Treatment for Panic Attacks
Treatment For Panic Attacks
If you have read my previous articles I hope you now have a much better understanding of what a panic attack is, and how to cure them. It’s my opinion after suffering from them myself for over ten years, that there are numerous techniques that can help you overcome panic disorder. Every person is unique, what will work for me, will not work necessarily for you in quite the same way. But there are FUNDEMANTAL TOOLS WHICH WILL BE OF BENEFIT FOR EVERYONE. These strategies will help you lift yourself out of the depression of panic attacks and get you enjoying life again.
I am not a medical professional and I would never say do not seek professional help. However, from experience I have found doctors help to be extremely limited. In the course of trying to cope with panic attacks I saw numerous doctors. Most of their help involved medication. One doctor did give me some literature to read which was useful but on the whole I knew the only person that was to help me - WAS ME. This will be the same for you – the only person who can really help you, IS YOU.
I believe medication can play a vital role in helping somebody make the first steps to recovery. When someone is lost in the panic attack world they are often undiagnosed and have no idea that they have anxiety and panic disorder. For me, when I was finally diagnosed with panic attacks I did not believe the doctor because I could not think my own thoughts, my own body was doing this to me.
My recovery only really started when I read everything I could on the subject. When I read other sufferers stories they perfectly described the panic attacks I was experiencing. When you see a doctor your just on a conveyer belt of patients and you can only spend a few minutes with them. If you’re lucky enough to get sent to a specialist then great, make the most of the opportunity. Most doctors will jump straight to the medication route and offer you tranquilisers. I am not against medication but I strongly believe this is the wrong treatment for a full longterm recovery.
When I went on medication for a short period it did relieve my symptoms especially my heart beating fast. It did give me some time to just get back on my feet and start taking those first brave attempts to put myself in situations which I knew would make me feel uneasy. But deep down I also knew the medication was masking and hiding the problem and I wanted to make a full recovery.
Growing up we get use to going to the doctor when we have an infection and taking some prescription antibiotics. In a few days the pain has gone. If you fall over and break a finger you go to the hospital. Within a few hours its bandaged up and you are on the road to healing and recovery. With panic attacks it’s very different. There is no magic bullet that is going to cure you instantly ultimately it’s down to you to work hard and to take on board on the things you will learn. None of us want to take on this battle but it’s something we must face up, ultimately YOU CAN OVER COME THIS.
My advice to you, with your doctor’s help, is to devise a program to come off the medication and start implanting the strategies you will learn from positive panic attacks. I also recommend lots of resources which will get you on the road to recovery.
My resource page lists programs that I used on the road to recovery that I would personally recommend. The programs are ones I have tried and found to be the most beneficial. There are also some great books which will give you valuable information and support. Remember there is some fantastic free information on the internet, but I have personally found that medical websites can be quite technical and sometimes even scaremongering with information which is not relevant to recovery.
The key to longer term success with panic attacks is changing your thoughts to overcome anxiety. There are also ways to short circuit and stop the anxiety and tension building into a full blown panic attack, and give you some breathing space to change how you think. As with most things practice, practice and more practice are the keys to building change on a permanent basis. An Olympic athlete would not just fall out of bed and win the 100m final; it would take years of hard training.
|“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” |
RELAXTION FOR PANIC ATTACKS
Relaxation is a common way to improve your health and stress levels generally. It has been used for thousands of years in one form or another to help combat tension and improve the feel good factor, (think of the Roman Baths). One of the common symptoms of panic attacks is feeling very tense and not being able to breath properly. If you feel a panic attack coming the worst thing you can do is try and fight against it, just must just accept and relax as much as possible. The more you go with the panic the quicker it will stop.
Firstly relaxation is a technique which must be learnt. Simply watching TV is not relaxing and this can sometimes have the opposite effect and induce a panic attack.
Relaxation is a great way of releasing muscular tension and is great way of reducing the strength of a panic attack. Like with most things the more you practice relaxation the more effective it will be. I strongly recommend reading some books on the subject and buying some relaxation music or hypnosis cd’s to really get you in the mood. There are techniques to obtain full relaxation. They take a little time to master the full benefits they can give. Most of the techniques involve alternately tensing and relaxing your muscles, starting from the top of your body down. To be the most effective against panic attacks you really have to do the relaxation exercise before you feel panicky in order to help reduce the strength of the panic attack. Another specialist kind of relaxation is Yoga ; this definitely also has benefits to help with relaxation and breathing.
Relaxation is a great way to release muscle tension and this in turn helps you to breathe much easier. Many sufferers complain of stress headaches and tightness around the top of the head and neck. This is simply your muscles contracting so relaxation is a superb way of reducing this tension.
|“Learning to let go should be learned before learning to get. Life should be touched, not strangled. You’ve got to relax, let it happen at times, and at others move forward with it.” |
We are all different so it’s best to try different relaxation exercises to find out which works best for you. When you are able to switch off from the rest of the world, please practice when you have 20 mins to yourself. Practice and repetition is the key, and it’s amazing just how deep and relaxed you will be able to feel. Even if you can’t lie down on your own bed, you should be able to find a quiet room if you’re at work, to relax your mind and body whilst sitting on a chair.
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.
Breathing and relaxation are interlinked. If you’re feeling anxious you tend to tense your muscles and this can stop you breathing properly. We are also designed to breath much more quickly in stressful situation so our hearts can pump oxygen through our bodies. This is the classic fight or flight response and means we are ready for action.
Panic attack sufferers and people with acute anxiety often are in such a high anxious state that they will constantly over breath leading to hyperventilation. Hyperventilation causes a person to breathe too much and too fast leading to an array of unpleasant sensations including faintness, panic feelings, tingling, palpitations/skipped heart beats etc. Hyperventilation is un-harmful but causes more feelings that add to an already sensitized body.
In my opinion once you get to grips with relaxation, improving your health and eating habits and changing your thought patterns your breathing will naturally return to a more balanced state. Similarly to relaxation, breathing techniques should be done when you’re feeling calm and relaxed. It is virtually impossible to control your breathing whilst having a panic attack as your mind will take over and do it for you.
There are several books I would recommend on the market and I’m sure you will find lots of free techniques on the internet. But the basis of breathing is to breathe in slowing counting 1 to 5 seconds watch you abdomen (around your belly button!) lifting slowly, holding the in breath for a few seconds and then exhaling slowing for about 6 to 7 seconds. The out breath should be longer than the in breath. It’s really worth reading about how to breath properly as it’s something we take for granted but it’s very easy to fall into bad habits. POSTURE is also very important to encourage good breathing.
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 or The 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.
Distraction is a very effective way to reduce anxiety. I’m sure we have all been so engrossed in something that we have forgotten the time or an appointment somewhere. Distraction works on the same basis. Instead of our mind being totally fixed on the way we are feeling its possible and much healthier to be thinking of a task which will take our mind off the anxiety.
For this to work we have to be completely engrossed in what we’re doing and it also helps if we enjoy it. For example gardening would be a good way of distracting oneself from anxiety. Gardening is physical work and will help to produce endorphins the body’s natural feel good factor. Working outside in the fresh air getting involved in a hobby is a great way to occupy your mind in a positive way. A person interested in gardening will be thinking what needs cutting back, what they’re going to plant next, how they’re going to design their garden, etc. They will immerse their thoughts in the task ahead and this will distract them from anxiety and panicky thoughts which usually occupy their mind.
Distraction is a way of short circuiting the anxiety thoughts. It does this by redirecting the brain neurons to link up and follow a separate path (a more positive path) and start the brain problem solving and thinking of what needs doing. Hopefully the task in hand is enjoyable (i.e. gardening) and the person is totally engrossed in what they’re doing.
‘A neuron (also known as a neurone or nerve cell) is an electrically excitable cell that processes and transmits information by electrical and chemical signalling.’
When I was suffering from panic attacks a great way for me to relax, control my breathing and distract myself was walking my dog. For me it was something I enjoy doing. The exercise was helpful; I believe seeing the country side has great benefits on the human brain. Think of all the people who live in the city who but still have plants in their rooms and pictures of landscape on their walls. The human brain is designed to feel better when we are outside. It’s how we have evolved. Even when I was at me lowest point I rarely had a panic attack walking me dog. It was something I enjoyed doing. Walking in the countryside watching the wildlife and seeing the wild flowers or the morning frost being burnt away by the morning sun always brought a smile to me face. These thought processes distract from your brain from following a panicky, negative route and can bring about real positive change.
The great thing about distraction is it helps the sufferer to focus on external things instead of focusing on nasty sensations internally within the body. It’s amazing that when you do concentrate on something that totally immerses you in a hobby, work, etc.; bodily sensations naturally start to fade away as your mind realizes that what you are doing has no threat and is actually enjoyable to you.
There will be times when you can’t immerse yourself in a hobby. You may be somewhere where you may have experienced panic attack before and you won’t be able to remove yourself from that situation such as driving, in a busy shop, a stressful meeting, etc. In these scenarios there are other distraction techniques we can use. We have all got a song stuck in our heads that seems to play over and over again. This can be used as a distraction. Think about your favourite song and play this over in your head and sing along to the words. Maybe take along an MP3 player (Relaxation MP3 Downloads ) in situation where you think you might panic and sing along to the words. In doing this you are not running away from the situation that causes panic and anxiety but you are letting your mind know that firing off panic symptoms is totally inappropriate. By singing the words to a song or by imagining that you’re on some golden beach using your Meditation techniques which you have done before hand, is a great tool to distract and reprogram your behaviour.
There are loads of ways to distract yourself. If your boss makes you panicky then picture him in a clown suit. Whatever you do to distract yourself you have to totally immerse yourself in it or else it will not work.
I would also add that if your undertaking something and you are feeling extremely panicky and anxious then a good technique is to tell your mind to ‘stop’ . Tell yourself that the panic should do either do its worst or go. Wait a few seconds and just laugh at the panic and smile and think of something that gives you a nice warm glow inside. I would recommend you take a short break and either eat a healthy snack like an apple for example or have an herbal tea such as peppermint (Pure Peppermint tea ) or camomile (Twinings Pure Camomile ). Camomile has supposedly got good relaxation properties. In 2009, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania concluded the first controlled clinical trial of chamomile extract for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). The results suggest chamomile have modest anxiolytic activity in patients with moderate GAD. In other words camomile has recognized health benefits for anxiety. Personally I recommend you stay away from coffee and tea until you get better and then only one have one cup a day as a treat. It’s surprising how addictive and pleasant herbal teas can be.
Distraction can be a powerful tool but in my opinion the underlying thoughts have to be challenged to provide a long term solution to panic. Worrying thoughts can really be a cancer that can eat away within you so it’s essential that you confront these. It’s very difficult to distract yourself if you enter a situation fearful, or you feel resentment against somebody, or you are constantly trying to control a situation. If you are totally happy in your own skin and enter a situation calm and collected it’s much easier to distract yourself to a more positive place.
It also best to face your negatives thoughts and write them down as they happen. Counteract them with as many reasons as you can why they are simply unfounded.
Remember to PRACTICE and PRACTICE the breathing, relaxation and distraction techniques when you're not anxious before trying to apply them to situations that make you panicky.
Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway: How to Turn Your Fear and Indecision into Confidence and Action
Fear: Essential Wisdom for Getting Through The Storm
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
Self Help for Your Nerves: Learn to relax and enjoy life again by overcoming stress and fear
Relaxation MP3 Downloads
Body and Soul - Relaxation: Resting the Mind Reviving the Body
Control Stress : Stop Worrying and Feel Good Now
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