Panic Attacks: Signs/Symptoms & Strategies To Intervene
Before we delve into managing a panic attack, it’s important to understand the signs and symptoms typically associated with a panic attack.
Signs/Symptoms of a Panic Attack
- Sudden and intense fear or a sense of impending doom.
- Rapid heartbeat (palpitations) or heart pounding.
- Chest pain or discomfort.
- Shortness of breath or a feeling of being smothered.
- Sweating or chills.
- Trembling or shaking.
- Feeling lightheaded, dizzy, or faint.
- Nausea or stomach discomfort.
- Numbness or tingling sensations.
- Hot flashes or cold flashes.
- Feeling detached from oneself or having an out-of-body experience.
- Fear of losing control or going crazy.
- Fear of dying.
- Experiencing a panic attack can, undoubtedly, be distressing, but there are several techniques you can try to help manage and stop a panic attack.
It’s important to note that panic attack symptoms can vary from person to person. Some individuals may experience all of these symptoms, while others may only have a few. It’s also possible to have panic attacks without any apparent triggers. If you or someone you know frequently experiences panic attacks or if the symptoms significantly impact daily life, it’s advisable to seek professional help from a mental health provider for a proper diagnosis and treatment.
Strategies that may be helpful:
- Recognize and accept the panic attack: Acknowledge that what you’re experiencing is a panic attack. Remind yourself that panic attacks are temporary and will pass.
- Focus on your breathing: Practice deep breathing exercises to help regulate your breath and promote relaxation. Breathe in slowly through your nose, hold for a few seconds, and exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat this pattern until you feel a sense of calm.
- Challenge your thoughts: Panic attacks are often accompanied by anxious thoughts and irrational fears. Challenge and replace those thoughts with more rational and positive ones. Remind yourself that you are safe and the feelings will subside.
- Practice grounding techniques: Engage your senses by focusing on your immediate surroundings. Describe the details of objects you see, touch something nearby and focus on its texture, or listen carefully to the sounds around you. This can help distract your mind from the panic and bring you back to the present moment.
- Use relaxation techniques: Try progressive muscle relaxation or visualization exercises. Progressive muscle relaxation involves tensing and then relaxing each muscle group in your body. Visualization exercises involve mentally picturing a calm and peaceful place.
- Seek support: Reach out to a trusted friend, family member, or therapist who can provide reassurance and support during a panic attack. Their presence and understanding can help you feel more at ease.
- Consider professional help: If you frequently experience panic attacks that significantly impact your daily life, it may be beneficial to seek professional help. A mental health professional can work with you to develop personalized strategies and provide additional support.
I want you to know that panic attacks, although challenging, do not define you. They are experiences that can be managed and overcome. Remember that you are strong and resilient, capable of finding the inner strength to navigate through these moments.
Panic attacks may make you feel overwhelmed and scared, but they are temporary. They cannot harm you, and they will pass. Each time you face a panic attack, you grow stronger and more equipped to handle them.
Remember to be gentle with yourself. Celebrate every small victory, every step forward, and every moment of courage. You are making progress, and each day brings new opportunities for growth and healing. You are not alone in this journey.
https://stlmentalhealth.com is a St. Louis mental health therapy practice in Creve Coeur, Missouri. The practice has a team of mental health therapists who provide therapy and counseling services to kids, teens, adults, couples, and families. Pearlman & Associates specializes in stress, anxiety, depression, relationships, and other mental health related issues and concerns. The practice can be reached by phone at: 314-942-1147, by email at: email@example.com or on the web at: https://stlmentalhealth.com/contact-us/. The office is located at: 655 Craig Road, Suite 300, St. Louis, MO 63141.