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How can you stop a panic attack?

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Panic attacks can be sudden and overpowering. They can affect anyone and may be caused by general anxiety, panic disorder, or depression. If you’ve ever felt a sudden surge of overwhelming fear and anxiety then you’re familiar with the idea of panic attacks. Not only does it impact you emotionally, it has very physical symptoms as well. These include sweating, rapid breathing, nausea and a racing heartbeat. On the other hand, emotional symptoms include feelings of fear and intense, repetitive worrying.

Most patients state that their attacks peak at 10 minutes and don’t last longer than a few minutes. However, those minutes of immense discomfort causes much to fear about. The cause of panic and anxiety attacks vary from stress, signification transitions or even genetic factors; the actual cause is yet not clearly understood.

As a person looks at the item, they may want to think about how it feels, who made it and what shape it is. This can help to reduce the symptoms of a panic attack.

With the percentage of adolescents experiencing panic attacks on the increase, this article we look at a way to stop such attacks and reduce the risk of occurrence. We will also look at how to help someone who experiences an attack and describe the outlook of the future

Ways to stop a panic attack

The first step to stopping panic attacks to accept and recognize what you are experiencing, after which there are other steps that can be taken for preventives causes. There are 13 methods listed below to help alleviate the symptoms of a panic attack.

Read more: Anxiety symptoms that many people overlook

  1. Acceptance and recognition – A person may have experienced panic attacks in the past – During an attack, it can help to remember that they pass and cause no physical harm, though they are unpleasant. A person should acknowledge that the attack is a brief period of concentrated anxiety and that it will end.

If a person is experiencing an attack for the first time, it is advisable to visit a doctor as soon as possible. Some symptoms of panic attacks can indicate other events, such as heart attacks or strokes.

  1. Deep breathing – Deep breathing can sometimes bring a panic attack under control. Rapid breathing can increase anxiety and tension, so instead of taking long, slow breaths can help. Focusing on an object while slowing down your breathing is known to have a lasting impact.

A person can also breathe steadily while counting slowly to four.

A feeling of tightness in the chest can cause a person to take short breaths during an attack. It is a good idea to breathe deeply from the abdomen, filling the lungs slowly and steadily.

  1. Inhale lavender – Lavender essences have long been used to relieve anxiety and bring about a sense of calm relaxation. Inhaling the scent of lavender oil during a panic attack may help relieve some symptoms. A person can rub a small amount of oil onto their wrist or hand and inhale.

This oil is widely available online. Purchase it only from trusted retailers.

Thinking about a relaxing and calm environment can help a person to become relaxed and calm.

An individual should avoid lavender if they have recently taken a benzodiazepine medication, which is widely used to treat panic attacks and act as muscle relaxants. The two together can cause heightened drowsiness.

  1. Medication – When a doctor prescribes a medication for use as needed, rather than as a regular dosage, the medicine is referred to as a PRN. These medications typically work fast.

Depending on the severity of panic attacks, a doctor may prescribe a PRN containing a or a beta-blocker. Propranolol is a beta-blocker that slows a racing heartbeat and decreases blood pressure.

Read more: Pakistan’s health care system in a crisis

Benzodiazepines, commonly prescribed for panic attacks, include Valium and Xanax. This class of drugs can be highly addictive. The body may quickly develop a tolerance, and a higher dosage will soon be needed to achieve the same effect. People should use them sparingly.

  1. Limit stimuli – Sights and sounds can often intensify a panic attack. If possible, find a more peaceful spot. This could mean leaving a busy room or moving to lean against a nearby wall.

With this in mind, closing your eyes can make it easier to focus on your breathing and other coping strategies.

  1. Learn triggers – A person’s panic attacks may often be triggered by the same things, such as enclosed spaces, crowds, or problems with money. There are many people who suffer from claustrophobia or other such extreme fears which trigger the attack. By learning to manage or avoid triggers, a person may be able to reduce the frequency and intensity of attacks.
  2. Light exercise – Light exercise can help stop panic attacks. Exercise releases hormones called endorphins that relax the body and improve the mood.

Walking can help to produce endorphins, and it can also remove a person from a stressful environment. The rhythm of walking may also help a person to regulate their breathing.

If you’ve ever felt a sudden surge of overwhelming fear and anxiety then you’re familiar with the idea of panic attacks.

  1. Mindfulness exercises – Panic attacks can make people feel detached from reality. The intensity of anxiety can overtake other senses. Mindfulness can help to re-ground a person and direct their focus away from sources of stress.

Below is one example of a mindfulness exercise. Each step should be completed slowly and thoroughly:

  • Look at five separate things, thinking about each for some time.
  • Listen for four distinct sounds, and examine what is different about each one.
  • Touch three objects. Consider the texture, temperature, and uses.
  • Identify two different smells. Do they trigger any memories?
  • Taste something. This could be a fingertip or a piece of candy.
  1. Focus on an object – Concentrating on a nearby object can help a person stop a panic attack. A person who experiences attacks regularly may want to carry something for this purpose.

Focusing on one thing can reduce other stimuli. As a person looks at the item, they may want to think about how it feels, who made it and what shape it is. This can help to reduce the symptoms of a panic attack.

Read more: 48% of Pakistani Women have no say in their health matters

  1. Try muscle relaxation techniques – Another symptom of a panic attack is muscle tension. Practicing muscle relaxation techniques may help to limit an attack. If the mind senses that the body is relaxing, other symptoms, such as rapid breathing, may also diminish.

Progressive muscle relaxation is a popular technique for coping with anxiety and panic attacks.

  1. Picture a happy place – A person’s happy place should be somewhere they would feel the most relaxed. Every aspect of it should be pleasing.

When a panic attack begins, it can help to close the eyes and imagine being in such a place. Think of how calm it is there. Imagine bare feet touching the cool soil, hot sand, or soft rugs.

Thinking about a relaxing and calm environment can help a person to become relaxed and calm.

  1. Repeat a mantra – A mantra is a word, phrase, or sound that helps with focus and provides strength. Internally repeating a mantra can help a person to come out of a panic attack.

The mantra can take the form of reassurance and may be as simple as, “This too shall pass.” Or, it may have a more spiritual meaning.

As a person focuses on gently repeating a mantra, their physical responses can slow, allowing them to regulate their breathing and relax muscles.

  1. Tell people – If panic attacks frequently occur in the same environment, such as a workplace, it may be helpful to inform others and let them know what kind of support to offer.

If an attack happens in public, telling even one person can help. They may be able to locate a quiet spot and prevent others from crowding in.

Apart from the above-mentioned steps, other measures can be taken to treat anxiety and induce calmness. These include mediation, which goes to relieve stress and regulate breathing. It can also help when hyperventilating during a panic attack and therefore, should be exercised regularly. Overall, a healthier lifestyle promotes hormonal balance in the body, which leads to happier emotions. Therefore, avoiding addictive habits such as smoking, caffeine and other such substances is always a good idea. This, along with a good night’s sleep, staying hydrated, eating healthy and incorporating herbal remedies can really change a person’s life.

At the end of the day, it is about learning what works for you. Mediation might work for one person, while exercise might be better for another. Try different strategies and see what works best for you.


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