10 Tips To Prevent and Remediate Stress Panic Attack

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Prevent And Remediate Stress Panic Attack

Danielle experienced her first panic attack several months ago.

Everything revolved around her and she felt like she was about to throw up. Her whole body trembled, her breath caught and her heart pounded from her chest.

The attacks after that come out of nowhere and Danielle is ashamed to have them in public. Her whole life is limited by her fear of the panic attacks.

Does this story sound familiar? Do you ever suffer from a panic attack and does this also have a major impact on your (social) life?

Read on for more information and 10 tips to Prevent and Remediate Stress Panic Attack.

What is a panic attack?

A panic attack is an intense feeling of fear that comes out of nowhere and is also very intense. When fear takes over, it leads to a panic attack.

Characteristic of a panic attack is that it can come out of nowhere, without any signals beforehand.

There may be no apparent reason for the attack. It can even happen when you are very relaxed or when you are asleep.

It may be that the panic attack is a one-time event, but for many people the panic attack comes back.

Recurrent panic attacks are often triggered by a specific situation, such as when you are afraid to cross a bridge or when you have to give a presentation.

Often the panic attacks come back if you have had a panic attack in the same situation before. In these situations you feel threatened and you no longer know how to escape.

Panic attacks can affect anyone, even people who are always healthy and happy. An attack can also occur as a result of another condition, such as panic disorder, social phobia, or depression.

Regardless of the cause, panic attacks are always treatable. There are various treatment methods or strategies to deal with this better.

Before we discuss this, let’s first list the symptoms of a panic attack and indicate the possible causes of a panic attack.

 

Signs of a Panic Attack

The signs and symptoms of a panic attack appear out of nowhere and reach their peak within ten minutes. Most panic attacks last about twenty to thirty minutes in total.

It is rare for someone to experience a panic attack for more than an hour.

These are the main features of such an attack:

  • Shortness of breath or hyperventilation;
  • palpitations;
  • Pain in or around the chest;
  • trembling or trembling;
  • A rushed feeling;
  • A feeling that you have to suffocate;
  • feeling dizzy or light-headed;
  • To sweat;
  • Numbness and tingling;
  • Having a fear of dying, losing control, or going crazy.

Panic attacks are common when you are not at home. It can happen anywhere.

Perhaps you have experienced it yourself when you were shopping or when the panic attack came out of nowhere while driving to work, walking down the street or sitting quietly on the couch.

A heart attack or a panic attack?

Most of the symptoms of a panic attack are physical in nature. Often these signals are so strong that you think you are having a heart attack.

People experiencing a panic attack often make repeated visits to the doctor or to the emergency room of a hospital.

They want to be treated quickly for something they believe is life-threatening.

It is, of course, important to rule out the possible medical causes of the symptoms of a panic attack (such as chest pain, palpitations, or difficulty breathing).

However, panic as a cause of these symptoms is often overlooked. The panic is the cause, not the effect.

Signs of an Anxiety Disorder

Many people experience a panic attack with no further complications or no recurrence. There is little reason to be concerned if you have experienced a panic attack once or twice in your life.

However, some people who have experienced panic attacks multiple times may develop an anxiety disorder.

Such a disorder is characterized by recurrent panic attacks combined with major behavioral changes or a persistent fear of multiple attacks.

How do you recognize an anxiety disorder?

You can recognize an anxiety disorder by the following symptoms:

  • You frequently experience an unexpected panic attack, which you find difficult to relate to a specific situation.
  • You always worry about having another panic attack soon.
  • You behave differently because of the panic attacks. For example, you avoid specific places or situations where you have previously had a panic attack.

While a panic attack can sometimes last only a few minutes, the effects of such an experience can be permanent. In an anxiety disorder, the recurring panic attacks take their emotional toll.

The memory of the intense fear you felt during the attack can negatively affect your self-confidence and disrupt your social life.

This puts you in a vicious circle. This can even lead to the following symptoms of an anxiety disorder:

  1. Anticipatory Anxiety: This refers to not being able to relax during the period between panic attacks. You also feel constantly anxious and tense in the meantime. This fear stems from the fear of future panic attacks. This is also called “fear of anxiety” and is a symptom of people with an anxiety disorder. It is often paralyzing.
  2. Phobic Avoidance Behavior: This is the fear you feel when you are in a situation that previously triggered a panic attack. Because of this, you start to avoid certain situations or environments. Avoidance is based on the belief that the situation or environment is triggering another panic attack because you experienced it last time. Another example is avoiding places where it’s hard to escape when you’re having a panic attack. Because you are ashamed of a panic attack, you want to be able to escape quickly. The superlative of this form is agoraphobia.

Panic attacks when you have agoraphobia

With agoraphobia you often think that people are afraid of public or open spaces. Square fear is caused as a result of experiencing multiple panic attacks.

When you have agoraphobia ( agoraphobia ), you are afraid of having a panic attack in a situation that is difficult to escape or a situation that is embarrassing.

You are often also afraid of having a panic attack in a situation where you cannot get help.

Because of these fears you avoid more and more situations or spaces. For example, you avoid crowded places, such as a shopping center or a gym.

It can even be so intense that you prefer to avoid cars, planes, subways or other means of transport. In the worst case, you don’t even feel safe at home.

Although agoraphobia can develop at any time, it often occurs within a year of experiencing multiple panic attacks.

Situations and environments that you would rather avoid during a panic attack:

  • You don’t want to be too far from home or don’t want to go too far from home without the presence of a person you feel safe with.
  • You avoid sports or other physical exertion because of the belief that this can trigger a panic attack.
  • You prefer not to visit places where it is difficult to escape, such as a restaurant, theater, shops or public transport.
  • You avoid places where it would be embarrassing to have a panic attack. An example of this is a social gathering or your work.
  • You do not eat or drink any products that you think can trigger a panic attack. Common examples of this are alcohol, caffeine or medicines.

The causes of a panic attack

While the exact causes of a panic attack are unclear, a hereditary factor may play a role.

In addition, panic attacks are more likely to occur during certain life events or situations, such as graduation, job interviews, getting married, or first becoming a parent.

Also, severe stress from the death of a loved one, divorce, or job loss can trigger the panic attack. The same goes for fatigue.

Panic attacks can also be caused by a medical condition or other physical causes.

If you are experiencing certain symptoms of a panic attack, it is recommended that you visit your doctor to rule out the following causes:

  • Mitral valve prolapse; this is a minor heart problem that occurs when one of the heart valves does not close properly.
  • Hyperthyroidism; an overactive thyroid.
  • Hypoglycemia; low blood sugar.
  • Using stimulants such as amphetamines, cocaine, or caffeine.

Tips to prevent or cure panic attacks

The good news is that panic attacks and anxiety disorders are treatable. The treatment can consist of a therapy, medication or strategies, which you can apply yourself.

Below we discuss the different therapies, medications and strategies that can help you prevent or remedy a panic attack.

 

Therapies

The therapies for the treatment of a panic attack can be distinguished into cognitive behavioral therapy and exposure therapy.

Cognitive behavioral therapy

Following cognitive behavioral therapy is especially advisable if you want to prevent an anxiety disorder.

Cognitive behavioral therapy has been shown to outperform other therapies in multiple studies.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is generally seen as the most effective way to prevent a panic attack.

The same applies to the treatment of an anxiety disorder or agoraphobia. Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on thinking patterns and behaviors that trigger or trigger the panic attack.

This therapy helps you assess your fears more realistically. For example, if you had a panic attack while driving, you may wonder what the worst could happen.

During a panic attack, you probably drive the car to the side of the road. In such a case, it is not likely that you will have an accident or a heart attack.

Once you discover that this cannot happen or that other catastrophic things can happen, the experience of the panic becomes less intense and terrifying.

In the video below, Emily Anhalt  (clinical psychiatrist ) tells  you more about why you should try therapy. She has experience as a psychologist and client.

Exposure therapy

This therapy involves exposing yourself to the physical sensation of panic in a safe and controlled environment. This gives you the opportunity to better handle the situation.

An example of this is being asked to hyperventilate by holding your breath and shaking your head vigorously.

This may sound a bit strange. However, this exercise creates a certain situation, which resembles one of the symptoms of panic. With each exercise you become less afraid, because you have a greater sense of control over the panic.

If you have agoraphobia, they even go a step further. Then you are also exposed to the situations that you fear or avoid.

You are exposed to the situation just as often, until the panic subsides. Through this experience, you learn that the situation is not triggering the panic attack and that you have more control over your emotions.

Medication

Medications can also be used to temporarily control or reduce some of the symptoms of panic disorder. However, it is important to realize that this does not solve the problem.

Medication is most effective in combination with other treatments, such as therapy or lifestyle changes, that address the causes of panic disorder.

The drugs that are often used in a panic attack are:

  • Antidepressants: These only start to work after a few weeks. It is therefore important to use it continuously and not just during the panic attack.
  • Benzodiazepines: these are so-called anti-anxiety drugs that work quickly. These drugs often work within half an hour to an hour. Taking the benzodiazepines during a panic attack can provide some relief from the symptoms. The downside of these drugs is that they are addictive and also have severe withdrawal symptoms. As with all medicines, these should be used in moderation.

Medication can be helpful in severe cases, but should never be the only form of treatment.

Self strategies

If you’re having a panic attack, professional treatment such as cognitive and exposure therapy, and medications can make a big difference.

However, there are also various strategies that you can easily apply yourself to prevent and remedy a panic attack due to stress.

Read these tips below:

Tip 1: Stop smoking, alcohol and caffeine

People who are prone to a panic attack should stop smoking, alcohol and caffeine. These can trigger the panic attack.

In addition, be careful with medications that contain stimulants. Examples include diet pills or sleeping pills. These can also trigger the panic attack.

Tip 2: Do relaxation exercises

When you regularly do relaxation exercises, such as yoga, meditation or mindfulness, this ensures a better relaxation response of the body.

This is the opposite of a stress response, which you have during a panic attack or anxiety disorder. These exercises not only provide more relaxation.

They also increase the feeling of happiness. So try to make time every day for doing relaxation exercises.

Tip 3: Visit family and friends

Anxiety thrives on loneliness or when you feel alone and isolated. So also regularly visit friends, acquaintances or family. Also, try to talk to them about your problems. Or go do something fun with them.

If you feel like you don’t have anyone to go to, look for ways to do it and build friendships or contacts.

For example, register with a (sports) association or visit initiatives where you do something as a group. So not without you.

Tip 4: Exercise regularly

When you exercise or move, this ensures that the fear is less. This need not be more than half an hour a day and can be divided into three sessions of ten minutes.

It is recommended to do rhythmic movements, in which you have to move both your arms and legs. Examples include walking, running, swimming or dancing.

Tip 5: Sleep enough

Insufficient sleep or restless sleep can also make you feel anxious and have panic attacks more quickly. Getting a good night’s sleep means at least seven to nine hours of continuous sleep.

Tip 6: Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness can help you unwind. Because panic attacks can create a sense of detachment or separation from reality, if you notice a panic attack coming on, this can help calm you down.

Focus on the physical sensations, such as digging your feet in the sand or feeling the texture of your jeans on your hand. These particular sensations give you something to focus on as you unwind.

Tip 7: Relativize your fear

By recognizing that you are having a panic attack instead of a heart attack, you can remind yourself that this is temporary, that it will pass and that you are fine.

This takes away the fear that you might die or that something threatening is coming your way. Both symptoms of a panic attack.

This gives you the opportunity to focus on other techniques to reduce the symptoms of a panic attack.

Tip 8: Use lavender oil

Lavender is known for its calming and stress relieving effect. It can help your body relax.

If you know you are prone to panic attacks, keep some lavender essential oil with you and place some on your forearms when you experience a panic attack.

Inhale the fragrance. You can also try drinking lavender or chamomile tea. Both are relaxing and soothing.

Lavender should not be combined with benzodiazepines. This combination can cause intense drowsiness.

Tip 9: Focus your attention

Some people find it helpful to find one object to focus all of their attention on during a panic attack.

Choose an object in view and be aware that anything is possible. For example, you may notice how the clock hand bounces as it ticks, and that it is slightly skewed.

Prevent And Remediate Stress Panic Attack

Describe the patterns, colors, shapes and dimensions of the object to yourself in your head. Focus all your energy on this object and your panic symptoms may subside.

Tip 10: Take a deep breath to Prevent and Remediate Stress Panic Attack

While hyperventilation is a symptom of panic attacks that can increase anxiety, taking deep breaths during an attack can reduce the symptoms of panic.

If you can control your breathing, you’ll be less likely to experience hyperventilation that can make other symptoms — and the panic attack itself — worse.

Concentrate on breathing deeply in and out through your mouth, feeling the air slowly fill your chest and abdomen, then release the air slowly. Inhale for about four seconds, hold for a moment and then exhale slowly for four seconds.

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