Research has found that almost everyone will experience a panic attack (also known as an anxiety attack) at least once in their life. Anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental illnesses in the U.S., affecting over 40 million people. There are different variations of anxiety disorders, such as general anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), to name a few. While there is no way to cure anxiety completely there are ways to manage and treat anxiety/panic attacks effectively.
A panic attack can be terrifying and it will often happen when a person is under a lot of stress. When an attack happens, a person can experience a combination of symptoms. These can include shortness of breath, muscle spasms, nausea, and sometimes feeling as if you are in great danger and must escape, some people may even think they are having a heart attack.
Anxiety attacks are not only physically, and mentally challenging, they are also emotionally exhausting. When having an attack your body begins to release stress hormones which rush into the body inducing a panic attack and making it seem worse. You have to focus on how to ease your mind to help reduce the likelihood of a panic attack taking place and live a healthy and happy life without the fear and worry.
The first step to managing an anxiety attack is to know why they happen. Finding out the source will help you learn what brings it up, make you aware of what fears you have, and help break the cycle. Sometimes this is something you know and can figure out on your own. More often than not it can be helpful to speak to a professional. They can help you pinpoint exactly why you are having these attacks and help you come up with solutions to keep your mind at ease.
This can be one of the best techniques to gain control over an anxiety disorder but there is no guarantee you will never have an attack again. So if you do some tips to remember are:
When having a panic attack, you begin to breathe quickly which in turn increases your heart rate. Stop and take a slow deep breath while counting to five to help ease your body. Continue to take deep breaths until you feel your panic attack fading.
It is easy to start to focus on the things that are going wrong and the negativity around us. Stop and think positive thoughts in order to help calm yourself. You can write positive thoughts or aspirations down so that your brain focuses on positivity.
Distracting yourself can help prevent anxious thinking and reduce symptoms of a panic attack. You can start counting, call a friend, play a game, organize something, work on a project, and so on to distract yourself. Sometimes sensory distractions work such as strong tastes, cold ice water, sense of touch and so on are more distracting from the active stress response.
Relax Your Muscles
Find a comfortable place and sit or lie down when a panic attack begins. This will offset the stress response because your body can not go into both stress mode and relax mode. The more relaxed, the faster your body gets rid of stress hormones.
Many people that have anxiety disorders do not seek treatment, which can only worsen symptoms. It is important to get a hold of a panic attack before it even begins. Practice these techniques and find what works for you in order to live a more stress free life. If things are too extreme, seek help from a therapist or your doctor for medication.