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Health Tips - Panic Attacks

Panic disorder affects 2 to 3 percent of people in the United States per year, and it is twice as likely to occur in women than in men. Individuals with panic disorder tend to have spontaneous panic attacks , and they therefore become preoccupied with the fear that they may happen again, at any time. The condition can interfere with many aspects of the person's life, causing them to avoid work or school and avoid situations wherein they fear a panic attack may occur.

Many people with panic disorder are embarrassed or afraid to tell anyone about what they experience, instead distancing themselves from family and friends who could be supportive. Panic disorder is highly responsive to treatment. Building a toolbox of self-help strategies can be effective in helping you to manage your symptoms without living in fear. Here are Medical News Today 's tips for coping with panic disorder. The first step in overcoming your panic disorder symptoms is to understand what is happening in your body when you experience an attack.

Gathering knowledge about the disorder and working out your underlying triggers can be a starting point for dealing with the condition. Anxiety is a normal part of the body's "fight-or-flight" response to uncertainty, feeling unprepared, or trouble, which prepares us to act quickly in the face of danger. Panic disorder results from misinterpreting sensations linked with the fight-or-flight response as dangerous, which triggers an uncomfortable and often frightening barrage of symptoms - also known as a panic attack. Living in fear of having a panic attack and therefore avoiding situations that may cause them can often create more situations and more avoidance in a never-ending cycle of fear and anxiety.

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While the response may make you feel as though you are going crazy or dying, you are not. Once you understand what panic disorder is and why you are experiencing the symptoms, you can begin to learn to cope with them. The goal is not to eliminate the attacks, but to find a way to manage them without fear. Relaxation strategies can also halt the production of stress hormones such as adrenalin, which proves that we are not in any danger.

When we are anxious, we tend to breathe faster, or even hyperventilate. This is commonly called overbreathing, and it can cause us to feel lightheaded and dizzy, and even more anxious as a result. Calm breathing can help to reduce some of these physical symptoms. Try practicing calm breathing twice per day for at least 5 minutes.

Calm breathing regulates your intake of oxygen and prevents the dizziness, lightheadedness, and tingling sensations that are connected with overbreathing. The goal of deep muscle relaxation is to learn to eliminate muscular tension and stress. Deep muscle relaxation should be practiced every day as a prevention mechanism, not just when you feel panic and stress. First, you need to tense particular muscle groups in your body, such as your neck and shoulders. Next, you need to release that tension.

Set aside around 15 minutes to complete deep muscle relaxation. Another common symptom of a panic attack is derealization, an unnerving feeling of being disoriented. People can feel ashamed about their panic attacks and become very self-critical. Instead of pointing fingers, talk to yourself in positive ways. Take out an ice cube and hold it to your hand for as long as you can you can put the cube in a paper towel.

How you react to a panic attack can reduce collateral damage

Then, place the ice cube on your other hand. This focuses your mind on the discomfort, de-escalating your symptoms.

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Stimulate your mind. Engage in activities that stimulate your brain and keep you busy, such as getting outside, exercising or taking a shower. Learn deep breathing. Shallow breathing can cause hyperventilation, but deep breathing helps to slow down a panic attack. Learn how to practice deep breathing.

How you react to a panic attack can reduce collateral damage

Hot Topics Today 1. Caregivers Die First. The aim of the below exercise is to take compassion deeper, to manage the emotional ripple. The idea is to move from cognitive understanding of compassion, to directly experiencing its texture and energetic sensation:. Find a relaxed, quiet space. Sit down. Close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths into the diaphragm. Focus on the gentle rise and fall of the stomach.

Do this for a few minutes.

How to Halt and Minimize Panic Attacks

Now, visualise your recent panic attack. You may notice an emotional response; your heart may begin racing, thoughts may spiral. This is okay. As you relive the scene from your perspective, imagine floating outside of your body. Now you see yourself from a perspective, some distance away. Notice the change in your physiology.

Do you feel calmer? Next, imagine looking at your distant self through the eyes of someone who loves you. Imagine a ray of bright white light, expanding from your heart. This is the warm light of love and compassion.

How to Halt and Minimize Panic Attacks

Feel it flow from your heart centre, into the heart centre of your distant self. Notice as your distant self fills with this bright, warm light. You see anxiety ease, a smile appear, breathing slow. A change in body language reflects a new sense of serenity and calm. Now, visualise floating back into your body. See the incident from this new, relaxed perspective.