Mental Health

What is a Panic Attack?

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Posted By Alex Perez - Mental Health Writer, B.A.

A Panic Attack is a physical manifestation of anxiety. Panic attacks usually consume a person suddenly and may feel scary for someone enduring a panic attack.

Symptoms of a Panic Attack may include:

  • Rapid breathing or hyperventilation
  • Shaking
  • Intense Fear
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Feeling loss of control
  • Restlessness
  • Chest Pain
  • Crying
  • Yelling or screaming

Panic attacks can vary in intensity. Some people may feel the attack so intense that they go to the emergency room. However, if what you’re experiencing is a panic attack, there is little doctors can do but to calm you down.

Biologically, our brains are wired to respond to fear known as the “fight or flight” response. This response actually also includes freezing and fawning as well. When met with a threatening situation, our brains tell our body that there is a dangerous situation happening and we need to “panic” to save our lives.

In modern-day society, however, we rarely are faced with life-threatening situations the way our predecessors have. When a caveman was walking through the forest and he came across a saber-toothed tiger he was happy to have his fight-or-flight response triggered in order to get that extra energy he needed to survive.

However, for someone with anxiety, a trigger may elicit the same response in the form of a panic attack. Triggers are things or situations that make someone feel insecure and unsafe.

Triggers for panic attacks can be obvious or it can be subconscious. For example, someone may feel triggered and experience a panic attack when on an airplane after seeing a crash. Sometimes, the association is subconscious and the triggers for panic attacks seem “random.” For example, it may be that a girl gets a panic attack whenever she is in science class. She doesn’t understand why until she realizes that she was in science class when receiving news of a parent dying.

Treatment for Panic Attacks

treatment for panic attacks

Panic Attacks can be cured naturally and therapeutically through therapy and mindfulness techniques.

Mindfulness techniques such as grounding can be helpful during a panic attack. Grounding includes noticing things around the room to distract you from the anxiety you are experiencing. For example, naming 5 things in the room is a grounding technique that causes you to focus on objects outside of yourself.

 Mantras can also be helpful during a panic attack. Some mantras to consider include:

  • “I am safe”
  • “This feeling is temporary.”
  • “I am not how I feel.”
  • “This will pass and everything will be okay.”

Therapy can also help explore the insecurities and fears you are experiencing that elicit your panic attacks. Working through those fears and insecurities can help you be more aware of your triggers and more cognizant of your thought processes when confronting your triggers. Being able to actively reroute your thoughts can relieve symptoms of a panic attack step by step until you stop feeling panic attacks all together. This teaching of rerouting your thoughts is a common practice of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

Deep breathing can also help during panic attacks. Because panic attacks are a very physical response to a mental or emotional trigger, deep breathing can help bring your physical self back to baseline. As your body loosens it’s tension, it may be easier to feel safer emotionally as well.

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Panic Away

This anxiety program has been designed by bestselling author Barry McDonagh. Helping to End Panic Attacks and General Anxiety Attacks Naturally

In the past 10 years, The Panic Away Program has touched over 70,000+ lives in 32 countries worldwide. Everyone has used it from soccer moms to famous celebrities.

symptoms of a panic attack
Infographic Symptoms of a Panic Attack

NHS.UK, Panic Disorder

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