You must have heard of panic attacks but not everything about it. So, what is a panic attack and how to stop a panic attack? This is something this article will be explaining you clearly today. Read on
What Is A Panic Attack?
Panic attacks are unexpected rush of extreme fear without any threat. It occurs at any point of time without any reason. Sometimes it comes without any warning. A panic attack can be extremely frightening and when it hits a person, he or she loses control on everything. It is common for people to have few panic attacks (say 2 or 3) in their whole lifetime. It usually comes when there is a stressful or scary situation in one’s life. And when the associated problem goes off, the sufferer soon recovers but if someone repeatedly gets sudden panic attacks for no reason or he/she spends most of the time in fear then it is very clear that the person is suffering a “panic disorder”. If you know someone, who suffers panic attacks often, don’t take it lightly because it can even lead to major issues. Right treatment at the right time is always good.
Symptoms Of A Panic Attack
If you, any of your family members or friend suffer a panic attack, the following signs are observed.
- Extremely scared
- Irregular heartbeats
- Shortness in breath
- Tingling sensations
- A Feel as if someone is choking
- Chest pain
- Feeling sick
- Tummy cramps
- Body becomes unsteady
- Feels giddy
- Going crazy
- Excess sweating
How Long Does A Panic Attack Last?
This is a frequently asked question. So, how long do they last? A panic attack usually lasts for 5 to 20 minutes. They don’t cause any physical harm and they aren’t very dangerous too.
What Actually Causes A Panic Disorder?
Health experts say that panic disorders run in families. They are from genes. However, it is still a mystery as to why people get them. Therefore, the cause is unknown.
How To Stop A Panic Attack?
Panic disorders can attack any individual irrespective of age and race. Hence, you will have to be aware how to stop panic attacks. You need to realize that the entire fears are right inside the head and nowhere else. These tricks can really help you calm down. Make sure that you practice them often to stop the next time.
1. Accept It
The initial move on how to stop a panic attack is to accept it (the moment you realize) rather than fighting for it immediately. Yes, I know that this might sound odd to you. It might even seem that I am going against the rational thoughts but accepting what you have will heal you in a big way. Just lie down on your couch or bed. Feel that panic and anxiety flowing throughout your body. Experience this completely, write it down in your head that it is right there, and accept this fact. Trust me, even I have been going through panic attacks since some days and I let my body to completely feel it. I accept whatever is happening – the heart pounding, trembling, scaring without reason, dizzy and sweating. I know it is truly hard to do this but if you are serious to get rid of it, this is the first step you are going to take. Though it makes you very uncomfortable but soon you will realize that it fades and you feel little relieved after some time. Since they are not going to last long, you don’t have to worry.
2. Take Deep Breaths
The one great trick that works in stopping a panic attack is by breathing deeply. This eases the sufferer to the core and makes sure he or she calms down instantly (at least little). In fact, you can end the panic attacks before it even begins. The moment you realize that you are going to get one, try relaxing your muscles of your upper body (arms, face and so on) and then try the same with lower part of the body. Relax every muscle in your body.
3. Distract Yourself
Believe it or not but this trick truly works. I have personally tried this and this is the reason why I am writing this down to make you aware. Distract your mind rather than thinking and feeling the panic attacks. Do something odd. Say for example have an ice cube in your mouth for a while, count 100 to 1 (backwards), drink some water, listen to soft music, involve in a hobby, pinch yourself or tie an elastic rubber band in your wrist & gently snap it onto your arms. Do something to divert your mind. Trust me this will take your mind’s attention away.
4. Step Out
The best way to stop panic attacks by stepping out and having some fun. You need to turn away from something that stresses you. It can be for hours, days or weeks. For example, if a holiday makes you relax then don’t hesitate to freak out. Doing something that you love allows your body to rejuvenate. You feel less worried and be much happier.
5. Sleep Tight
A good night sleep is something you need to have. This improves the process of overcoming panic attacks. On an average, a human requires 8 hours of proper sleep per night but for people with panic disorders need a 30 to 40 minutes extra. The additional sound sleep helps in clearing the worries, which one is literally going through. This is why it is well said – the perfect cure for any tension is “sleep”.
6. Don’t Run! Fight It
Don’t give up so easily. You have to face and even fight against it. Tell your brain that this is normal and just like any other human — even you have it. There is no wrong about it. Make yourself realize that there is nothing to be scared of. Inducing such warm thoughts will motivate you do get rid of panic attacks soon.
7. Talk To Your Beloved
Yet another great way of stopping a panic attack is by talking to your dear ones. You can consider calling your best friend or any of your family members while going through one. Make your dear ones aware that you have such a thing and ask them to help you during this stressful event. All they have to do is involve you in talking and try to divert you for the better.
8. Fears Are Only Illusions – Don’t Let Panic Attacks Rule You
Since panic attacks are followed by sudden fear for no reason, you need to make your brain train or understand that there isn’t anything serious about it. It normally happens and you are no exception either. The fear that emerges every time you experience a panic attack is actually the consequence of some substance emissions inside the brain. All those accompanying fears sometimes make you faint and mad. Don’t let the panic rule you. If you feel that you are about to lose your entire control during an attack or probably die of it – this doesn’t mean that it will happen. It is just your illusion, which is making you to expand your fears further. None has died of panic attacks or gone mad.
9. Focus On A Healthy Diet
Your wellness is with what you eat. A right meal at the right time can keep your body as well as brain healthy. Food actually determines one’s body condition. Eliminate junks, oily, fried and fatty foods. Instead, opt for boiled, fresh, steamed, raw and natural foods.
10. Set Up A Workout Session
A healthy workout session keeps you going on a longer run. Therefore, make it a habit to exercise every morning for at least 30 to 45 minutes. This relieves all your stress and keeps you active the entire day. You would be able to concentrate on your activities better and even perform great.
11. Stay Away From Bad Habits
Even you are aware of the fact as to how deadly certain bad habits are. This includes smoking, drugs and alcohol. These can worsen the panic condition extremely. On the other hand, it spoils your healthy organs too. According to studies, it has been claimed that alcohol can strongly aggravate panic attacks. So, if you are still thinking that drinking alcohol can lessen the panic condition then you are completely wrong. Think twice before taking this dangerous move.
12. Do Yoga
After researching for a while on panic attacks, I have seen people advising the sufferers to involve in a sport they love but the fact is that it doesn’t helps. For some, this trick might work but for some it may not. The reason behind this is that every human is unique and so are the condition levels. While playing a sport, a body naturally gets excited. Now, the more you are excited – the more is the adrenalin rush. You need something to calm your brain as well as body. There can be nothing better than practicing yoga.
When Should You Seek A Medical Help?
As said earlier, panic attacks are very normal in a human’s life but getting them often is a sign that one is suffering from Panic Disorder. Even though panic attacks make you feel as if you are literally going to die but in real, they are harmless. It lasts for only few minutes and goes off soon. This is when the sufferer calms down.
On the other hand, the condition may get severe. Such are the times when one requires a medical help. Meet a doctor when:
- The panic attack still continues even after breathing deeply for 20 minutes
- You have irregular or faster heartbeats for a longer time
- You experience chest pain often
- You are unsteady most of the time
How Does A Doctor Treat A Panic Attack?
In case, your panic condition worsens, seeking a medical help is the best choice. You will have to talk to your doctor first. You will have to clearly explain what is going through you and what exactly happens to you during the panic attack. Once the doctor understands this, he or she will examine to make sure if any other problem is causing the panic attack to emerge.
Panic disorders are treated generally with medications, psychotherapy or sometimes both.
Doctors can prescribe few medications in order to ease the condition or relax you down. The most common medications prescribed by doctors for panic attacks include antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications. They are very powerful and are of various types too. Hence, they shouldn’t be taken for a long time. On the other hand, these medications have some side effects too. It can cause sleeping problems, nausea, vomit and headache in later life.
There is something called CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), which is a kind of psychotherapy that helps in treating panic conditions. Few might get well with CBT whereas few do better on medications. This varies from one person’s condition to the other. This can be only determined after a doctor examines the patient thoroughly.