Panic attacks can be frightening and overwhelming, but it’s important to remember that they do not cause any harm. These intense episodes of anxiety typically last for only a few minutes to half an hour. While they can be highly uncomfortable and drain your energy, they are not life-threatening. Common symptoms of panic attacks include palpitations, breathlessness, a feeling of impending doom, and dizziness, which may be similar to those experienced during a cardiac arrest.

Fortunately, there are effective techniques to manage and cope with panic attacks. Dr. Ruhi Satija, a consultant psychiatrist and therapist at Cloudnine Hospital in Mumbai, offers some tips for getting panic attacks under control. To prevent panic attacks, Dr. Satija recommends avoiding caffeine, practicing deep breathing exercises regularly, engaging in aerobic exercise at least three times a week to manage stress levels, eating regular meals to avoid sugar level imbalances, and considering counseling therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been scientifically proven to reduce stress and anxiety.

During a panic attack, it is important to remember that it will pass. Having awareness and understanding that it is a temporary experience can give you mental strength and help you cope. Focusing on your breath and practicing deep breathing techniques, such as box breathing and 2-7-8 breathing, can be helpful. Grounding techniques, such as the 54321 technique, where you focus on sensory input, can also be effective. Progressive muscle relaxation is another technique that can help reduce stress levels. Medications, such as benzodiazepines, can provide relief during a panic attack, and the supportive presence of a caretaker can also help to calm you down.

If panic attacks occur frequently, it is important to consult a psychiatrist and seek medical help. Delaying treatment can lead to increased severity of symptoms and may require longer treatment.

In conclusion, while panic attacks can be overwhelming, it is essential to remember that they are not life-threatening. With the right techniques and support, you can manage and cope with panic attacks effectively.

– Dr. Ruhi Satija, Consultant Psychiatrist, Therapist, Mind transformation mentor, Cloudnine Hospital, Mumbai

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