Panic Attacks are more intense anxiety reactions that have escalated within about 10 minutes although occasionally a panic attack can last for an hour or more. Panic Attacks include experiences of sweating, chills/ hot flushes, pounding heart, rapid breathing, and shortness of breath or breathing difficulties, weakness or dizziness; pain or discomfort in chest or abdomen, nausea or feeling detached from yourself or the reality around you.
You may believe that you are having a heart attack and may present at a hospital emergency department. You may feel a sense of terror or loss of control or believe that you are going crazy or are going to die. Because of the intensity of the physical symptoms people often feel exhausted afterwards.
You don’t have to endure all this Fear!
It is quite different from more usual experiences where we feel panic, like missing the last bus home. Again, like anxiety, the best medicine or cure is counselling. Phone or email me now to arrange an appointment.
What can help?
There are strategies you can use to manage and control panic attack symptoms. It’s up to you to find out what works. A doctor, counsellor or other mental health worker can quickly and easily help you plan strategies to beat panic attacks. Some common things that can help are:
- exercise – this gets rid of hormones like adrenaline
- relaxation techniques
- cutting back on alcohol, cigarettes and drugs
- distracting yourself with mental activities like counting
- slow breathing
- improving your self talk – notice it, talk yourself through it,
- and challenge the negative thoughts you have about it
Want more Information?
Check out Victorian Health’s Info Sheet
How to cope with panic attacks
- Breathe into a paper bag. Inhaling your exhaled carbon dioxide can quickly balance your blood gases and ease symptoms.
- If you don’t have a paper bag, hold your breath for the count of 10, then take slow and deep breaths using your abdomen rather than your chest.
- Or read something funny….. like squirrel here~! Seriously, humour is a wonderful therapy 🙂
- Avoid “self-talk” that focuses your attention on your symptoms – don’t tell yourself to “stop panicking” or “relax”.
- Remind yourself that the symptoms of a panic attack are uncomfortable, but not life threatening. Reassure yourself that you’ve felt these feelings before and nothing bad happened to you.
- Focus your attention on something outside your own body and symptoms. For example, distract yourself by counting backwards in threes from 100, recall the words from a favourite song or concentrate on the sights and sounds around you.
- Fleeing from the situation will only reinforce the perception that your panic attacks are unbearable. If you sit and allow the symptoms to pass, you will gain confidence in your ability to cope.
Source: Victorian Governments Better Health Channel website.