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What to Do When You Have a Panic Attack

A Man in Distress

If you have ever been in situations where sudden feelings of intense anxiety took you over, accompanied by powerful physical symptoms such as dizziness and nausea, this blog is for you.

A panic attack is an anxiety attack that happens without any warning.  The symptoms of the attack can be very frightening. Some people feel that they are having a heart attack or even dying when they are having nothing but a panic attack in reality.

It is essential to recognize a panic attack. Knowing how to act at the moment can help you manage your symptoms. So what to do while having a panic attack? Here are four tried and tested ways:

1. Practice Deep Breathing

One of the most common pieces of advice to manage panic attacks is to engage in deep breathing. Deep breathing can help bring your attack under control.

Start by breathing slowly but deeply and concentrate on every breath. Breathe from the abdomen, gradually fill your lungs and count to 4 each time you inhale and exhale. Some people also like to use the 4-7-8 breathing technique. Under this technique, you need to breathe in for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds, and then exhale slowly for 8 seconds.

However, for some people, deep breathing can worsen panic attacks. If you are one of these people, try something else on this list.

2. Use Muscle Relaxation Techniques

Muscle tension is a widespread symptom of a panic attack. Practicing muscle relaxation techniques can help limit the attack. When you relax your muscles, your mind senses that your body is relaxing. As a result, other symptoms, such as nausea and rapid breathing may lessen.

Progressive muscle relaxation is a popular technique used to cope with panic and anxiety attacks. It involves creating tension and then relaxing your various muscles, turn by turn. To practice this technique, you should:

  1. Hold the tension for at least 5 seconds,
  2. Say “relax” as you release your muscle and,
  3. Let your muscle relax for 10 seconds before you move on to the next muscle.

3. Focus on an Object

Focusing all of your attention on one object during a panic attack is also one way to keep it under control. Pick an object which is in clear sight. Note everything about it in your conscience.

For example, focus on the wind chime above your door. You might notice how it moves as the wind blows through the door. Describe the movement, color, shape, size of the object to yourself. It would be best if you focused all of your energy on this object. Doing so will reduce the panic symptoms you are experiencing.

4. Smell Lavender                                                      

Lavender is a popular scent explicitly known for its soothing and stress-relieving properties. It relaxes your body and uplifts your mood. If you are used to having panic attacks or are prone to them, always keep some lavender essential oil on hand. During a panic attack, put some lavender oil on your forearms and breathe in the scent. You can also try drinking lavender tea.

Please note that you should not combine lavender with medicines that you are taking to manage a panic attack, such as benzodiazepines, since this combination can cause intense drowsiness. Please consult your doctor right away if you experience such symptoms. 

Get Medical Attention Today – Contact Health One Family Medicine

This brings us to the end of our list on what to do while having a panic attack. While the tips mentioned above can reduce the symptoms and relax your mind and body, they cannot prevent panic attacks nor guarantee that you won’t experience them again.

If you have panic attacks quite frequently, please visit Health One Family Medicine today. To make an appointment with a Health One Family Medicine physician, visit https://www.healthonemedicine.com/ or call (469)262-5762 today.

Author
Health One Family Medicine

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