Panic attacks are not dangerous. The condition is driven by a mind state and is far from being a disease (though panic attacks are sometimes signs of something more serious). Individuals suffering from the attacks experience breathing difficulties, spasms of the muscles, palpitations, and nausea.
Doctors are yet to find the real reason behind the symptoms, but the attacks are generally triggered by insurmountable stress, fatigue, and uncontrollable fear. While there are countless ways to deal with panic attacks, everything boils down to one solid solution: Managing Anxiety.
A visit to the doctor is a viable way to eliminate misconceptions about the condition. Having a clear vision of what you are experiencing alleviates irrational fears, which may even worsen the attacks. A full physical exam may also help pinpoint what really triggers the condition.
But doctors can only do so much. Panic attacks come in parallel with the quaint and overheard adage: it’s all in the mind. In the quest to manage anxiety – which can be the root of the problem – nobody can help yourself better than you can.
The Anxiety and Stress Disorder Institute Maryland suggests that managing anxiety can be achieved through these simple methods:
- 1. Having sufficed understanding and knowledge about what causes it. Anticipation is often the root of anxiety. Studies reveal that individuals who plan their escape out of their problems, constantly checking the time, or delving too much on past failures have higher anxiety levels and are thus more prone to having panic attacks.
Trying not to concentrate on what could happen is then a step towards efficient anxiety management. The trick is to choose one element in the present (such as a picture hanging on the wall, details of conversation, etc) and focus the attention on it.
- 2. Should the first feelings of anxiety persist, don’t fight it off. Letting it come naturally would help you control the anxiety better. Trying to resist the feeling can only make it worse. Accepting the unnerving feeling and concentrating on something else can make it all go away after some time.
Experts suggest that the anxiety should be rated from one to ten – 1 having none and 10 having it at worst. Observe how the anxiety level fluctuates and know the factors that stimulate the condition.
- 3. Don’t pile up the fear. Fear or phobias are closely related to anxiety. At some point, people who face things they are ultimately scared of may feel like fainting, vomiting, losing control, and going crazy. This is because the brain sends signals of danger, thus scaring people more. The result is having a tensed body, so anxious to get out of the situation. Those who have undergone physical and emotional pain from vehicular accidents usually experience this mind state while driving or stuck in traffic.
Paranoia is indeed one of the most difficult mind conditions to fight, so there is a need to have third party who can assure that everything will be alright. Similarly, you should be able to get a grip on your emotions and think back of similar situations that didn’t end up badly. Having the ability to convince yourself of what could and could NOT possibly happen is a good anxiety management.
- 4. Embrace panic attacks. Anxiety is uncomfortable but not dangerous, and so are panic attacks. Never mistake the condition as something else and scare yourself. Be reminded that these conditions are self-limiting and only you can have the control. A panic attack will pass shortly on its own – fighting it or trying to make it go away will only add up to the anxiety and lengthen the unnerving experience.
Doctors suggest that the period of panic attack occurrences will be shortened if you allow the symptoms to “flow”: if the legs become weak and shaky, make them feel softer and shakier instead of making them firm and contracted.
- 5. Perform diaphragmatic breathing and relaxation techniques. Do this by placing one hand atop the chest and one on the belly. The diaphragm should expand as you inhale, with the chest staying still. Breathe slowly through the nose and breathe out with the same pace. This allows more oxygen to flow into the muscles and make them feel loose and lulled.