Coping with Panic Attacks

Panic attacks can leave you feeling like someone has knocked the wind out of you. It can be incredibly difficult to go on with your day or even to face spending time with your loved ones when you are afraid of another panic attack causing disruption. The good news is that panic attacks can be managed with several effective self-help strategies and with working closely with your trusted therapist.

Let’s take a look at some of the best coping tips that you can incorporate into your own life so that you might be able to find a level of relief from this otherwise debilitating panic disorder.

Tip One: Getting Professional Care

When you work closely with your therapist, you will learn several valuable techniques that can provide you with the skills you need when panic attacks are triggered. It is important to note that working with a medical professional who can prescribe beneficial medications should be a part of your treatment plan.

There are several medications, including antidepressants and antianxiety medications that have shown to be hugely promising in preventing and reducing the severity of panic attacks. Working with a psychiatrist can allow you to find just the right medication for your unique needs.

Cognitive behavioral therapy, in addition to beneficial medications, has shown to be incredibly effective at treating panic disorders and panic attacks in general. By focusing on the behaviors and patterns that trigger the panic attacks, you should be able ultimately view your fears in a realistic and logical light. As an example, CBT will have you identifying your triggers and working through just what it is about those triggers that is setting off your panic.

Another aspect to your therapy may include exposure therapy that will directly expose you to the physical sensation of panic that you will experience. Doing so in a controlled and safe environment will give you the chance to develop your healthy skills needed to cope with the panic.

With frequent exposure to sensations similar to panic, you will gradually find yourself better prepared to handle each sensation. This, in turn, will allow you to gain a greater control over the panic.

Tip Two: Recognize And Reduce Triggers

With your therapist’s guidance, you will be able identify the triggers for your panic attacks. The more that you understand about your panic attacks, the more control you will have over them and the way in which they affect you. Remember that knowledge is power! You can gain power over your panic attacks by having the knowledge about why you are experiencing them, how they feel, and how you can work towards breaking free from them.

By recognizing the things that set off your panic attacks, you can also effectively reduce these triggers from your life. Stress can play a huge role in your panic attacks, not just as a trigger for them but also as a contributing factor to the severity of your panic attacks. If you can reduce the stress in various areas of your life, you will be able to control how frequent and severe your panic attacks are.

Tip Three: Relaxation Techniques

By learning techniques to help you relax, you can help to condition yourself to respond in a healthy manner when the symptoms of your panic attacks start to appear. Your symptoms may vary between attacks, just as they may vary greatly between someone else who struggles with them. However, some of the symptoms and sensations that you may struggle with include the following.

  • Hyperventilating
  • Chest tightness and pain
  • Dizziness
  • Heart palpitations
  • Shaking

 

Relaxation techniques that include learning how to focus on and control your breathing can help you to get some relief from the above symptoms. Working closely with your therapist, you will be able to learn great techniques that can get you through these oftentimes scary side effects of a panic attack.

Other relaxation techniques can help you to understand what it means to have control over your body. Yoga and meditation, for example, can help you to become mindful of your surroundings while also helping you to connect with yourself. Progressive muscle relaxation, a technique that involves the clenching and released of targeted groups of muscles, can also help you to relieve the symptoms of your panic attacks.

The more you practice your relaxation techniques, the easier it will be to call on them when you feel the first symptoms of a panic attack making themselves known. It may take a bit of time to determine which technique works best for you. Working with your therapist can help you to hone your skills and fine the best methods of relaxation.

Tip Four: To Your Health!

Avoiding stimulants is advisable for someone who lives with panic attacks as they can often be responsible for panic attacks and can also increase the severity of them. Caffeine and nicotine are two stimulants that are often thought of as being relatively safe. However they can provoke panic attacks, which certainly is not helpful for someone who is already susceptible to them.

Illegal drugs should of course also be avoided. Not only because their reaction on your body can sometimes be unpredictable but because they can also kick off a panic response. The same holds true for diet medications and even cold medications.

Eating a well-balanced diet and getting enough exercise, and of course getting adequate sleep, is another way to ensure that you can maintain control over your panic attacks. With the strong connection between your body and your mind, the healthier your body is the easier it will be to have a healthy mind and overall mental state.

Your therapist is going to be your biggest ally in your fight against your panic attacks. From learning how to recognize your symptoms and your triggers to learning how to reduce and remove the triggers from your life, and also how to control and stave off your panic attacks when they are threatening. By placing your trust in your therapist’s abilities, and keeping an open mind about your treatment, you will be able to regain control of your life. A life that is free from the grips of panic attacks.