Panic attacks are sudden, intense feelings of anxiety. Panic attacks may also cause physical symptoms such as shaking, disorientation, nausea, rapid, irregular heartbeats, and dry mouth. Although panic attacks are not dangerous, they can be frightening. These can make it seem like you're having a heart attack or you're going to die.
How to Stop a Panic Attack, 12 ways to avoid an onset panic attack
1. It will pass!
It is important to remember that panic attacks will pass and not cause any physical harm, no matter how frightening they may feel. Recognize that you are experiencing a brief moment of anxiety and that it will soon pass. Panic attacks usually peak within 10 min of their onset. Afterward, the symptoms will start to diminish.
2. Take deep breaths
Deep breathing can be used to calm panic attacks. Panic attacks can lead to rapid breathing and chest tightness that can make breaths shallower. This can lead to anxiety and tension. Instead, slow down and breathe deeply. Focus on each breath. Deepen your breathing by extending your abdomen and filling your lungs slowly, and steadily and counting to 4, on the inhale as well as the exhale.
You can also try 4-7-8 breaths or "relaxing breathe". This technique allows you to inhale slowly for 8 seconds and hold your breath for 4 seconds. Deep breathing can worsen panic attacks for some people. If this happens, the person should try to focus on something they love instead.
3. Smell some lavender
Scents that are soothing can be used to reduce anxiety. They tap into the senses and help people stay grounded. Lavender is a traditional remedy that can bring about calm and relaxation. There have been many studies that show lavender can relieve anxiety. To smell the oil, place a small amount under your nose. undefined It is best to only buy it from trusted retailers. You could replace lavender essential oil with another one if the person doesn't like the scent of lavender.
4. Find a peaceful spot
Panic attacks can be intensified by sounds and sights. Try to find a peaceful place if you can. You might have to leave a noisy room and move to a wall nearby. A quiet spot will help you focus on your breathing and other coping strategies.
5. Concentrate on the object
Concentrating on something tangible in the environment can help a person feel grounded when they are overwhelmed by distressing thoughts, emotions, or memories. A single stimulus can be more distracting than other stimuli. The person may be drawn to the item by the way it looks, the maker, and the shape. This can reduce panic attacks. A familiar object can be helpful for panic attacks if the person suffers from recurring panic attacks. It could be a flat stone, a seashell, or a small toy. People can use grounding techniques like this to help with anxiety, panic attacks, and trauma.
6. The 5-4-2-3-1 method
Panic attacks can cause a person to feel disconnected from reality. Panic attacks can cause a person to lose touch with reality because anxiety can overwhelm other senses. The 5-4-6-3-2-1 technique is both a grounding and mindfulness technique. It directs the individual's attention away from stress-producing sources.
This method is best used slowly and carefully.
Take a look at five objects. Spend a few minutes thinking about each object.
Listen to 4 distinct sounds. Consider where they come from and what makes them unique.
Touch 3 objects. Think about their texture, temperature, and their intended uses.
Identify two different smells. These could be your coffee, soap, or laundry detergent.
Name one thing that you can taste. Or, try a piece of candy.
7. Repeat a mantra
A mantra is a phrase, word, or sound that aids in focus and strength. A mantra can be used internally to help someone get out of panic attacks. It can be a form of reassurance or it could be as simple as "This too shall pass." However, for some, the mantra may have a deeper spiritual meaning. The person will find their body relaxes and their breathing becomes easier if they focus on repeating the mantra slowly.
8. Walking or doing light exercise is a good idea.
Walking can help you get out of a stressful situation and may even help you regulate your breathing. Endorphins are hormones released by moving that can relax the body and improve mood. Regular exercise may help to reduce anxiety, which can lead to a decrease in panic attacks.
9. Try muscle relaxation techniques
Muscle tension is another sign of panic attacks. An attack can be reduced by practicing muscle relaxation techniques. The reason is that if the mind perceives that the body has relaxed, other symptoms such as rapid breathing may diminish. The progressive muscle relaxation technique is an effective way to cope with panic attacks and anxiety. It involves relaxing each muscle at a time, tensing it up. This is how you do it:
Tend the tension for five seconds
As you relax, say "relax".
Allow the muscle to relax for 10 seconds, then move on to the next one.
10. Imagine your perfect place
The place where a person feels most at ease should be their happy place. Everybody will have their own preferences. They will feel safe, calm, and relaxed there.
It can be helpful to close your eyes when an attack is underway and picture yourself in that place. Imagine how peaceful it is. You can even imagine your feet touching the soft rugs, hot sand, and cool soil.
11. All prescribed medications should be taken
A doctor might prescribe medication to treat panic attacks depending on their severity. These medications usually work quickly. Some contain a benzodiazepine or a beta blocker. Propranolol is a beta-blocker that slows a racing heartbeat and decreases blood pressure. These drugs are addictive and should only be used as directed by a doctor. They can cause life-threatening side effects if taken with alcohol or opioids. The doctor might also recommend selective serotonin receptor inhibitors to help prevent panic attacks.
12. Tell someone
Panic attacks that frequently occur in the same environment (e.g., workplace, social space) may be a sign to alert someone and let them know what support they can offer. An attacker can be reported to another person if it happens in public. They might be able to locate a peaceful spot and stop others from crowding it.