Cope During a Panic Attack

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A panic attack, otherwise known as an anxiety attack, can feel overwhelming when it happens. Often there is uncontrolled fast gasping for breath or panting. It doesn't have to get completely out of your control -- try these suggestions to ease your feelings caused by worries or fears. Sometimes the panic victim will think that it's a heart attack because of feeling faint, weak and shaky! Learn to slow down the panic by preparing ahead of time...

Focus on your breath to control panting... Now make sure that you are breathing slowly and abdominally. That is, your abdomen should expand and contract while breathing, not just your chest.
As a panic attack often fuels itself by unintentionally focusing on the cause of panic, it can help to divert your attention by focusing on something else, such as doing mental puzzles: word games, numerical problems or noting the features of different objects within sight. Try counting backwards from 100 by 3's, or saying the alphabet backwards, etc. It's even better if you can fully avoid focusing, do not focus on not focusing. (practising meditation helps learning how to do this).
If possible have someone you know/trust talk to you and comfort you. Ask him/her to massage your palm while talking to you.
Tense the various muscles in your body for a few seconds and then release, allowing yourself to relax.
If you are able to stand, get up and walk around slowly, while "slowly" deep breathing (change of focus).

Breathing 8 or fewer times per minute is less likely to trigger the "fight or flight" response, which is the source of adrenaline during a panic attack. Breathe in slowly for 4-5 seconds and exhale slowly for 4-5 seconds as best you can.
If you are hyperventilating, use a paper bag or envelope, to breathe into. Within a few breaths, the CO2 levels are restored and the breathing restores to a slower pace. If you don’t have a paper bag, HOLD your breath for short times. Note, in this case, do not take very deep breath, but hold your breath. Again, this can restore CO2 levels and the attack immediately subsides.
Listen to music. Keep headphones on, when you go out, or are in any situation which is likely to trigger an event.
Anxiety/panic attack may have no link to a real immediate threat, most of the time it fuels itself, as if your mind was running in circles. One way to break the circle is to ask yourself (or the person suffering from the anxiety attack), "How is panicking gonna help you?" Wait for a response like: "It's not!" So now let's try (tensing/relaxing, talk, massage hand (change of focus), paper bag, holding breath) this.
Breathe in for 2 seconds, and out for 4.

These suggestions are intended for your general knowledge only and are not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for any condition.
You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider.
Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.
When a panic attack strikes, it may be hard to think about what to do as panic pretty much disables your mind's ability to think.
If you are subject to panic/anxiety attack, prepare yourself. Practicing meditation on a regular basis will help to keep or regain a grip on your own mind.


Samantha said...

Nice one. A very well-written post on methods to attack anxiety.Here is a very good wesbite that has plenty of guides regarding simple methods toattack anxiety. Thought I might share it with you. It's at

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