12 Ways to Stop a Panic Attack

Xanax contains boxed warnings. These are the most serious warnings issued by the Food and Drug Administration. These warnings are sent to patients and doctors as boxes.

If you stop using benzodiazepines suddenly, it can lead to withdrawal and physical dependence. Withdrawal can lead to serious health problems.

Misuse and addiction can also result from benzodiazepines. Overdose and death can be caused by misuse of benzodiazepines.

You should only take these drugs as prescribed by your doctor. If you have concerns about the safety of taking a benzodiazepine, talk to your healthcare provider.

How to stop panic attacks

Panic attacks can be scary and may hit you quickly. These are 12 strategies to help you manage panic attacks. While some may be helpful in the short term, others will help over the long-term.

1. Look for counseling

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and other types of Counseling can often help people who have panic attacks and who have panic disorders. CBT is designed to change how you view difficult or frightening situations, and to show you new ways of approaching these problems.

CBT can be offered online for individuals and groups. Treatment lengths can vary. Your therapist will expose your to something that may trigger panic attacks, and then help you get past it.

CBT may not only change behavior but also affect brain structures that can cause panic attacks.

Some 2018 highlights researchers Trusted Source found evidence that people who attended four weekly sessions of exposure-based CBT experienced changes in the neural pathways involved in panic symptoms. But, this is an early study. More research is needed.

2018 37 people in Korea attended a mindfulness-based program once a week for 4 weeks, to see if brief treatment would help reduce symptoms of panic disorder. The treatment included focusing on the heart rate as one aspect. Some people can experience cardiovascular symptoms when they panic attack.

Participants were able to better manage their symptoms by using their own thoughts after treatment. The study was small and did not include a control group. To find out how effective short term therapy is, more research is required.

2. Take medication

Benzodiazepines such as alprazolam, Xanax, and others can help treat the symptoms of panic when they occur.

However, they won’t help treat an underlying anxiety disorder and can quickly lead to dependence. They are only recommended for temporary use in times of crisis.

Because benzodiazepines are a prescription medication, you’ll likely need a panic disorder diagnosis to have the medication on hand.

Some doctors might prescribe anti-depressants to be used for long-term. Examples include:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as escitalopram (Lexapro) or fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), such as duloxetine (Cymbalta)
  • anti-anxiety drugs, for instance, azapirone (Buspirone)

Anxiety can be treated with anti-seizure drugs such as pregabalin, clonazepam or clonazepam.

What medications can be used to treat anxiety disorder

3. Deep breathing is a good idea

While hyperventilating is a symptom of panic attacks that can increase fear, deep breathing can reduce symptoms of panic during an attack.

In one study Trusted Source Published in 2017, the study included 40 participants who either joined a therapy group that used deep or diaphragmatic breath or a control group. Deep breathing was a 20-hour intensive training session that resulted in improvements in attention and emotional well being.

Blood tests also showed lower cortisol levels in this group, suggesting lower levels of stress. The strategies might help panic attack sufferers, even though the participants were not diagnosed with panic disorder.

Another group of scientists Trusted Source found that slow breathing could have similar effects. It could increase feelings of relaxation, comfort and alertness, as well as reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression and anger.

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

Breathe in deeply through your mouth and feel the air fill your abdomen and chest. Next, exhale slowly. For four counts, breathe in, hold it for one second, then exhale for four.

4. Recognize that you’re having a panic attack

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

Both symptoms of panic attacks are caused by fear. This will allow you to concentrate on other ways to reduce the symptoms.

Although it’s not always possible to avoid panic attacks, knowing what triggers them can help you recognize that panic attacks are triggered by panic attacks.

5. Close your eyes

Panic attacks can be caused by triggers that overwhelm you. If you’re in a fast-paced environment with a lot of stimuli, this can feed your panic attack.

To lower the stimuli close your eyes during your panic attack. This can help to block out other stimuli and allow you to focus more on your breathing.

6. Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness can help ground you in the reality of what’s around you. Since panic attacks can cause a feeling of detachment or separation from reality, this can combat your panic attack as it’s approaching or actually happening.

Mindfulness is:

  • Concentrate your attention on what is happening right now
  • recognizing the emotional state you’re in
  • Meditation can help reduce stress and relax.

Concentrate on the sensations that you are most familiar with. For example, digging your feet in the ground or feeling the texture and feel of your jeans. These sensations will help you to stay grounded in reality and give your mind something objective.

Experts say that mindfulness strategies, such as meditation, can help manage anxiety symptoms, although it’s not clear they can treat an underlying anxiety disorder.

American Family Physician recommended mindfulness as a strategy for dealing with panic and anxiety in 2015, saying it can be as helpful for reducing stress as CBT and other behavioral therapies.

Some researchTrusted Source has suggested that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy could help people with anxiety disorders who are receiving medical treatment but haven’t found drug treatment helpful.

Online meditation options

Read our review of the best online meditation options to help find the right fit for you.

7. Locate a focal object

Some people find it helpful to find something to focus all their attention on during a panic attack. You can choose one object that is clearly visible and take a conscious note of everything you can about it.

For example, you may notice how the hand on the clock jerks when it ticks, and that it’s slightly lopsided. The object’s size, shape, color, and patterns can be described to yourself. Concentrate all of your energy on the object and panic symptoms might disappear.

8. Use muscle relaxation techniques

Muscle tension can be a sign of anxiety. During an attack, muscle relaxation techniques can reduce tension. Progressive muscle relaxation aims to release tension in one group of muscles at a time to relax the whole body.

Much like deep breathing, muscle relaxation techniques can help stop your panic attack in its tracks by controlling your body’s response as much as possible.

The following might be offered to you if you have been attending muscle relaxation therapy steps Trusted Source:

  • You may first learn to relax your muscles and release tension.
  • Next, you’ll learn how to relax muscles without tensing.
  • You might also learn to relax certain sets of muscles (e.g., the shoulders) for everyday use.
  • You may also learn how to relax quickly. This is when you are able to identify tension areas and let it go as necessary.

Relax one muscle at a a time to relax your muscles at home. Start with your fingers and work your way up.

Muscle relaxation techniques will be most effective when you’ve practiced them beforehand.

9. Imagine your perfect place

Guided imagery techniques can help reduce stress and anxiety. Research Trusted Source suggests that both spending time in nature and visualizing nature can help treat and manage anxiety.

What’s the most relaxing place in the world that you can think of? A sun-kissed beach with gentle rolling waves. A mountain cabin?

Imagine yourself in that situation and focus your attention on the details. You can imagine digging your toes in warm sand and smelling the pine scent.

This place should be quiet, calm, and relaxing — no streets of New York or Hong Kong, no matter how much you love the cities in real life.

10. Do light exercises

Regular exercise has been shown to improve mental well-being and keep your body healthy, according to research.

Experts found that exercising at 60 to 90 percent of your maximum heart rate for 20 minutes three times per week can help reduce anxiety.

Before you start exercising if your doctor is not familiar with it. There are some things you can do to make it easier. evidence Trusted Source that starting aerobic exercise anew can trigger additional anxiety in people with an anxiety disorder. Your body will adjust to the changes and you can avoid breathing problems by building up slowly. Aerobic exercise can include running on a treadmill.

If you feel stressed or you’re hyperventilating or struggling to breathe, stop and take a rest or choose a more moderate option, such as walking, swimming, or yoga.

11. Lavender should always be on your side

Lavender is a traditional remedy that many people use to reduce stress and help them relax.

Research Trusted Source suggests it has a calming effect but doesn’t lead to dependence or cause withdrawal symptoms. The use of products containing diluted lavender oils may reduce anxiety or manage it.

However, essential oils are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Therefore, strengths and ingredients can vary greatly.

You should use lavender essential oils

  • Get your oil from a trusted source such as a pharmacy
  • Follow the instructions to use
  • Avoid applying concentrated oil directly on the skin
  • avoid using lavender with benzodiazepines because the combination can cause intense drowsiness

12. Internally repeat a mantra

Repetition of a mantra can help you relax and be reassuring when you are having panic attacks.

Whether it’s simply “This too shall pass,” or a mantra that speaks to you personally, repeat it on loop in your head until you feel the panic attack start to subside.

What is a panic attack?

You might feel dizzy, have difficulty breathing and feel like your heart is racing.

Panic attacks are sudden, intense surges of fear, panic, or anxiety. These panic attacks can be overwhelming and cause severe emotional as well as physical symptoms.

Some people will also experience chest pain and a feeling of detachment from reality or themselves during a panic attack, so they may think they’re having a heart attack. Some people feel like they’re having a stroke.

Causes

Panic attacks can happen Trusted Source for various reasons, and sometimes they happen for no apparent reason.

You’re more likely to experience them if you:

  • have panic disorder
  • have another anxiety disorder
  • use certain substances or have a substance use disorder
  • Use certain medications
  • have a medical condition, such as an overactive thyroid
  • have a condition that involves psychosis

A panic attack often happens when you’re exposed to a trigger, but triggers vary widely between people. There may not be a clear trigger in all cases.

Some people feel that the following could trigger an attack.

  • Social events
  • Public speaking
  • Conflict
  • Situations that bring back past or current stress in lif

Learn more about panic attacks and their triggers.

Symptoms

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) defines a panic attack as “an abrupt surge of intense fear or discomfort.”

They can occur suddenly and reach their peak in minutes.

Here are some symptoms to look out for if you experience panic attacks. might experience:

  • a pounding heart, palpitations, or rapid heart rate
  • You should sweat
  • Shaking or trembling
  • difficulty breathing or feeling as if you are choking or being smothered
  • chest pain or discomfort
  • nausea or stomach upset
  • Feeling dizzy, lightheaded, or faint
  • feeling unsteady
  • chills or feeling hot
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Feelings as if everything is impossible
  • feeling detached from yourself.
  • fear of losing control or “going crazy”
  • Fear of death

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Can you avoid panic attacks?

Although it is impossible to avoid panic attacks, the following steps can be taken. tips may help:

  • Every day, do some breathing exercises
  • get regular exercise
  • To avoid glucose spikes, eat a low-sugar diet and eat frequently.
  • avoid caffeine, smoking, and alcohol, as they may make anxiety worse
  • Seek counseling or other professional assistance
  • Ask your doctor if there are any local support groups.

While it is possible to avoid panic attacks by avoiding certain triggers, it is not always practical or feasible. Some experts encourage people to “ride out” the attack and continue doing things, if possible.

However, if a situation is likely to cause severe distress, consider waiting until you’ve worked with a professional to develop skills and strategies to help you cope.

When is it best to visit a doctor

Talking to a doctor if you are concerned about panic attacks is a good idea, especially if:

  • You already have one or more Trusted Source panic attacks and continue to worry about panic attacks for a month or longer.
  • You may notice a change in your behavior after an attack.
  • Fear or anxiety can affect your daily work, study, and personal life.

Summary

Many people suffer panic attacks. They feel like they are suddenly in control of their lives, but not knowing why.

It can feel very scary to feel completely breathless, or like you’re having a heart attack.

Panic attacks are unpredictable and can impact your daily life. But there are ways you can manage them. There are also treatments for anxiety and panic disorders that may be underlying conditions.

Talk to your doctor if you are concerned about panic attacks. You can talk to your doctor about how to manage panic attacks and minimize their impact. You may need counseling and medication, such as antidepressants.

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