What is a panic attack and 10 ways to get through it

What is a panic attack?

A sudden surge of anxiety followed by fear and threat is characterized as a panic attack. If you have experienced it, you aren’t alone. People around the world can face panic attacks once in life or they can reoccur and can cause panic disorder and agoraphobia. So, it’s important to know what actually a panic attack is and how you can control and finally cure it. Yes, it’s all possible if you undergo the right treatment and self-help.

Who is susceptible to a panic attack? 

A Panic attack can happen to anyone and anywhere. It can happen without an obvious cause. Panics generally run in families. A Panic attack can also happen to one who experiences extreme stress (death of a loved one) or change in their life (marriage, career, degree etc.). Panic attacks can also happen due to any medical condition such as mitral valve prolapse (a valve of a heart does not close completely), hypoglycemia (high blood sugar), and hypothyroidism (overactive thyroid gland).
It is important to rule out the medical conditions during the diagnosis.

Symptoms of a panic attack

A Panic attack can cause the following symptoms: 

  • Pounding heart with a racing heartbeat
  • Hyperventilation or shortness of breath
  • Feeling of having a heart attack.
  • Feeling threatened
  • Feeling extreme anxiety
  • Trembling or one can even faint
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Numbness
  • Feeling chocked
  • Fear of death

If panic attacks are reoccurring and you are withdrawing yourself from society, your behavior changes and you find it difficult to accomplish daily life challenges due to the fear of getting panic attack again then you might be suffering from a panic disorder which also leads to agoraphobia (fear of facing public). 

10 ways to control and cure your panic attack:

So, here we are. Familiar with what panic attack is and it’s symptoms. Now let’s look at how to stop a panic attack. You can completely come over your panic attacks and can lead a totally normal life. 

Practice deep breathing:

As during a panic attack, you feel breathlessness or shortness of breath, you need to learn deep breathing. As soon as you realize that you are having a panic attack or panic attack is going to happen, start deep breathing. Inhale air from your mouth and hold it for some time in your lungs. Then exhale forcefully and completely, again from your mouth. This deep breathing can help you calm down a great deal.

You need to learn it with patience and consistency. Once you know how to breathe calmly during a panic attack, you will help yourself to prevent in from happening or worsening.

Know your panic attack better:

It is important to realize that what happens is a panic attack. It’s not a heart attack or any other type of fatal illness. Once you know it then you can easily come over it with time and patience. 

You need to know your symptoms and the causes of a panic attack. This realization is important to step towards a cure. Get more knowledge from your doctor, internet (the reliable sites), and discuss with your loved ones. It is very important to take your loved ones in confidence and get their help whenever needed.

Avoid some foods:

Avoid taking caffeine and alcohol. Both can increase your panic attack duration or can cause it. Caffeine and alcohol can make the situation worse. So, it is important to quit them.

In addition, quit smoking as well. It can also worsen the situation. 

Exercise can help you a lot:

Try light exercise daily. Try yoga and strength training. Walk for half an hour a day will really help you. Be consistent and follow your exercise routine daily. It helps to calm you down and lessen the symptoms of anxiety (a factor which leads to a panic attack)

Lavender is your friend:

Lavender is known to be stress relieving and relaxing. If you know that you are prone to panic attacks, keep some lavender essential oil with you. When a panic attack happens, just start rubbing lavender essential oil on your forearms. Smell it with closed eyes and try to concentrate on its fragrance rather than the surroundings.

You can also try lavender tea to help you calm down. But, if you are taking benzodiazepines, then do not take lavender tea as it can cause intense drowsiness which can be fatal.

Meditation:

Practice mindfulness meditation to cure panic attack. Close your eyes and feel the ground. This will help you to remain in the present and reality. This meditation especially helps when you feel like you are not in the present while having a panic attack. Feel yourself and try deep breathing along with meditation.

Divert yourself:

So if you are having a panic attack and you feel uncomfortable in the current situation and feel like this situation has brought your panic attack, then try diverting yourself. Think of the favorite scenario you want to be in. try thinking about that scene and look into the small details with eyes closed.

Muscle relaxation technique:

Just like deep breathing, another technique to calm yourself is muscle relaxation. Just sit straight and start relaxing one muscle at a time. Eventually, relax your whole body. This will help you get out of your panic attack faster. 

Cognitive-behavioral therapy and exposure therapy:

If you are feeling like the above ways are not helping then go for therapy. Your psychologist will help you practice CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and exposure therapy. They will help you face the world with confidence, will help you eliminate the fear and threat and allow you to live a normal, happy life.

Medications:

In severe cases i.e. when you are experiencing reoccurrence then you need medications. Just go to the psychiatrist and follow the prescription strictly. Do not overdose or leave the medications yourself. Trust your doctor and follow his directions. 

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