How to Stop a Panic Attack?
The Symptoms of Panic
Every individual is different and people experience different symptoms when suffering from anxiety and panic, but there are common things that happen to the physiology of the body.
Before and during a panic attack there is a clear pattern which emerges when a person is experiencing the different stages of panic. An individual’s thoughts trigger physical symptoms and this effects a person’s actions. When an attack takes place there are many scary sensations which happen. If you are reading this then you may have experienced these for yourself they include-
• You will feel your heart beating rapidly which is often accompanied by skipping beats or having 'palpitations'. This is particularly unpleasant sensation and can often lead to negative thoughts such as ‘Am I going to have a heart attack or ‘Is my heart going to stop’.
• Peoples breathing rate will increase which is often what causes the palpitations as the fight or fight response ‘kicks in’ and adrenaline is pumped around the body system.
• Sometimes there is a feeling that you need more air and you will be constantly over breathing (hyperventilation) even in an anxiety state. This is again a very uncomfortable sensation and it leaves the body tense and unable to relax.
• Headaches, tension in the chest, or pains in other places are another common symptom. Basically when the body panics, a person’s muscles tense up. Often there will be a feeling of tightness around the brow of the sufferers head like someone has placed a metal bar around their head. A person in this state would not be able to think clearly as the mind shuts down just wanting them to escape from a situation.
• Tightness in the throat and not being able to swallow properly are very common. This is simply your body not wanting to perform unnecessary actions such as eating when it perceives you should be protecting yourself and escaping. When a person has reached a very high anxiety state they can often lose weight as they have a low appetite and they burn lots of energy being in a high state of panic.
• Being that a sufferer’s body is not in sync and they have lots of nervous energy, people often find they need to go to the toilet more.
• A feeling of wanting to be sick can sometimes be felt. As the body is under stress this feeling can happen and is often felt just by normal people minutes before an exam or their wedding!
• A feeling of dizziness or that your legs may give way. Again this is just your body sending you fake signals to fight or flight.
• Tingling or numbness in the hands, fingers and lips can happen and this ties into the whole flight or fight response as the body shuts down the blood supply to the unnecessary part of the bodies.
• Trembling or shaking often incurs when a panic attack is at its worse. This is simply adrenaline and nervous energy kicking in with the individual unable to burn off the energy supplied by the body.
• Sweating or hot flushes are often experienced by the sufferer – again an adrenaline/stress response.
• Weird sensations can develop such as a sense you are no longer in your body and that you are almost detached looking down on the situation. This is a tired mind again playing tricks on you.
People in a high anxiety state can also be very sensitive to light such as TV’s and undertaking visual activities such as reading can sometime trigger panicky feelings.
The above list is some of the most common sensations but we are all different and we will experience symptoms which may or may not fit a standard. The important thing is to visit a doctor and have a thorough examination to make sure no physical issues are causing these problems. Once the Doctor has told you there is nothing physically wrong, you then have to BELIEVE nothing is wrong and then you can start to recover and heal yourself.
Your thoughts are really the key to this. It’s your thoughts that are making you ill. When a panic attack happens, there is a tendency to think the worst and think something bad will happen. A person can have numerous fears that can set the cycle of panic in motion below are just a few -
-The pain in my chest must mean I’m having a heart attack
-My legs are wobbly I’m sure I will faint
-The tightness in my body means I can’t breathe and suffocate
-I can’t think straight I must be going mad
-I going to do something completely stupid and make a fool of myself
The reality is none of these things happen and you survive to make another day. Panic attacks sufferers can have this cycle of panic several times a day over many years but apart from feeling awful nothing worse than that actually happens. To the person experiencing the attack the whole episode is frightening, and it’s difficult for a friend or relative to comprehend how scared their feeling.
THE SYMPTOMS YOU MAY EXPERIENCE DURING A PANIC ATTACK
Resources that will help
Self Help for Your Nerves: Learn to relax and enjoy life again by overcoming stress and fear One of the first books I read on panic attacks and still one of the best. I would say if your going to read any book first, read this one. First published in the 1960's its been updated many times, but some of the best modern-day books still have the same principles running through them. For first aid for a panic attack this is still the best book out there in my opinion. For a programme for recovery its not the best as we know far more on what contributes to panic attacks and how to cure them. For its time its was revoloutionary. Claire Weeks has sadly passed away but she did recordings and other books as well - Click Here .
Understanding Panic Attacks: and Overcoming Fear
A very thorough and popular book on panic attacks. The book is easy to read and has a lot of common sense techniques. It gives a great deal of information on the back ground leading to panic attacks and goes behind the biology of panic attacks. It focuses on cognitive behavioural therapy tools to help you and a lot of the practical advice I advocate is in this book.
Panic Attacks: What they are, why the happen, and what you can do about them: What They Are, Why They Happen and What You Can Do About Them A book thats over ten years old but the same principles apply to day as they did then. A good book that covers what to do whilst having a panic attack and an interesting chapter on how to help others with panic attacks. It has some useful tips and will be helpful for anyone suffering with panic attacks, anixiety and agrophobia.
Anxiety and Panic Attacks - Their Cause and Cure An Amercian book and definately one of favourites. Fun, easy to read and has a stepped program to recovery. This book taught me some things I did'nt know about panic attacks and is written by someone who has gone through it. The author has also set up a very useful organisation that helps people recover. The book was written in 1993 but everything is still completly relevant.
How to Stop Anxiety & Panic Attacks: A Simple Guide to using a specific set of Techniques to Stop Panic Attacks, Agoraphobia, Social Phobia, Fear of Driving or Flying and Stress Written by a fellow panic attack sufferer who really has a personable approach to panic attacks. The book really goes in depth in the emotional and psychological factors. The description of panic disorder was exactly how I felt and you can definately feel empathy with how he describes the struggles involved. Geert (the author) also has produced good videos on you tube and a helpful program at ilovepanicattacks. Highly recommended.
Free Yourself From Anxiety: A self-help guide to overcoming anxiety disorders A book with a very caring attitude for anxious people with some great case studies of people who have various anxiety related issues. Lots of sensible, useful and practical information you can apply to everyday life.
Relaxtion / Hypnosis Cd's - Contrary to what they claim should be used as a relaxation aid rather than any quick fix Thoroughly recommend you read through the description of the Cd to make sure you know what they contain. Some techniques may work better than others for you, so taylor them to suit your needs.
Hypnosis Cd for Panic and Anxiety Attacks
A very good hypnosis Cd thats especially produced for panic attack sufferers. The more you use it and apply the techniques the more benefit you will get.
Control Stress : Stop Worrying and Feel Good Now I have included this in the Cd section but the bulk of the information is in a book format. Paul Mckenna is one of the most famous hypnotists, and this book/Cd gives sound practical advice on decreasing stress. The book has lots of techniques and tips which need to be applied and can bring a sense of reality when you might start thinking negative thoughts.
Glen Harrold hypnosis cds Glenn Harrold has produced lots of different Cd's from weight loss to inner clam. They certainly helped me in my recovery and I would recommend them fully. If you click on the link you can search through the Cd's he has produced and see if any catch your fancy.
Ultimate Relaxation A guided meditation by the well known Dr Hilary Jones (you have probably seen him on morning TV). Contains tips and techniques on relaxation.
Dream Surf If you like the sound of the ocean then this will be the Cd for you.
Body and Soul - Relaxation: Resting the Mind Reviving the Body If you like just gentle soothing music without any hypnosis, meditation or talking then I recommend this.
You can find some FREE meditation and relaxtions audios at excelatlife
If you want to record your own relaxation recordings then I have relaxation scripts/exercises you can record yourself. I good way to do this is record them on your mobile phone and listen to the exercises when you need to.
Charles Linden - Conquer Anxiety and Panic Attacks [DVD] Charles Linden has a very good programme to recover from panic attacks and this DVD supplements that. Contains lots of tools to relieve panic attacks and if you like what you see you can always join the program.
Hypoglycemia is a condition that occurs when your blood sugar (glucose) is too low. Panic attacks can be caused by this. Whether you have the condition or not its so impotatnt to keep your blood sugars stable to feel well. Too much sugar and you may feel great for a while, then the crash. Diet is one of the must under-rated aspects of getting better and reducing the horrible symptoms of anxiety.
There are two books that I have read on this sudject - New Low Blood Sugar and You: The Startling Facts of How Millions of People Suffer from Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar) without Knowing it - The Simple Diet That Can Completely Eliminate This Disease & The Low Blood Sugar Handbook . Both go into great detail and have recipes, facts/figures, lists of foods you can eat and programmes to get well. The nature of the topic can mean that reading is heavy going but its worth at least reading one book on Hypoglycemia.
I have read several books on this subject and I would recommend either Anxiety Free: Stop Worrying and Quieten Your Mind - The Only Way to Oxygenate Your Brain and Stop Excessive and Useless Thoughts Featuring the Buteyko Breathing Method and Mindfulness orThe Breathing Book: Vitality and Good Health Through Essential Breath Work . Both tell you the benefits of deep breathing which will help reduce feelings of panic and anxiety, but you can also control your emotions much better if you breath correctly. If you are after listening to guided breathing through headphones than can find Breathing MP3 Downloads here.
Food & Drink
As part of my programme of recovery I strongly recommend that you remove caffine from your diet completely. That means no tea or coffee. I personally think a great substitute is Chamomile (calming properties) or Peppermint tea. If you buy from supermarkets it tends to be quite expensive. If you would like to buy in bulk then I would suggest Twinings Pure Camomile and Pure Peppermint tea .
If you suffer from palpitations some people recommend Pukka Clean Greens Powder - Organic Bio Nutrients - 120g Powder (I have not actually tried it myself). It comes in capsules as well but the powder is better value for money - 1 months supply for £25. Apparently it does not taste very good so be warned! Amazon seems to be the best price. You probably wonder what it is - its a herbal drink. You mix one tablespoon with a glass of water. Clean Greens contains antioxidants, chlorophyll, vitamins, trace minerals and enzymes, all of which can help you cope better with our polluted environment and diet. When using Clean Greens daily, you should notice improvements in your digestion, skin appearance and general wellbeing.
Mutivitamins & Minerals
Sometimes its recommended to take Mutivitamins & Minerals when your run down. Any help you can give your body to improve and cope with the burden of anxiety can only help you recover. I personally took vitamins for a while as I thought this would give my body extra help and a boost to cope with all the stresses placed upon it. If you feel you need that extra help then below are some popular Mutivitamins & Minerals tablets -
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