A panic attack is a sudden episode of intense fear that triggers severe physical reactions when there is no real danger or apparent cause. Panic attacks can be very frightening. When panic attacks occur, you might think you're losing control, having a heart attack or even dying.
Many people have just one or two panic attacks in their lifetimes, and the problem goes away, perhaps when a stressful situation ends. But if you've had recurrent, unexpected panic attacks and spent long periods in constant fear of another attack, you may have a condition called panic disorder.
Symptoms of Panic Attack
- Fear of loss of control or death
- Rapid, pounding heart rate
- Trembling or shaking and sweating
- Shortness of breath or tightness in your throat
- Hot flashes
- Chest pain and head ache
- Dizziness, lightheadedness or faintness
- Feeling of unreality or detachment
Causes of Panic Attack
- Family history of panic attacks or panic disorder.
- Major life stress, such as the death or serious illness of a loved one.
- A traumatic event, such as sexual assault or a serious accident.
- Major changes in your life, such as a divorce or the addition of a baby.
- Smoking or excessive caffeine intake.
Tips to deal with Panic attack
Table of Contents
Take deep breaths: Deep breathing can help bring a panic attack under control.Panic attacks can cause rapid breathing, and chest tightness can make the breaths shallow. This type of breathing can make feelings of anxiety and tension worse.Instead, try to breathe slowly and deeply, concentrating on each breath. Breathe deeply from the abdomen, filling the lungs slowly and steadily while counting to 4 on both the inhale and the exhale.
Smell some lavender: A soothing scent can help relieve anxiety by tapping into the senses, helping the person stay grounded and giving them something to focus on.If the person dislikes the smell of lavender, they could try replacing it with another essential oil that they prefer, such as bergamot orange, chamomile, or lemon.
Focus on an object: When a person becomes overwhelmed with distressing thoughts, feelings, or memories, concentrating on something physical in the environment can help them feel grounded. Focusing on one stimulus can reduce other stimuli. As the person looks at the item, they may want to think about how it feels, who made it, and what shape it is.
Remember that it will pass:During a panic attack, it can help to remember that these feelings will pass and cause no physical harm, however scary it feels at the time. Try acknowledging that this is a brief period of concentrated anxiety, and that it will be over soon.
Avoid Alcohol and smoking– these can make panic attacks worse. Panic support groups have useful advice about how you can effectively manage your attacks. Knowing that other people are experiencing the same feelings can be reassuring. Your GP can put you in touch with groups in your area.