Sudden and extreme fear or anxiety of something unknown can be addressed as a panic attack in medical terms. Most likely, the feeling of dread happens without any warning or cause and can be scary for you and the people around you. Such an episode could occur at any given or unexpected time, even in a deep sleep, which can evolve into an unpleasant experience for all.
Dealing with this illness can be a stressful situation, but you can manage it with a few cautious steps. It involves seeking medical help, slow and deep breathing, recognizing the trigger of the attack, and trying to overcome that. You must also distract yourself from the situation and think positively by remembering life’s happy moments, etc.
Do Deep Breathing Exercises
Breathing deeply, slowly, and intentionally can help you manage your anxiety and develop your personal anxiety-reducing method. Fast breathing is a symptom of this condition. That is why deep and purposeful breathing can help you reduce the fear when you are experiencing it. Paying attention to breathing and taking in a deep breath from your nose and breathing out from your mouth is the proper breathing technique to avoid and prevent the symptoms.
Fast and shallow breathing creates a lack of oxygen in your body for proper functioning, and that is when intentional breathing can help you immensely. When you start concentrating on your breath, you get distracted from the feeling of terror. According to the book 101 Ways to Stop Anxiety, “Where the breath goes, the mind will follow; where the mind goes, the breath will follow.” In this way, breathing exercise allows you to overcome symptoms and stop them from happening.
Identify Your Triggers
Having an episode might feel like a heart attack, which can lead to the fear of dying. Knowing and identifying that the condition is temporary may give you a sense of relief. This identification will allow you to look for ways to reduce your signs of attack and deal with them.
Identifying a trigger can be a tricky task for you. There are a few common triggers, but these can differ from person to person. These triggers can be genetic or environmental. Any past experience, event, or emotion can play a role as a stimulus. Some encounter multiple triggers, whereas others just experience one single trigger in their situation.
Identifying your trigger is crucial when dealing with the condition. Awareness of which stimulus is causing the trigger and the environment it occurs in can prove to be a lifesaver for those suffering from frequent attacks. Below are some common triggers that might cause this condition:
- Serious health problems
- Negative or overthinking
- Over consumption of caffeine or skipping meal
- Some particular medicines
- A social event or public performance
- Financial stress
- Conflict personal emotions
Knowing and understanding your triggers might help you avoid those events or attacks in the long run during your life. Below mentioned are some tips that can help you identify your triggers:
- Self-assessment and awareness: Self-assessment is extremely important when it comes to coping with this condition. Examining the circumstances and discovering which actions, events, or emotional happenings are playing a role as a trigger is crucial to stopping future attacks.
- Writing a journal: Journaling is one of the most powerful techniques to stop a panic attack. So what is journaling? Journaling refers to recording your daily life experiences in a diary/journal and reflecting on them daily. This can help you identify your triggers and prevent them in the future. So, start writing and recording the pattern of your anxiety and what you feel might be the grounds for the trigger.
- Taking professional help: Sometimes, professional guidance can be quite beneficial and practical. Because some triggers might be challenging to determine, and that is when a trained mental health specialist can find the motivation for you by using different therapies.
Focus on One Object
When you feel suffocated due to a sudden episode, focusing on one object can help you deal with the situation. Concentrating on something physically present in the clear sight of your eyes can reduce the symptoms and make you feel better. Complete attention to one object can distract the uncomfortable emotions or thoughts and eventually lessen the effect of the attack.
Let’s understand it in this way: For example, if you can focus on a handy small toy or your hair clip at the time of an episode, try and determine the object’s shape, size, color, unique characteristics, etc. This might help you direct all your energy on that task. This powerful technique can help subside the symptoms.
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Relax Your Muscles
Stressed muscles can signal a panic attack, and muscle-relaxing methods can help you deal with them. The most effective technique for muscle relaxation is Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR), also known as a grounding technique.
To achieve a more effective result of the muscle relaxing technique, you should do it beforehand. The PMR method helps you ground yourself and reduce the signs when done on a regular basis as part of your daily routine. In this technique, the process focuses on relaxing one group of muscles of the body at a time and then moving to other muscle groups.
Here are the steps for muscle relaxing techniques:
- Make yourself comfortable in a sitting or lying position in a quiet place (if possible)
- Squeeze the muscles of the focus area for 10-15 seconds (to increase the tightness and stress in the muscle)
- Notice the tension in the muscle
- Count for 30 seconds, release the tension, and relax completely
- Repeat the same process for all the muscle groups and feel the decline in the symptoms
Try Light Exercise
You can feel detachment from your surroundings when you are experiencing a panic attack, light exercises like swimming, walking, dancing, cycling, or yoga can help you connect with the environment again and put an end to the episode. Exercise won’t cure anxiety or depression, but the physical and psychological benefits can improve the symptoms.
A minimum of 20-30 minutes of exercise for 3 to 5 days a week significantly shows a difference in the pattern of dealing with the condition and reducing the symptom frequency. However, if you do not exercise daily, please consult a doctor before starting it.
Look Into Medication
These episodes can be terrifying, exhausting, and disorienting. If you are suffering from it and are worried about your next attack, then you should seek a doctor’s help and get proper treatment. Prescribed medication is always advised to reduce the symptoms and put an end to a panic attack. Medicine gives you fast relief, which is crucial for the time being to reduce the intensity of the panic attack,
There are two treatment options available to stop the occurrence of an episode: medication and psychotherapy. Depending on the severity of your condition, doctors can prescribe you both or either of them.
Benzodiazepines are an approved medicine for panic attacks by the FDA, and they can give you relief in mere 30 minutes to an hour. Drugs like alprazolam, clonazepam, diazepam, and lorazepam work quickly and are often prescribed for the short-term as anti-anxiety medicine. However, depending on your condition, doctors can give you an antidepressant to continue for an extended period.
Seek Counselling with a Therapist from Docvita
Docvita is an online platform for all your medical needs. At Docvita, we have many renowned and experienced psychiatrists and therapists on our panel of doctors who can help you put an end to the attacks.
With the help of treatment approaches like counseling, talk therapy, and medication, our doctors can help you identify your triggers and reduce them significantly and eventually stop the occurrence of your episodes. All you have to do is visit our page and book your first session today!