When life feels like it’s just one panic attack after another, it’s hard to keep your head above water. You may feel like you’re stuck in a never-ending cycle with no way out. But there are ways to cope with panic attacks and start getting your life back on track. In this blog post, we’ll discuss three of them.
Keep reading to learn more!
What is a Panic Attack?
A panic attack is a sudden episode of intense fear or anxiety that triggers physical and psychological symptoms. These symptoms can include a racing heart, shortness of breath, dizziness, chest pain, and nausea. A panic attack can last for a few minutes or longer, and it can happen at any time, even during sleep.
DSM-IV- defines Panic Disorder as;
An intense period of fear may be accompanied by three or more of the following symptoms appearing suddenly within the span of ten minutes or less.
- An accelerated heart rate, palpitations, or a feeling of pounding in the heart
- Excessive sweating
- Shaking or trembling
- Suffocation or feeling short of breath
- It feels as if you are choked
- Loss of control or a feeling of being out of control
- Death phobia
- Symptoms of paresthesia (tingling and numbness)
- Hot flushes or chills.
- Feelings of discomfort or pain in the chest
- Irritable bowel syndrome or nausea
- A feeling of dizziness, unsteadiness, lightheadedness, or faintness
- Being detached from oneself (depersonalization) or unreality (derealization)
While panic attacks are not life-threatening, they can be very frightening and may lead to avoidance behaviours that can interfere with your daily life. There are three main ways to cope with panic attacks: relaxation techniques, cognitive-behavioural therapy, and medication.
3 Ways to Cope with Panic Attacks
Below mentioned are some ways to cope with panic attacks.
One way to cope with panic attacks is to practice relaxation techniques. Relaxation techniques can help you reduce the physical symptoms of anxiety and stress. There are many different relaxation techniques that can be effective in coping with panic attacks. Some popular methods include progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing, and visualization.
Progressive muscle relaxation involves slowly tensing and relaxing each muscle group in the body, starting with the toes and moving up to the head. This can help to release tension and calm the mind.
Deep breathing is another simple but effective relaxation technique. Simply take slow, deep breaths in through the nose, filling up the lungs. Then exhale slowly through the mouth. This can help to slow down a racing heart and ease anxiety.
Visualization is another helpful tool for managing panic attacks. This involves picturing a peaceful scene in your mind, such as a quiet meadow or a calm beach. Picturing yourself in this peaceful setting can help to ease anxiety and bring about a sense of calm.
These are just a few of the many different relaxation techniques that can be used to cope with panic attacks. Experiment with different methods to see what works best for you.
Cognitive-behavioural Therapy for panic attacks
Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that can help you manage your anxiety and fear. CBT can be used to help you understand your thoughts and how they affect your feelings and behaviour. It can also help you learn new skills to cope with your anxiety.
If you have panic attacks, CBT can help you learn how to control them. CBT for panic disorder usually includes exposure therapy, which helps you face your fears and ease your anxiety. Behavioural experiments, psychoeducation on panic, dropping safety behaviours and shifting self-focused attention can help to reduce panic attacks.
CBT should be provided by a BABCP-accredited CBT Therapist or psychologist. It typically lasts for 12-16 weeks but may be shorter or longer depending on the severity.
If you are struggling with panic attacks, CBT may be a good treatment option for you. Talk to your doctor, or mental health professional about whether CBT is right for you or feel free to book a call with us.
Another way to cope with panic attacks is through medication. There are three main types of medication used to treat panic disorder: antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, and beta-blockers. Antidepressants work by balancing chemicals in your brain. Anti-anxiety medications work by reducing the symptoms of anxiety. Beta-blockers work by blocking the effects of adrenaline in your body.
There are various medications that can help reduce the symptoms of panic attacks, and your doctor will be able to prescribe the best one for you. If you take medication for your panic attacks, it is important to follow your doctor’s instructions carefully and to be sure to take it as prescribed. Panic attacks can be a difficult condition to deal with, but with the right medication, you can manage them effectively.
If you experience panic attacks, there are several ways that you can cope with them. Relaxation techniques, cognitive-behavioural therapy, mindfulness and medication can all help reduce the frequency and intensity of panic attacks. If you are struggling to cope with panic attacks on your own, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional to get started on a treatment plan that is right for you.
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