to Someone Who Can Calm You Down – Speaking to someone who has a calming effect on you is an excellent way to reduce the force of a panic attack. This person could be a close friend, a parent, a sibling or even a co-worker. Besides, a conversation that does not focus on your anxiety triggers can act as a good diversion to help you overcome anxiety.

Note– While a panic attack is not life-threatening by itself, it is crucial to consult a doctor if you have had one for the first time. Diagnostic tests can rule out the possibility of other severe health conditions that also produce similar symptoms. Similarly, a reaction to medications like codeine, ACE inhibitors, and statins can give rise to effects that may imitate acute panic.

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