12 ways to stop panic attacks

How to stop panic attacks

Panic attacks are scary and can come on quickly. These are 12 strategies that you can use to manage panic attacks. While some may be helpful in the short term, others will help over the long term.

CounselingCBT and other counselling are often helpful for panic attack sufferers and those with panic disorder. CBT helps you see the world differently and find new ways to deal with difficult or frightening situations.

There are many options for CBT. It can be used online or face to face. The length of the treatment can vary. Exposure-based CBT is where your therapist exposes you to something that could trigger panic attacks and helps you get through it.

CBT may change behaviour and affect brain structures that can cause panic attacks.

Use medication

Benzodiazepines such as alprazolam or Xanax can be used to treat panic attacks.

They won’t treat an underlying anxiety disorder, leading to dependence. Doctors recommend that they only be used in a crisis.

To have benzodiazepines on hand, you will need to be diagnosed with panic disorder.

Sometimes, doctors may recommend long-term antidepressants. Examples include:

  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), such HTML1_ as escitalopram, Lexapro, or fluoxetine (Prozac).
  • serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), such as duloxetine (Cymbalta)
  • anti-anxiety drugs, for instance, azapirone (Buspirone)

Pregabalin and clonazepam are two examples of anti-seizure medication that can treat anxiety.

Deep breathing is a good idea.

Hyperventilating can be a sign of panic attacks and can increase fear. Deep breathing can help reduce panic symptoms during panic attacks.

One study published in 2017 showed that 40 people were randomized to either deep breathing therapy or a control group. Deep breathing was a practice that led to improvements in attention and emotional well-being. It took 20 sessions.

Also, blood tests showed lower levels of cortisol in this group. This suggests lower levels of stress. Although the participants didn’t have panic disorder, these strategies may help those with panic attacks.

Another group of scientists discovered that slow breathing could have similar effects. It could increase feelings of relaxation, comfort, and alertness and reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, and anger.

You’ll be less likely to have panic attacks if you can control your breathing.

Take deep, slow breaths through your mouth. Feel the air filling your belly and chest. Then slowly exhale. For four counts, breathe in, hold it for one second, then exhale for four.

Recognize that panic attacks are common

Recognizing that you have panic attacks instead of heart attacks can help you remember that it is temporary and will pass.

You can stop worrying that you might die or that imminent doom is coming, which are both signs of panic attacks. You can then focus on other methods to decrease your symptoms.

Although it’s not always possible to avoid panic attacks, knowing what triggers them can help you recognize that panic attacks trigger panic attacks.

Close your eyes

Panic attacks can be caused by triggers that overwhelm you. This can lead to panic attacks if you are in a fast-paced environment that contains many stimuli.

To decrease the stimulation, close your eyes when you panic. This will help you focus on your breathing and block any additional stimuli.

Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness can help you ground yourself in reality around you. This can help you cope with panic attacks that can lead to a sense of separation or detachment from reality.

Mindfulness is:

  • Focus your attention on the Present
  • Recognizing the emotional state that you are in
  • Meditation can help reduce stress and relax.

Concentrate on the sensations that you are most familiar with. For example, digging your feet in the ground or feeling the texture and feel of your jeans. These sensations will help you stay grounded in reality and give your mind something objective.

Experts believe that mindfulness strategies such as meditation can manage anxiety symptoms. However, it is not clear if they can treat an underlying anxiety disorder.

American Family Physician suggested mindfulness in 2015 for managing panic attacks and anxiety. He said it could be just as effective for stress reduction as CBT.

Much research suggests that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy may help those with anxiety disorders who are currently receiving medical treatment but don’t find drug treatment effective.

Meditation online

To help you find the perfect fit, read our review of the best online meditation options.

Locate a focal object

Sometimes it is helpful for people to find something to concentrate their attention upon during panic attacks. Take a single object and note all details.

You may be able to see how the clock’s hand jerks as it ticks. It could also be that the clock’s slant is noticeable. You can describe the objects’ patterns, colours, shapes, and sizes to yourself. Concentrate all your energy on the object, and panic symptoms might disappear.

Use muscle relaxation techniques.

An anxiety-related symptom is muscle tension. Muscle relaxation techniques can reduce tension and promote relaxation. Progressive muscle relaxing is a method to relieve tension from one group of muscles at once to relax the entire body.

Muscle relaxation techniques, which are similar to deep breathing, can stop panic attacks in their tracks by controlling the body’s reaction as much as possible.

Your therapist may take you through these steps if you undergo muscle relaxation therapy.

  • You may first learn to relax your muscles and release tension.
  • You will then learn to relax your muscles without tensioning them.
  • For everyday use, you may also relax certain muscles, such as the shoulders.
  • You may also learn how to relax quickly. This is when you can identify tension areas and let them go as necessary.

Relax one muscle at a time to relax your muscles at home. Start with your fingers and work your way up.

You will find muscle relaxation techniques more effective if you have practised them before.

Imagine your perfect place.

Guided imagery can reduce anxiety and stress. Research shows that visualizing nature and spending time outdoors can reduce anxiety.

Is there a more relaxing place than anywhere else in the world? A sun-kissed beach with gently rolling waves. A mountain cabin?

Imagine yourself in that situation and focus your attention on the details. Picture yourself digging your toes in the warm sand or taking in the sharp smell of pine trees.

No New York City or Hong Kong streets, no matter how much they are in your life.

Light exercise

Regular exercise is proven to improve your body’s health and boost your mental well-being.

Experts found that exercising at 60-90 per cent of maximum heart rate for 20 mins three times per week can reduce anxiety.

Talk to your doctor if you’re not comfortable exercising. There is some evidence to suggest that beginning aerobic exercise again can cause anxiety in those with anxiety disorders. Your body will adjust to the increased exercise, and you can avoid breathing problems by building up slowly. Aerobic exercise can include running on a treadmill.

Stop if you feel stressed, hyperventilating, or having trouble breathing, and either take a break or opt for moderate activity, such as walking or swimming, to calm down.

Lavender is a good choice.

Lavender can be used to relieve stress and promote relaxation.

Research indicates that it has a calming effect but does not cause dependence or withdrawal symptoms. Products containing diluted lavender oil can help manage anxiety symptoms.

However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate essential oils. Essential oils can have different strengths and components.

Use lavender essential oil

  • Get your oil from a trusted source such as a pharmacy
  • Follow the instructions to use
  • Concentrated oil should not be applied directly to the skin.
  • Avoid using lavender with benzodiazepines, as this combination can lead to intense drowsiness.

Internally repeat a mantra.

Repetition of a mantra can help you relax and be reassuring when you have panic attacks.

Repeat the mantra in your head, no matter how simple it is or whether it speaks to you personally.


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