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How to Help a Panic Attack?

Panic Attack

Many people have panic attacks at some point in their lives. For some, they’re an occasional, one-time experience while others suffer from them repeatedly and frequently. They can occur randomly or with specific triggers, such as being in public places, having to make a presentation, or meeting new people. When you experience your first panic attack, it can be hard to know what’s happening and how to help yourself cope.

Panic Attack

This guide on how to help a panic attack will provide the information you need to take control of your symptoms before they take control of you.

Stay Calm

When you feel a panic attack coming on, the first and most important thing to do is stay calm. It may be difficult, but try to focus on your breathing and relaxing your muscles. If you can, remove yourself from the situation that is causing the panic and find a quiet place to sit or lie down.

Sometimes medicine can help, but many self-help techniques can be effective in stopping a panic attack. If you suffer from panic disorder, it is important to seek professional help so that you can get the treatment you need. Some treatments involve medication and cognitive behavioral therapy, which teaches coping skills for managing fear and anxiety. 

These treatments work by teaching people how to change the way they think about their symptoms of anxiety. Cognitive behavioral therapy has been shown to help people with panic disorder reduce their number of panic attacks significantly over time.

Breathe Deeply, In for Five And Out for Five

Panic attacks can be very frightening and disorienting, but there are things you can do to help yourself or someone else through one. If you feel like you're having a panic attack, the first thing you should do is try to focus on your breathing. Take deep breaths in for a count of five, and then breathe out for a count of five. Repeat this until you start to feel calmer.

Remember that a panic attack is not dangerous, and it will eventually end. You will get through this! You might also find it helpful to remind yourself that there's nothing physically wrong with you and that panic attacks can't hurt you. When they happen, just concentrate on taking deep breaths and counting down from ten while reminding yourself everything is going to be okay.

Focus on Something Else

It can be difficult to focus on anything else during a panic attack, but it is important to try. One way to do this is to focus on your breathing. Try to breathe slowly and deeply, in through your nose and out through your mouth. You might also want to count each breath. Another way to redirect your focus is to think about something else that is calming or distracting, such as a happy memory or your favorite song.

Keep reminding yourself that the attack will eventually pass, even if you don't feel like it's subsiding. Deep breaths, counting to 10 while deep breathing, and counting backward from 100 by 3s are all things that may work for some people.

Distracting yourself with activities like reading a book or listening to music may also help shift your attention away from the attack. If possible, find someone who can hold you tightly while you have an attack; holding tightly helps because hugs increase oxytocin levels which are associated with decreasing anxiety levels.

Breathing Exercises

When you’re in the midst of a panic attack, it can feel like you’re going to die or lose control. But panic attacks are actually a very common type of anxiety disorder that affects millions of people. The good news is that there are things you can do to help ease the symptoms of a panic attack.

One of the most effective techniques is deep breathing exercises. Controlled breathing triggers the body's relaxation response and may have an anti-anxiety effect. It also helps reduce physical signs of anxiety such as rapid heart rate and heavy perspiration. If possible, find a comfortable place where you can sit quietly for 10 minutes and practice this technique: 

  • Sit comfortably with your feet flat on the floor and your hands resting in your lap. 
  • Close your eyes.
  • Take a slow, deep breath through your nose so that your stomach rises; hold it for four seconds.
  • Slowly release the breath through pursed lips so that you make a whoosh sound.
  • Repeat steps three and four times. 
  • Open your eyes. 
  • Try some gentle stretches, like neck rolls and shoulder shrugs.
  • Drink lots of water.
  • Get enough sleep at night and don't overdo it during the day.
  • Practice other types of calming activities (e.g., meditation). 
  • Talk to someone about what's going on for you.
  • Write down how you're feeling and read it back later. 
  • Reach out to friends via social media or phone calls.
  • Have faith that things will get better even if they seem worse now. 
  • Take the medication prescribed by your doctor as directed.

Go Outside

When you feel a panic attack coming on, it's important to try and stay calm. One way to do this is by going outside. Being in nature can help ground you and make you feel more secure. If you can't go outside, try opening a window or door to let fresh air in.

Find something that makes you happy, your favorite toy, a picture of your child, and hold onto it for comfort. Another strategy that might work for some people is breathing deeply and slowly into the diaphragm (belly) instead of the chest. 

You can also try putting your hand over your heart while breathing deeply from the belly; doing so may promote feelings of safety. Lastly, when experiencing a panic attack: know your triggers; anticipate where attacks are likely to happen; remove yourself from the trigger situation as soon as possible, and engage in calming activities like meditation or yoga.

Distract Yourself

When you feel a panic attack coming on, the first thing you should do is try to distract yourself. This can be anything from counting backward from 100 to singing your favorite song. The key is to find something that will take your mind off of whatever is causing your anxiety. If you can do this, you may be able to prevent the attack from happening altogether. But if it does happen, it's important to know what not to do. 

Talk to Someone About it

You may feel like you're going crazy or that you're about to die, but it's important to remember that a panic attack is just a rush of adrenaline. It's your body's way of responding to stress, and it's not dangerous.

However, if you're having frequent or severe attacks, it's important to talk to someone about it. A therapist can help you understand what's triggering your attacks and give you tools to cope with them. 

You may also be prescribed medication to help manage your symptoms. If you are experiencing intense physical discomforts such as chest pain, shortness of breath, or dizziness (often referred to as sensations), go see a doctor immediately. These could be signs of something more serious than a panic attack.

Wait it Out

The first and most important thing to remember is that a panic attack is not dangerous. It may feel very intense and cause you to feel like you're in danger, but you are not. Try to ride it out and wait for the feelings of anxiety and fear to subside. deep breathing, visualization, and positive thinking can all help during a panic attack.

If you're having trouble catching your breath, close your mouth and breathe through your nose. Inhale slowly and deeply, counting to four as you do so. Exhale slowly through pursed lips. Repeat this pattern until you start to feel better.

If your mind starts racing, try to focus on one thing and really think about it intently. You could also try visualizing yourself in a safe place where nothing bad can happen or by focusing on an object such as an image or piece of jewelry. 

A panic attack cannot be cured, but it's possible to take control of its symptoms with these coping strategies. Once the attack has subsided, seek professional help to determine what might have triggered it.

Conclusion

A panic attack can be a very frightening experience. If you or someone you know is having a panic attack, there are some things that you can do to help.

  • First, try to stay calm. This can be difficult, but it will help the person who is having the attack feel less panicked if they see that you are calm.
  • Second, try to get the person who is having the attack to breathe slowly and deeply. This will help them to relax and feel less panicked.
  • Third, try to get the person who is having the attack to focus on something else, such as a positive memory or something that they are looking forward to in the future. This will help them to distract themselves from the panic and focus on something positive.

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