Panics attacks (also known as anxiety attacks) occur when you feel a sudden and overwhelming feeling of intense and acute anxiety. Certain situations, places or thoughts may trigger a panic attack or they may occur spontaneously, without warning. How often you experience panic attacks depends on the person and the situations they encounter.
Panic Disorder is when you experience panic attacks which are recurring and also frequent, for no apparent reason.
What to do if you’re having a Panic Attack
- Step 1: Accept that you are having a Panic Attack: If you try to resist or fight the fact that you are having a panic attack, this may make your anxiety worse. It is not life-threatening, so try your best to focus on the fact that the attack will eventually end.
- Step 2: Try to think about something positive or relaxing: Picture a positive or relaxing situation in your mind – try to focus on one thing in particular.
Step 3: Focus on your breathing: Try to take slower and deeper breaths. Try counting on each breath in and out: after 5 breaths (in and out) try to increase the number of seconds (e.g. from 2 (secs) in, 2 out to 3 in, 3 out) – to make each breath longer.
- Intense feelings of anxiety
- Nausea (feeling sick)
- Heart palpitations
- Pounding of your heartbeat
- Chest pains
- Feeling faint
- Feeling unable to breathe
- Feeling like you aren’t connected to your own body
- Thoughts of intense fear
- Thoughts of overwhelming anxiety
- Feeling like you’re having a heart attack
- Feeling like you’re going to die
These are not the only symptoms of panic attacks, I just listed the most common ones.
Panic Attacks can be caused by a wide range of situations and things.
Some causes are: severe stress or anxiety for a combination of reasons, losing a job, divorce, bereavement, a traumatic experience, genetics or by a medical condition.
Some things you can do to reduce your risk of panic attacks are: exercising, changing your diet, relaxing and using relaxation techniques, practicing yoga or meditation etc.