Panic Attacks and How To Cope With Them Effectively
Have you ever experienced a situation where you tend to feel so confused on what to do, and suddenly you felt anxious and confused?
Or perhaps someone close to you got sick all of a sudden and you don’t know what to do.
For sure you felt so pressured to the point where you felt so sick and scared that you just broke up and cried.
Certain situations where tensions can rise are prone to cause panic attacks to some.
Although this usually happens to people who are not mentally prepared to face high-tension scenarios, it can happen to people who suddenly get anxious or scared due to a psychological disorder.
Panic disorder is no joke at all because this can cause terrible results to the actions of some people if this is left neglected.
However, little do others know that panic attacks and disorders can be reversed, and we will explain everything in this article for your benefit.
So just relax for a while as you read through this article that will surely keep you calmer in the future.
WHAT IS A PANIC ATTACK?
Panic attacks are a series of fear periods that are extremely intense. The intensity of panic attacks include various symptoms that may affect your overall health condition.
These happen suddenly and contain a number of symptoms which we will discuss later. Panic attacks often show its symptoms within minutes.
The longest duration that’s expected for panic attacks is 30 minutes.
But there are times where the duration can vary from a minute or up to several hours. The most notable sign of a panic attack is experiencing a loss of your own control or you may feel chest pain at some points.
However, a panic attack is not physically dangerous to everyone.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (2013) states that the reason why panic attacks occur vary greatly.
The reasons for the attacks aren’t just involved with events that seem to be confusing or worrying to the patient. It could also range from a number of disorders such as panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, health anxiety disorder, PTSD, depression and other medical problems.
The manual also states that it could occur unexpectedly. Smoking and stress can also increase the risk of getting a panic attack. It also states that the risk of suicide gets high with panic attacks as well.
With this being said, you could consider the fact that panic attacks can happen out of the blue – even if you don’t have any previous signs and diagnosis of anxiety disorders.
Even those who never experience traumatic events can catch the panic attack as well.
SYMPTOMS OF PANIC ATTACKS
There is a wide range of symptoms for panic attacks.
Here are the things that may happen to you whenever you suffer from one:
- A sudden feeling of fear.
- A strong fear that the patient is dying or suffering a heart attack
- Pounding heartbeats.
- Fast heartbeats.
- Shortness of breath
- A Flashing Vision
- Stomach Pain
- Lightheadedness/Dizziness and fainting
- Chills or hot flashes
- Shortness of breath
- Tunnel vision
- A fear of losing control
- Tingling sensation
- Difficulty moving
Among all of these symptoms, the following are the usual and biggest symptoms of panic attacks:
Edmund Bourne (2005) states that panic attack patients often report with the sudden feeling of fear or having a heart attack. This is in great need of coping up in order to avoid feeling these symptoms. However, this isn’t just the beginning. The low flow of blood due to the panic attack can also cause the head to suffer from the tunnel vision.
Bourne also stated that the panic attack is a response of the sympathetic nervous system that’s why it also results in dizziness and nausea. It then results in the shortness of breath and hot flashes or chills. All these symptoms can increase your anxiety and can form a positive feedback loop in your mind.
Very Important Note: Panic attack and its symptoms may also be mistaken for the symptoms caused by heart and lung diseases, hyperthyroidism and side-effects of certain drugs. Seek professional help if unsure of the symptoms you’re currently feeling.
CAUSES OF PANIC ATTACKS
Panic attacks are caused by a number of problems.
There are different factors that may induce the condition or it may be a symptom of a more severe type of disorder.
Here are the following causes:
You can suffer from panic disorders and panic attacks often based on your heredity. It shows that close relatives can be both prone to panic attacks. But the chances are not that high.
The strongest testimony of this cause was a case study conducted by the Anxiety Disorders Clinical Research Unit at the University of Milan. The researchers used a group of identical and fraternal twins as subjects.
It showed that 57% of panic attack patients had an identical twin sibling with panic attacks. On the other hand, 43% of the fraternal twins have similar cases of panic attacks.
The NCBI also noted that 30 – 40% of panic disorder’s pathogenesis indicate genetic factors.
Stress triggers panic attacks. People who are suffering from severe stress may experience panic attacks easily.
That’s why it’s very important to consider calming down at work in order to avoid this issue. The main reason why stress induces panic attacks, however, has not yet cleared by experts.
But most experts believe that the negative thinking that stress is the root cause of the panic attacks. Stress also increases more follow up attacks as well and may even result in Paranoia.
We all know that there’s a lot of work to be done and a lot of bills to pay.
But that doesn’t mean that you will only live your life doing that. So if you’re prone to panic attacks, at least learn how to calm yourself down and take a break for a while.
We will give you a nice bonus later on how to deal with panic attacks when at work.
Panic attacks can be caused by health anxiety – a form of paranoia when it comes to over-concern with health. Health anxiety causes the first sets of panic attacks at most times.
This is very notable for those who got badly sick in the past and don’t want to experience it ever again.
This also counts for severe social anxiety disorder as overthinking about negative things can cause even more stress in your mind. Severe anxiety can easily result in panic attacks.
Anxiety during an occasion that seems too tense (e.g. too many people when suffering from social anxiety or a scenario of an accident) may also trigger the panic attacks.
Those who suffered a horrific accident or those who went to battle or war are prone to panic attacks due to the trauma of their past experiences.
The thought of those events trigger anxiety in their minds, resulting in panic attacks. Those who suffered from severe PTSD often experience panic attacks due to the overthinking that they experienced.
It’s a very horrible sight to see war veterans who experiences the bitterness of war.
Repeated cases of panic attacks that seem to be persistent are usual causes of panic disorder and not just panic attacks anymore.
Panic attacks experienced by people who are suffering from this cause may link the cause of their stress. The panic disorder’s symptoms can also trigger due to certain events and places.
Panic disorder is known to be different from other anxiety disorder types.
Panic attacks are usually sudden and not caused by other events. But its way of causing panic attacks is just similar to anxiety.
Agoraphobia is a type of anxiety disorder that involves the fear of experiencing a situation that the person cannot escape in their life.
There are numerous situations that people believe and may cause the person to experience it inevitably and negatively.
Experiences such as the thought of getting lost for good in a forest or mountain while at the exact situation can cause the phobia and may induce panic attacks.
Those who suffer severely from this disorder can experience panic attacks more often as well. Some causes of agoraphobia are social anxiety disorders and PTSD as well.
There are also substances that might cause the panic attacks.
Some drugs that are prescribed could contain ingredients that may induce panic attacks or its symptoms as its side-effects.
Illegal drugs could also contain panic attacks to some of its users.
You can also get panic attacks when you have high caffeine levels in your body.
There are rare cases where panic attacks may happen to those who are suffering from medical conditions.
However, there are studies which shows that the panic attacks that occur from the patients with heal issues often show signs of anxiety due to their current condition.
At the same time, there are also diseases such as Lyme disease that may cause panic attacks due to the alteration of thyroid hormones.
Some drugs can also cause panic attacks especially if you’re undergoing a drug withdrawal.
IS THERE A TREATMENT FOR PANIC ATTACKS?
There are multiple types of treatments that you can consider for panic attacks. There are some things that you can try yourself:
You can train to breathe efficiently as panic attacks can lose your proper way of breathing. This will make you realize that breathing affects your panic attacks.
There are various studies that have proved the credibility of breathing exercises. The studies have shown that the symptoms of panic attacks came from hyperventilation – a condition where your body releases too much carbon dioxide.
To reverse hyperventilation, you have to perform slower breathing. Do this at the first signs of a panic attack.
All you have to do is to breathe in for at least 5 seconds and then hold it for another 5 seconds before releasing all of it slowly for another five seconds or more. Breathe through your nose in order to do this. It lessens the severity of panic attacks.
After slow breathing, and when you don’t have any panic attacks, perform a retraining technique for your breathing.
Just practice the slow breathing pattern every 30 minutes per day. This will naturally make your breathing pattern better so then you can automatically protect yourself from any panic attacks.
Exercising may not be a home remedy in terms of the activities that you need to do. However, exercising is known to be one of the best treatments that you can do to prevent panic attacks. This is a great way to control all anxiety and stress that you have in your mind. Some people even push themselves to exercising whenever they think about stressful or traumatic events.
There are various exercises such as yoga and even a simple jogging. But take note that there are also panic attacks that are induced by exercise.
But this is only rare and there are separate treatments for those types of issues. It is very beneficial to do this as it provides the following:
- Reduces excess mental energy and muscle energy.
- Promotes a better sleeping pattern.
- Regulates the flow of hormones and burns off stress hormones.
- Keeps you in a good mood.
- Improves your breathing.
- Calms the mind.
The following benefits of exercising are enough to keep your panic attacks away.
Some studies have also shown that most panic attacks and anxiety root from the lack of exercise combined with high levels of stress. So be sure to consider this extremely effective treatment.
Don’t Be Reactive
Therapists even approve that you should not be too reactive when you get a panic attack as it will just worsen the condition.
It’s best for you to just “accept” that you’re suffering from it right now and you must keep calm instead.
If you do this while following the breathing exercise, you will be able to effectively lessen the symptoms of panic attacks until you finally calm down.
To put it simple: don’t give in to your fear and anxiety!
Lessen Your Stress
Minimizing your stress is the perfect way for you to reduce panic attacks as well. Be sure to avoid things that might increase your stress levels. Those factors that you need to avoid could be toxic people as well.
There are times where caffeine and cigarettes can induce stress especially when you haven’t taken the substance within the day (if you’re already addicted to the substance).
But if work is inevitable despite the stress, try to keep calm and just think about your goal positively in order to avoid stress.
Seek Proper Medication
Don’t ever perform self-medication.
You might want to medicate with drugs or alcohol at this moment, but that will only lead towards dependence and won’t really resolve the problem.
Temporary alteration of your memory can cause brain damage and other problems like drug addiction and alcoholism.
That’s why it’s best to talk to your doctor. They can provide the safety procedures such as therapies and medicines that you can do in order to treat your panic attacks.
They can also provide medicines.
Fluoxetine and Pareoxetine are the most common antidepressants that can help you calm your mind from panicking. You can also ask for benzodiazepine – a fast-acting type of depressant that can relieve panic attacks and seizure.
This is perfect for those with severe panic attacks.
Music therapy is known to be one good way to provide your mind a sense of peace.
Music has soothing properties depending on the tune that you prefer to play.
There are a lot of audio that can relax your mind.
But you can have the freedom to choose what music you want to play.
For starters, here is one of the best music to prevent panic attacks:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be administered by a therapist to reduce your panic attacks.
This helps you challenge your fears as it edicates you to replace your unnecessary fears with those that are more sensible to be afraid of. This also helps you build up a voice within you that can cope up with the flight or fight response of panic attacks.
Exposure therapy is also known to be good for reversing your response for fears. The things that may cause your panic attacks can be avoided right away if you master exposure therapy.
Avoidance of your fears can also give you total relief to prevent panic attacks.
Here are more therapies that you can learn and use to prevent panic attacks:
Very Important Note: If you feel like the panic attack is still there. Be sure to consult a doctor or a psychologist in order to get diagnosed as your panic attack may be a symptom of something worse. Over-the-counter drugs can also be prescribed if you’re experiencing panic attacks frequently. Therapies can also be conducted if you can’t independently control your panic disorder.
MANAGING PANIC ATTACKS AT WORK
It’s also very important to consider managing your panic attacks when you go to work. Panic attacks may hinder you from performing efficiently and effectively at work.
There are also some instances where panic attacks may cause you to lose confidence from doing work, which can greatly affect your performance.
Gladly, panic attacks can be managed with the right mindset.
Here are some tips that you need to follow:
Find Out The Causes
For sure there are certain moments that may seem similar when your panic attack happens throughout your career. This also means that you need to check if you’re suffering from panic disorders as well.
You also need to learn the factors that you fear about when you’re at work as well. These include certain phobias of scenarios such as bullying.
Be sure to do a self-evaluation by observing daily happenings when at work for you to determine the cause of your panic attacks. You should also determine your symptoms in order to find treatments for it. Seek your office clinic for assistance as well.
Coping Techniques Work
You can go ahead and create some coping techniques for you to reverse panic attacks when at work. You just have to practice these techniques whenever you’re at home, and apply it once you’re ready to do it.
Seek Emotional Support
You can keep your panic a secret to your coworkers or friends at work. But you also need to think that you can always seek the help of someone that you trust the most.
You can simply tell them about your panic attacks and ask for some advice of help when it strikes again.
For sure the people you trust the most at work or at home will always be there to listen and help you calm down.
Ask a Doctor
Since you have a job, and for sure you have healthcare benefits from your work, you can go ahead and use your resources to ask a doctor about panic attacks.
It’s always best to seek professional help especially if you want to take care of your career as well.
IT’S STILL POSSIBLE TO PREVENT PANIC ATTACKS. BUT…
You must first learn how to control your mind when it comes to these situations. It’s always about being calm first as it can help you create clearer decisions in life. Panic attacks can be caused by your negative state of mind at some point.
That’s why therapies that involve change of mindsets and breathing are being conducted. It’s because you may need help in becoming more relaxed in the future.
A panic attacks is not a situation that may affect your own life. But that doesn’t mean that you can just brush it off and ignore it. It’s still a situation that can cause bad decisions in life. But you need to make sure that it can at least be reversed as it’s for your own good anyway.
After all, panicking will really bring you nowhere when making life decisions.