How To Stop Panic Attacks? 13 Effective Ways To Regain Control

How To Stop Panic Attacks? 13 Effective Ways To Regain Control
By: Blurt It Out Posted On: September 13, 2023 View: 88

In our constant pursuit of balance in the fast-paced world we live in today, anxiety and sleep deprivation often pose significant obstacles. Many individuals find themselves grappling with persistent negative thoughts, trapped in an unrelenting cycle of unease and sleeplessness. However, there is hope, as potential solutions may be closer than you think.

Embarking on this enlightening journey, we will delve into three transformative concepts that could unlock the path to your well-being. We’ll delve into the potentially calming world of the best CBD oil for anxiety, unlock strategies on how to stop negative thoughts and guide you through the science-backed techniques behind how to fall asleep fast.

How To Stop Panic Attacks?

  • Psychotherapy
  • Medication
  • Conscious breathing
  • Acknowledgment of panic attacks
  • Visual isolation
  • Adopting mindfulness
  • Designated focus object
  • Muscle relaxation practices
  • Guided imagery
  • Mild physical activity
  • Herbal remedies
  • Repetition of soothing mantras

13 Ways To Stop Panic Attacks

Light exercise such as leisurely walks, swimming, or yoga can help with anxiety balance and managing panic attacks. Photo: Shutterstock

Each of these strategies mentioned below offers potential relief, but their effectiveness will vary depending on individual differences. Combining methods tailored to the person’s needs and comfort level often yields the most successful results in managing panic attacks.

Psychotherapy

Embracing counseling services, particularly Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)[1], as the preferred method, can be a powerful ally for individuals grappling with panic disorder or experiencing panic attacks. CBT, focusing on altering one’s perspective towards challenging situations, equips individuals with innovative strategies for confronting these issues effectively.

Medication

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)[2] are considered the recommended initial pharmacotherapy for panic disorder. These medications, such as Lexapro or other SSRIs, are often used to treat depression and anxiety disorders alongside cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Additionally, benzodiazepines[3] like Xanax, SNRIs like Cymbalta, and specific anti-seizure medications can be utilized to alleviate symptoms and prevent future panic attacks. It’s important to note that the use of these medications should only be undertaken under the guidance and recommendation of a healthcare professional. Once symptom control is achieved, it is generally advised to continue effective medications for panic disorder for at least one year.

Conscious Breathing

Counteracting the rapid, shallow breathing characteristic of panic disorders can be achieved through mindful, deep-breathing exercises. By regulating your breath and focusing on the rhythm, you can regain a sense of calm and control.

Acknowledgment Of Panic Attacks

Recognizing the physical symptoms of panic attacks is a pivotal step in managing the symptoms. By distinguishing between a panic attack and other severe conditions like heart attacks, you can remind yourself that the symptoms are temporary and manageable.

Visual Isolation

During overwhelming stimulation that can trigger a panic attack, closing your eyes can help reduce sensory overload. In addition, this method can aid in shifting focus to your breathing and calming the mind.

Adopting Mindfulness

Additionally, mindfulness exercises can anchor during panic attacks, often creating a sense of detachment from reality. Mindfulness, by focusing on the present moment and acknowledging your emotional state, can restore a connection to reality.

Designated Focus Object

Choosing a single object to concentrate on during a panic attack can be a potent distraction. Observing this object closely and describing its characteristics can redirect your mind from panic symptoms.

Muscle Relaxation Practices

Techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation, which involves systematically relaxing each muscle group in your body, can reduce physical tension and promote a sense of tranquility during panic episodes.

Guided Imagery

Visualizing yourself in a serene, stress-free location can be a soothing practice during a panic attack. Ideally, This visualization should be of a place that evokes peace and relaxation.

Mild Physical Activity

Regular, light exercise such as leisurely walks, swimming, or yoga can be advantageous in maintaining a healthy anxiety balance and managing panic attacks.

Herbal Remedies

Traditional herbs like lavender, celebrated for their soothing properties, can be used as a natural remedy to reduce anxiety and induce relaxation. However, use lavender products responsibly, as the strength and ingredients may vary.

Repetition Of Soothing Mantras

Selecting a reassuring phrase or mantra and mentally repeating it during a panic attack can provide a sense of calm and stability, helping to navigate the anxiety.

What Are Panic Attacks?

how to stop panic attacks
Panic attacks can be profoundly distressing for the individual involved. Photo: Shutterstock

A panic attack is an intense and sudden episode characterized by overwhelming fear, panic, or anxiety. It emerges abruptly, causing a surge of extreme apprehension or terror that gives rise to a wide range of physical and emotional symptoms. The experience can be profoundly distressing for the individual involved. It can last for several minutes to an hour.

During a panic attack, individuals often struggle with various symptoms related to their breathing, such as shortness of breath or hyperventilation. They may also experience excessive sweating, trembling, and a rapid heart rate, which can be perceived as a pounding sensation in the chest.

Furthermore, a panic attack can induce chest pain and a sense of detachment from reality or oneself. This disconnection can be so intense that some individuals mistakenly interpret it as a heart attack or stroke, intensifying their anxiety levels even further during the episode.

The nature of these symptoms can exacerbate the individual’s anxiety, heightening their sense of alarm and leading to confusion during the attack. It is important to recognize that panic attacks can manifest in a variety of psychiatric and medical disorders, adding to the complexity of understanding and managing this condition.

Causes Of Panic Attacks

Panic attacks, characterized by sudden, intense surges of fear or anxiety, can arise from many sources, sometimes without any visible instigation. Certain psychological and physical conditions and specific external circumstances can heighten the likelihood of experiencing such episodes.

Individuals diagnosed with panic or other anxiety disorders are more predisposed to experiencing panic attacks. These mental health conditions create a heightened sensitivity to stress and fear, often triggering the intense reactions that characterize a panic attack.

In addition, substance use disorders and the consumption of certain substances can instigate panic attacks. This can be due to the substances inducing a physiological response or the psychological stress of substance use.

Panic disorder often overlaps with and is difficult to differentiate from other psychiatric disorders, and careful consideration of symptom onset, temporal profile, and associated symptoms is necessary for accurate diagnosis.

Common psychiatric disorders comorbid with panic disorder include mood disorders, generalized anxiety disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, somatic symptom disorder, illness anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, alcohol and substance use disorder, and agoraphobia.

Panic disorder is also associated with various medical conditions such as asthma, cardiovascular disease, irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, cancer, hypertension, vestibular dysfunction, thyroid dysfunction, interstitial cystitis, migraine headache, peptic ulcer disease, and chronic pain.

Certain medications, specifically those that may affect the brain’s neurotransmitters or induce a heightened state of arousal, can also be a precipitating factor. Therefore, it is always advisable to consult healthcare professionals about potential side effects when starting a new medication.

An overactive thyroid[4], for instance, can lead to symptoms like rapid heart rate and excessive sweating, which can mimic and consequently trigger a panic attack.

Psychosis-related conditions can also precipitate panic attacks, given the intense fear and confusion often associated with them.

Furthermore, situations that bring back memories of past traumas or current stressors in one’s life can act as triggers.

Symptoms Of Panic Attacks

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders[5], Fifth Edition (DSM-5), a panic attack is “an abrupt surge of intense fear or discomfort.” Also, a panic attack is classified as a symptom rather than a standalone diagnosable mental disorder.  These episodes often initiate unexpectedly and reach their peak intensity within a few minutes.

According to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic[6] and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, during a panic attack, individuals may experience at least four of the following symptoms:

  • Racing or pounding heart
  • Excessive sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Shortness of breath or feeling like they can’t breathe
  • Feeling choked or a sensation of a lump in the throat
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Nausea or stomach discomfort
  • Dizziness, feeling unsteady, or light-headedness
  • Sensation of chills or heat
  • Numbness or tingling sensations
  • Feeling detached from reality or oneself
  • Fear of losing control or going crazy
  • Fear of dying

This surreal feeling can even extend to a sense of self-detachment, wherein you might feel estranged from yourself.

How To Prevent Panic Attacks?

Breathe easy

First, make deep breathing a part of your everyday routine. You see, breathing can become quick and shallow during a panic attack, but you’re better prepared to handle these situations by regularly practicing controlled breathing exercises.

Move it to lose it

Getting your heart rate up with regular exercise can also do wonders. Not only does physical activity give you a natural endorphin boost, but it can also help your body better cope with stress, which could reduce the chances of panic attacks.

Eating right

Now, onto your plate. A balanced diet, low in added sugars, can keep your blood sugar levels steady, helping you avoid spikes and crashes that might kickstart feelings of anxiety or even a panic attack.

Avoiding the jitters

Let’s discuss caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol. While that morning coffee, cigarette, or glass of wine might seem soothing, these substances can heighten your anxiety levels, making panic attacks more likely. So, cutting back on them might be beneficial.

Lean on a professional

If panic attacks persist, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Therapists or counselors trained in anxiety disorders can teach you practical strategies to manage and prevent panic attacks. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has been particularly effective for many folks.

Find your tribe

You’re not alone in this. Reach out to local support groups or online communities. There’s a whole network of people out there who understand what you’re going through and can offer advice or sometimes just a listening ear.

Conclusion

In our pursuit of balance in today’s fast-paced world, anxiety and sleep deprivation present significant challenges. However, there is hope. By exploring transformative concepts and implementing effective strategies, we can unlock well-being.

Understanding panic attacks is crucial. They involve intense fear or anxiety, accompanied by distressing physical and psychological symptoms. Causes include mental health conditions, substance use, external circumstances, and certain medications.

Strategies to manage and prevent panic attacks include psychotherapy, such as CBT, and medications like SSRIs, benzodiazepines, SNRIs, and anti-seizure drugs. Techniques like conscious breathing, mindfulness, and guided imagery can provide relief. Seeking professional help and support from others is essential.

Frequently Asked Questions

What exactly is a panic attack?

Imagine an abrupt wave of intense fear washing over you, often marked by a rapid heartbeat, heavy sweating, a choking sensation, and a general feeling of dread. That’s a panic attack for you. It often appears without any specific trigger.

Why do panic attacks occur?

Pinpointing an exact cause is tricky, but it can be linked to genetics, a period of high stress, certain brain function changes, or a past filled with childhood abuse. Also, individuals with certain mental health conditions are more susceptible.

What do I experience during a panic attack?

During a panic attack, you might feel your heart racing, a shaking sensation, breathlessness, discomfort in your chest, intense feelings of fear, and a sense of disconnection from reality. Typically, these symptoms peak within 10 minutes and then gradually wane.

How can I handle a panic attack when it hits?

Employing deep breathing, practicing mindfulness exercises, and using muscle relaxation techniques can offer relief during a panic attack. Recognizing that you’re in the midst of a panic attack can also assist in managing the situation.

Is there a way to prevent panic attacks?

Although completely preventing all panic attacks might not be feasible, you can certainly reduce their frequency and intensity through measures such as regular exercise, maintaining a balanced diet, managing stress, and undergoing therapy.

Can I take medication for panic attacks?

Medications like benzodiazepines can provide short-term relief during a panic attack. For long-term treatment, antidepressants or antianxiety drugs may be prescribed. However, it’s important to always consult a mental health professional.

Does therapy work for panic attacks?

Yes, without a doubt. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is particularly effective for treating panic attacks and panic disorder. It assists in altering the way you perceive and react to panic triggers.

Should I seek professional help for managing panic attacks?

Absolutely. If panic attacks affect your day-to-day life, it’s crucial to seek help from mental health professionals. They can provide treatments designed for you and equip you with coping strategies.

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