At some point in our lives, most of us will experience a panic attack in response to an actual danger or acute stress. But when panic attacks occur or recur for no reason and in the absence of danger or extreme stress, or when the fear of experiencing another attack is so strong that you change your behavior by avoiding certain places or people, you may have panic disorder.
There are key Aspects to Treat a panic attack:
- First aid
- Anxiety desensitization
- Lowering of thresholds
- Personality issues.
The first line of treatment is to learn to recognize the signs of possible attack—the heart fluttering, the shortness of breath, the trembling—and the need to take control through deep breathing, including counting to five or seven as you breathe in, hold, breathe out. You also want to deliberately relax your muscles. Distract your focus.
Rather than feeling always like a potential victim of your anxiety that can spring on you at any moment, by having an array of tools at your fingertips so that you feel more self-confident, and reduce the triggers that can feed the panic attack.
If you listen to your anxiety, your world gets smaller and smaller. The way to avoid going down this road is pushing back, not listening to the anxiety. The goal isn’t to not feel anxious, but to face anxiety and find out that what your anxiety is telling you will happen, will not actually happen.
Take baby steps but move forward. The key here is approaching the anxiety, rather than giving into it. The more you do this the better will be the sense of competence and confidence and making yourself more panic-attack resistant.
Last resort is to consider medication—anti-anxiety drugs or more commonly SSRI medications that lower overall anxiety. But there are other behavioral things you can do. Medications used to treat panic attacks and panic disorder include antidepressants, though they take several weeks to reach effectiveness. Benzodiazepines such as Ativan and Xanax work quickly. However they are addictive and should only be used for a short time.
Track your behavior. check-in with yourself every hour and on a scale of 1-10 with one being flat lined, 10 being in panic state, rate where they are at. When they start to get up to a four or five in terms of anxiety or irritability, they need to ask themselves what is going on. There is rational and irrational anxiety: Rational anxiety stems from a real problem—you haven’t heard back from your boss about the deadline for the project. If a real problem is nagging at you, take action, do something concrete like send an email following up. Put it to rest, don’t dither.
If irrational—no real problem is identified or your thoughts are just…irrational—that your cough will turn into lung cancer, that is a sign about calming yourself down with mindfulness, deep breathing, getting up and taking a brisk walk. Become more sensitive to your own moods and take action to avoid reaching that tipping point.
Other Preventive Behavior
the most well-known being exercise, yoga, and meditation. The key here is finding something that works for you and that you can and are willing to do on a daily basis.
By building these into your routines and knowing that you are taking decisive preventative action, you feel more in control and less in that reactive-victim mindset.