5 Tips to Treat Panic Attacks and Panic Disorder

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Have you suddenly experienced palpitations and nausea? Was it also a combination of shortness of breath, profuse sweating, and uncontrolled tremors all throughout your body? Was there numbness or a tingling sensation in the limbs or the whole body?  Did you feel you were about to die due to your irregularly beating heart? And did it suddenly stop 5 to 20 minutes later? [1]


Chances are, you had a panic attack. These attacks are usually triggered by intense fear which may last for only a few moments. Other symptoms are not limited to the ones mentioned. Hot flashes, chills, chest pain, abdominal pains, headaches, dizziness, and a feeling of surrealness may also occur. It becomes a panic disorder when panic attacks recur due to a persistent fear of having another attack. [2]


Recognizing that you are having an attack is a good start to treatment. Other tips to getting an attack under control are as follows: [3]

  1. Breathe. Hyperventilation is usually a major symptom of an attack. It’s also the one that makes the other symptoms worse. Controlling your breathing is the first step to a subsided attack. Breathe in through your mouth and count to 4. Hold it for a second, then breathe out (again through your mouth) and count to 4. You can do this repeatedly until you have better control of your oxygen intake.
  2. Know where you are. Panic attacks make you feel lost and detached. Use your physical senses by touching textures to remind you of your reality – your clothing, or even the chair you’re sitting on. Feel your toes wiggle on the carpet.
  3. Focus. These attacks usually start from overwhelming surroundings. You can choose to close your eyes to lessen the stimuli. You can also consider focusing on a single object to block out everything else. Do whatever works for you.
  4. Try to relax the muscles. Do it a muscle at a time. You can start with the fingers or toes. Work your way up until you gain control of your body. Use relaxing herbs. You need a panic disorder diagnosis for prescription medicine. If you are not up to that level yet, then alternative medicine may be an equally effective way to combat these attacks. Oils and teas


References

[1] “Are You Having Panic Attacks?”, NHS UK, 26 September 2018, Retrieved from https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/understanding-panic-attacks/

[2] “Panic Attacks and Panic Disorder”, Mayo Clinic, [n.d.], Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/panic-attacks/symptoms-causes/syc-20376021

[3] Ana Gotter, “11 Ways to Stop a Panic Attack”, Healthline, 7 December 2018, Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-stop-a-panic-attack#lavender