A panic attack is a sudden surge of overwhelming anxiety and fear. Your heart pounds and you can’t breathe. You feel dizzy and sick to your stomach. You may even feel like you’re dying or going crazy. Left untreated, panic attacks can lead to panic disorder and other problems. They may even cause you to withdraw from normal activities. But panic is treatable – and the sooner you seek help, the better. With treatment, you can reduce or eliminate the symptoms of panic and regain control of your life.
Symptoms of a Panic Attack
- raging heartbeat
- difficulty breathing, feeling as though you 'can't get enough air
- terror that is almost paralyzing
- nervous, shaking, stress
- heart palpitation, feeling of dread
- dizziness, lightheadedness or nausea
- trembling, sweating, shaking
- choking, chest pains, distress
- fear, fright, afraid, anxious
- hot flashes, or sudden chills
- tingling in fingers or toes ('pins and needles')
- fearful that you're going to go crazy or are about to die
How To Stop Anxiety Attacks There are articles on this site about relaxation and breathing correctly for overcoming anxiety attacks. These sorts of exercises are useful tools to have in your prevention kit.
They are much better ones than carrying a tablet or packet of mints around with you, because they teach you how to rely on yourself. Drugs may calm you down, but so can you – and you’re confidence levels will increase if you can start to rely on yourself for dealing with an anxiety attack.
Relaxing can pose a threat to some people who suffer with panic and anxiety attacks; it can actually provoke an attack rather than working as an anxiety treatment. This apparent contradiction can seem mystifying, but not if you understand that tension and stress can be used as a defense against unwelcome thoughts, feelings and anxiety symptoms.
For some people, letting that stress and tension go can feel like opening the flood gates. Without understanding this, it can be most distressing. There you are trying to take positive action in overcoming anxiety attacks, and it appears to have the opposite effect. If this happens to you, try to go with it. Listen to those voices within you. Ignoring them can’t possibly help. Listen to what they have been trying to tell you and acknowledge them. If you find this too difficult to do alone, a supportive friend or relative might be able to help.
I know that sometimes people feel uncomfortable talking to those they know well about difficult, personal issues (like dealing with and overcoming anxiety), so finding a counselor, therapist or psychologists might be the answer. Taking time to talk out your inner fears and worries is an excellent preventative measure. We all need to let off steam and talk through problems with someone. Therapists and counselors understand anxiety attacks extremely well and can provide the supportive environment you need to be able to do this with confidence.
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