A panic attack is an intense episode of sudden fear that happens when there’s no obvious threat or danger. In some cases, you’ll mistake the symptoms of a Body During A Panic Attack with a heart attack. All over the world, the governments are least bothered with the existing mental health crisis among their subjects.
Countries like India spend as low as 33 paise on a mental health sufferer in a whole year. As they are not interested in mental health, we as citizens should be, because, in 2017, a survey showed that 792 million people suffer from mental disorders—that is a whopping 10% of the global population.
It may not be possible to prevent the Body During A Panic Attack, but you can work to reduce your symptoms. So, today we are going to talk about its symptoms, general triggers, and treatments. Let’s get started!
Panic attack symptoms
Here are some of the common symptoms which will help you identify when a person is having a panic attack.
- Sense of impending doom or danger
- Fear of loss of control or death
- Rapid, pounding heart rate
- Trembling or shaking
- Shortness of breath or stiffness in your throat
- Hot flashes
- Abdominal cramping
- Chest pain
- A feeling of unreality or detachment
If you have four or more of these symptoms, then you are having a panic attack. Many people mistake panic attacks for heart attacks, but panic attacks aren’t life-threatening.
What happens to your body?
Your body’s fight or flight response is behind these panic attacks. Normally once you encounter a threat, your nervous system springs into action. The hormone adrenaline floods into your bloodstream and puts your body on high alert. Your heartbeat quickens and sends more blood to your muscles.
Your breathing becomes fast and shallow, so you’ll absorb more oxygen. Your blood glucose spikes, your senses get sharper. These happen in a moment and provide you with the energy you would like to use/tackle in a dangerous situation.
Panic attacks can happen randomly. Certain triggers may be involved, but there are also chances of it happening by chance. Physical changes can be noticed an hour before the attack. It includes sweating, fast breathing, an increase in heart activity, and the symptoms mentioned above. During panic attacks, the adrenaline levels within the body can spike by 2 1/2 times or more.
General triggers that cause panic attacks
People going through these have a high chance of experiencing panic attacks:
- having a family history of panic attacks
- having a history of childhood abuse
- working or living in a high-stress situation
- experiencing a traumatic event
- undergoing a major life change
- losing a loved one
What is panic disorder?
Panic disorder occurs when an individual experiences recurring panic attacks. People with this disorder sleep in fear of getting a panic attack. You will be having a panic attack once you feel the sudden, overwhelming terror that has no obvious cause. You will experience physical symptoms, like a racing heart, breathing difficulties, and sweating.
Many people experience a panic attack once in their lives.
Panic attack treatment
Recognizing you’re having a panic attack rather than a heart attack, you’ll remind yourself that this is temporary, it’ll pass, that you’re ok. Try to deduct the fear that you could be dying, or that impending doom is looming (both symptoms of panic attacks). This will allow you to concentrate on other techniques to scale back your symptoms.
2. Close your eyes
A fast-paced environment can be a stimulus for your panic attack. To reduce its effects, close your eyes during a panic attack. This will stop any extra stimulus and would help you to focus on your breathing.
3. Focus on deep breathing
Hyperventilating is a symptom of panic attacks which can increase fear. Deep breathing has been proven effective to reduce the symptoms of panic during an attack.
Focus on taking deep breaths. Feel the air slowly fill your chest, and belly then slowly leave them again. Inhale till a count of four, hold for a second, and then exhale for a count of four.
4. Find a focus object and practice mindfulness
People find it easier to find a single object and focus all of their attention on that particular object. It helps them to forget about their attack. Pick an object near at sight and note everything about it possible.
Mindfulness brings you back to the reality of what’s around you. Panic attacks can make you feel separated from reality. This approach helps you to remove that insecurity from your mind.
For example, you have a diary in front of you. Feel the texture of the diary cover, notice patterns, color, shapes, and size. Try to notice every small detail like you have never done before. These small sensations help to bring you back to reality. Focus on all of your energy, and your panic symptoms may settle.
5. Picture your happy place
What’s the most relaxing place in the world you love to visit? It could be a sunny beach, or it could be a small cabin in the mountains. It could also be a peaceful place that you had visited once.
Try remembering it with as much detail as possible. Imagine the smell of burning wood or digging your toes into the warm sand. If you are a city person, try to imagine calm places and avoid the city with all your might.
6. Try lavender tea or essential oils
Lavender is known to be a good stress reliever. If you are prone to panic disorder, keep some lavender essential oil near you. Put some on your hand and breathe in the scent. You could also try lavender tea as it is relaxing and soothing.
7. Have a personal mantra
Repeating a mantra internally is often relaxing and reassuring. It can offer you something to grasp onto during a panic attack. Try to have a mantra that speaks to you personally in a loop till the ordeal subsides.
8. Seeing a doctor
If the above-mentioned treatments don’t work, then consulting with your doctor would be the best option. They might suggest benzodiazepines as it helps to suppress panic attacks if taken before or during the attack. This drug is only available through prescription.
So a proper diagnosis is needed. The doctor could also suggest therapy as it would help you to “retrain” your brain to differentiate between real and perceived threats.
So, we learned that panic attacks aren’t life-threatening, but they could make you feel like everything is going to end or there is an impending doom waiting for them. It is preventable to a certain extent by controlled breathing, focus, etc.
If you feel like it is recurring, then consulting a doctor would be the best option. Maintaining a good diet, reducing stress, and getting help may help you avoid more panic attacks in the future.
If you found this article to be helpful, then do share it with your friends and family members and spread the good word. If you have any ideas that you want to share with us, feel free to do so. Thank you for reading this article, and have a great day!