A panic attack occurs suddenly, inexplicably, the feeling of fear is so great that a person at this moment is able to lose control of his emotions and actions. In such a situation, the time it takes to stop a panic attack will determine its duration and intensity. If you correctly understand what happens to the body at this critical moment and what actions will bring maximum benefit in case of a sudden panic attack, you can reduce the duration of a panic attack, stop it at the very beginning and even prevent it.
Is it possible to cope with a panic attack with medication
Many of those who have experienced symptoms of a panic attack in their lives believe that it is possible to resist the attack with medication. This understandable desire to take care of one’s well-being has one more side - the very absence of a drug at hand can provoke a panic in some. But stopping a panic attack with drugs is often not effective, because it takes time for them to work. Typically, the effect of the drug is noticeable half an hour after ingestion, but during this time a panic attack can end as suddenly as it started. However, in the case of protracted and intense seizures, medication is indispensable.
Sedatives made from herbal ingredients are sold over the counter in a pharmacy without a prescription. These are tinctures and tablets based on valerian, motherwort, passionflower and other plants. Drugs relieve irritability, anxiety. Compared to tablets, alcohol solutions are faster. Benzodiazepines act more effectively, especially quick-acting drugs from this series. They are taken orally or administered intravenously. To stop the panic attack by these drugs, after the administration you need to wait from a quarter of an hour to half an hour.
Important! Medicines should not be taken without a doctor's prescription. The doctor will not only select the most suitable remedies, taking into account all the symptoms, but also prescribe the necessary dosage.
For drug therapy between seizures, especially in order to reduce anxiety expectations PA, use the following groups of medicines:
- Tricyclic antidepressants. They are characterized by a full-fledged anti-panic effect, but this effect is delayed in time by 2-3 weeks from the start of administration. The lack of a quick result often disappoints patients, and they stop taking the drug.
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Their effect on panic is not accompanied by a sedative effect. They have a minimum of side effects, are convenient for a single dose during the day.
- High Potential Benzodiazepines. Their main advantage is the ability to quickly stop the attack of a panic attack, as well as quickly achieve an effect in reducing the anxiety of its expectation and controlling the appearance.
How to cope with an attack on your own
Feeling the attack is approaching or its beginning, you first need to calm down. It is important to ensure the flow of fresh air - open a window or go out into the air yourself. Drink a glass of water or a soothing herbal remedy well. It is advisable to always have water with you, even when away from home. It will help to cope with dry mouth, which almost always accompanies seizures. In addition, making slow sips, you can focus on them as much as possible in order to distract him from panic thoughts.
While at home, you need to try to relax the muscles, be in a comfortable position. Once at such a moment on the street, if possible, move away from a busy road or crowded place. Ideal would be to enter a park or square. There is also a whole list of techniques and exercises that are indispensable in case you need to quickly stop a panic attack.
A panic attack is almost always accompanied by breathing problems. It can be superficial, attacks accompany shortness of breath, suffocation. Therefore, first of all, you need to concentrate on restoring normal breathing.
You can apply the method of slowing breathing. It is necessary to reduce the number of inspirations and exhalations - not more than ten per minute, to maintain diaphragmatic breathing. Its correctness can be controlled by holding a hand on the body in the area of the stomach. When breathing, it is this area that must rise and fall. A small inhalation, an air retention of 10 counts inside, a slow exhalation of 3 counts and a delay of as many counts. Then repeat the cycle. You need to fully concentrate on the breathing process and repeat the cycles until the fear releases. The method is good in that it can be applied anywhere and invisibly to others.
To stop an attack of a panic attack, a temporary increase in carbon dioxide in the blood helps. To do this, use a paper bag, which is very tightly pressed to the lips and begin to breathe into it. Oxygen ceases to enter the lungs, and the concentration of carbon dioxide increases. The disadvantage of this method can be called the fact that its use in humans requires overcoming embarrassment. If the bag was not with you, you can replace it with tightly folded hemispheres (fingers closed) and palms pressed to the face. In this case, breathing is performed in them.
Important! If during an attack you focus on the symptoms, fear and panic, they will only worsen. It is necessary not only by all means to force oneself not to worry, but also to divert one's attention from the symptoms.
The paramount importance of proper breathing
If there are signs of a panic attack, for example, in crowded places, in a crowd, in a subway, in a hypermarket, you first need to calm your heart rate. For this you need to breathe correctly.
Yoga teaches the methods of such breathing. One of its side effects is that breathing becomes even and deep, and its rhythm does not change throughout the day, despite the stressful situations that occur at every step. The breath may go astray, but an experienced yoga master will always be able to level it. That's what you need to strive to prevent panic attacks!
In many films, both Western and domestic, they often show the hero’s reaction to the situation of a freelance, beyond. At the same time, various events take place, the main thing in them is the traumatic component for the participants.
The hero of the Russian film "Lover" finds a gentle letter written by his wife to another man. The heroine of the western horror film “The Blair Witch”, having lost one of her friends in the forest, discovers something terrible on the lawn (probably the remains of a friend) ... Illustrating what is happening, enhancing the effect, the hero’s heavy, confused, wheezing breath is transmitted behind the scenes, conveying his emotional and physical condition.
Very sure! In this case, breathing problems are the best evidence of situational emotional and psychological instability and panic readiness.
Yoga practices diaphragmatic breathing, which usually takes from a couple of weeks to several months to get used to. In order to learn how to breathe correctly, you will initially need to conduct classes, relaxed lying on your back, or on your stomach, with palms placed under the forehead. Subsequently, you have to learn to breathe through the diaphragm in a standing or sitting position.
When approaching a panic attack, you need to try to calm the pulse, start breathing through the diaphragm and try to distract from what is happening around. After all, this is something from the external environment, some kind of image or air vibration, sound or other stimulus caused panic. It is necessary to try to present an image that is definitely positive. For example, the sea (for those who cannot live without a beach), or the grandmother’s house in which childhood passed, or an autumn oak (maple) grove with golden foliage ...
Jacobson's Arbitrary Muscular Relaxation Technique
In any conditions, at the initial stage of a panic attack, it is possible to independently use Jacobson's voluntary muscle relaxation. The technology is this: since the basis of a panic attack, one way or another, is overstrain, it is necessary to alternately relax various muscle groups. In order to subsequently successfully complete relaxation on your own, you need to master and hone it at home - lying in a comfortable position, making sure that the household does not interfere with the process.
First you need to bend, keep in tension, and then relax the hands - each alternately. Then go to the elbow joints: bending one arm at the elbow, hold for several minutes and relax, bend the other ... Then go to the triceps, shoulder joints, and then alternately strain and relax the legs: feet, knees, thigh joints ... You need to listen to the sensations in each limbs, fully concentrating on them.
After a few minutes, there will be nothing left from the symptoms of a panic attack except a pleasant pulling fatigue in the joints involved in muscle relaxation. Panic will recede. This is a wonderful not only relaxing and relaxing, but also a distraction.
The experience of independently overcoming the panic attacks that participants in psychotherapeutic groups share with each other is quite bizarre and very interesting.
“I imagined my panic in the form of a knight in a helmet and armor,” said the girl in the group, who overcame panic attacks on her own. “We fought with her foil - and I won!”
This beautiful positive, life-affirming example clearly demonstrates what courage a person needs to defeat panic attacks. Therefore, people who have suffered from panic attacks cannot be considered weak and helpless.
Ways to distract your attention from the manifestations of a panic attack, at first glance, are very simple, but they work effectively. For example, you can start counting objects around: trees in the park, children on the playground, cars on the road, people passing by.
A useful trick is to use your imagination. For example, mentally appear in a place where comfort and peace are usually felt. You can recall such places and situations from your own life. For example, a quiet walk through the woods or relaxing on the seashore. If one’s own experience fails, soothing scenes from memorable films will help. A good way is to choose an object and describe it in all details: form, color, taste, smell, purpose, functionality and so on. The more detailed and detailed the description, the more effective is the distraction from the main problem.
You can start thinking. For example, calmly, in detail (and preferably with a positive), make plans for tomorrow or the weekend, for the next vacation. Or you can start thinking about the most panic attack, but as if it was happening to another person. That is, from the person involved, go to the observer and researcher. Putting aside emotions, with pedantry and objectivity, to fix and evaluate all the current manifestations of the attack, their severity. This abstraction is not for everyone's strength, but, doing auto-training between attacks, you can develop such abilities in yourself. Anyone who wants to get rid of a panic attack can make an appointment with psychologist Nikita Valeryevich Baturin.
Another way to distract attention, and sometimes even stop an impending attack, is to have with you a small elastic band in the form of a ring, the diameter of which is slightly larger than the wrist. At a critical moment, you need to put it on your wrist, pull it as far as possible and let it go. You should get a very noticeable click. Sharp pain will be a good distraction.
1. Watch your breath
No wonder the Indians give so much attention to various breathing practices. Breathing is life itself. However, a person affected by an attack of PA tries to “catch his breath”, it seems to him that there is a catastrophic lack of air.
This is actually not the case. A paradoxical thing happens: a person breathes stronger and faster, but at the same time suffocates.
The fact is that a person has already “breathed”. His chest was swollen with excess air in his lungs, like a balloon. He does not completely release the used air, but the new one simply has nowhere to fit.
Therefore, if you are covered by PA, then immediately go into the so-called phrenic breathing or otherwise - belly breathing. Start breathing slowly into the stomach, inflating and blowing it like a balloon. The chest does not move! Belly only.
In this case, you need to clearly monitor the rhythm: a quick breath in 2 counts, and immediately without delay a long, slow exhalation in 4-6 counts with relaxation, then a delay of 1 - 2 counts. Repeat several times until the attack stops or noticeably decreases. Breathe further in the usual way, gradually calming down.
Using this type of breathing will normalize your heart rate and lower your blood pressure.
Once again: quick and full breath in 2 counts, immediately without delay a long, slow exhalation in 4-6 counts with relaxation, then a delay of 1 - 2 counts. Remember this breath pattern!
Please note - exhaling with relaxation means that you need to relax not only the stomach, but also everything else: chest, shoulders, neck. The trick here is that the inhalation should be shorter than the exhalation, and the exhalation should be done with relaxation and not force, but let the air just go out. Such breathing quickly calms and can stop PA even at the appearance stage.
It is better to practice several times in advance, so that on occasion you do not have to convulsively remember how to breathe and what to count, but immediately begin to carry out this practice correctly. Anyway, this is a very useful exercise for everyone.
2. Be Here Now
During PA, thoughts become confused, consciousness is narrowed. Therefore, you need to somehow cling to reality. Start with the simplest: look at your hands. Examine each finger on the hand, the structure of the nail, count the joints, look at the patterns, in general, carefully study as if you were seeing your hands for the first time. This will distract your attention from disturbing thoughts and discomfort in the body. And do not forget to breathe, as indicated above.
Then you can gradually examine the surrounding objects. Just intently and very carefully. Study them and watch your breath at the same time.
Distraction is a great way to resist the disturbing thoughts that arise during an attack of PA as if from nowhere.
3. Include positive
Think of positive counter-arguments for each of your PA symptoms in advance. If it is a strong heartbeat, then tell yourself the following: “My heart beats fast, as if I'm running or walking fast. Running is useful! It only strengthens my heart and blood vessels. So let it knock fast, let it train. It’s only for me. ”
If you feel dizzy, then sit down as much as possible, but no, just say the following to yourself: “I feel dizzy, as if I'm spinning on a merry-go-round or sailing on a ship. Fine! Let my vestibular apparatus train. “So that next time I won’t be rocked on the deck of a cruise ship and vomited by an expensive lobster from a restaurant!”
Add a bit of cynicism and humor to your positive counterarguments. These two things are just perfect in fighting your own fears.
In the end, you can even proudly say to yourself: “Envy people! I have a classic panic attack and I know how to overcome it, a dog! And you don’t have it, but it’s very likely that someday it will definitely be, and you don’t know what to do then. I know! ”
Do not follow your fear instinct, because he will make you a coward. It undermines your humanity. He is the humiliation imposed by you. Whenever you see fear, go against it! Here is one simple principle: remember, everything that makes you afraid, fear, is a clear indication of what you should do. You should do the opposite. You must not follow fear, you must overcome your fear. The moment you decide to overcome your fear, you will be on the path to enlightenment ...
These three ingenuous approaches have helped me learn how to capture and fight PA very effectively. And if I was somewhere in the crowd, in a queue in some office, in the subway, or in a supermarket and felt a heartbeat speed up and a lump rolls up my throat, I simply said to myself: “Yeah, that’s a panic attack. Well hello hello! Come on, try to dump me. Let's see how you do it. ”
And this all ended. Each time, these attacks became weaker, and then completely stopped. Of course, these methods of stopping PA alone are not enough to get rid of PA for good. You should understand that these are just quick methods to stop attacks. Read the article “How to get rid of panic attacks - 5 simple steps” and apply the tips in it in practice. And then you will definitely get rid of panic attacks once and for all.
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Активность и движение
If you are approaching an attack, it is better not to freeze in a panic, but to force yourself to move. You can simply greatly accelerate the step and walk such a decent distance. If you can run, you can do it in a few minutes. While indoors, running can replace push-ups from the floor or a series of squats. You can just dance to your favorite music.
By the way, music helps many to switch. It’s good to download your favorite tunes to your phone so that you can listen to them at a critical moment. Music, especially your favorite, will lead your thoughts away from panic, help calm down. Another useful way is to switch to some activity. For example, make a phone call to a person with whom you have something to discuss or just enjoy talking. In this case, the topic of symptoms is better not to touch. A lover of poetry can recite a poem. You can watch a movie. It is preferable if it is a comedy.
Important! Trying the described methods, exercises, you need to carefully evaluate how well each of the proposed helps to solve the main problem - stopping a panic attack, choose those that work faster and help, and create a personal set of techniques.
Ways to Stop a Panic Attack
Below are 13 methods that can help relieve symptoms of panic attacks.
1. Acceptance and acceptance
A person may experience panic attacks in the past. During the attack, you can remember that they pass by and do not cause physical harm, although they are unpleasant. A person must admit that an attack is a short period of concentrated anxiety and that it will end.
If a person first experiences an attack, it is recommended to consult a doctor as soon as possible. Some symptoms of panic attacks may indicate other events, such as myocardial infarction or stroke.
2. Deep breathing
Deep breathing can sometimes lead to a panic attack under control. Fast breathing can increase anxiety and stress, so prolonged and slow breathing can help instead.
A person should breathe steadily, slowly counting to four when he inhales, and to four when he exhales.
A feeling of tightness in the chest can cause a person to take a short breath during an attack. It is good if you breathe deeply from the abdomen, slowly and steadily filling the lungs.
3. lavender content
Lavender essences have long been used to relieve anxiety and create a sense of calm. Inhaling the smell of lavender oil during a panic attack can help relieve some of the symptoms. A person can rub a small amount of oil on his wrist or arm and inhale.
This oil is widely available on the Internet. Purchase it only from trusted retailers.
A person should avoid lavender if he has recently taken benzodiazepine. Together, they can cause increased drowsiness.
4. The medicine
When a doctor prescribes a medicine for use as needed, and not as a regular dosage, this medicine is called PRN. These medicines usually work quickly.
Depending on the severity of the panic attacks, the doctor may prescribe a PRN containing benzodiazepine or a beta blocker. Propranolol is a beta blocker that slows heart rate and lowers blood pressure.
The benzodiazepines commonly prescribed for panic attacks include valium and xanax. This class of drug can be highly addictive. The body can quickly develop tolerance, and soon a higher dose will be required to achieve the same effect. People should use them sparingly.
5. Marginal incentives
Sights and sounds can often exacerbate a panic attack. If possible, find a calmer place. This may mean you have to leave a busy room or lean against a wall nearby.
Closing your eyes can help you focus on breathing and other coping strategies.
6. Learn to work
Panic attacks can often be caused by the same causes, such as closed spaces, crowds, or money problems. By learning to control triggers or avoid them, a person can reduce the frequency and intensity of attacks.
7. Easy exercise
Light exercise can help stop panic attacks. Exercise secretes hormones called endorphins, which relax the body and improve mood.
Walking can help produce endorphins, as well as bring a person out of a stressful situation. The rhythm of walking can also help a person regulate breathing.
8. Memory exercises
Panic attacks can make people feel divorced from reality. Anxiety intensity can overtake other feelings. The mind can help a person return to normal life and distract from sources of stress.
The following is one example of a mindfulness exercise. Each step should be performed slowly and carefully:
- Look at five different things, pondering each for some time.
- Listen to four different sounds and learn what is different in each of them.
- Touch three objects. Consider texture, temperature, and usage.
- Indicate two different smells. Do they evoke any memories?
- Try something. It can be a fingertip or a piece of candy.
9. Focus on the subject
Focusing on a nearby object can help a person stop a panic attack. A person who is regularly attacked may want to carry something for this purpose.
Focusing on one thing can reduce other incentives. When a person looks at an object, he can think about how he feels, who created it and in what form. This can help reduce the symptoms of panic attacks.
10. Try muscle relaxation techniques
Another symptom of panic attacks is muscle tension. Muscle relaxation exercises can help limit an attack. If the mind feels the body is relaxing, other symptoms, such as rapid breathing, may also decrease.
Progressive muscle relaxation is a popular method of dealing with anxiety and panic attacks.
11. Imagine a happy place.
A person’s happy place should be where he will feel most relaxed. Every aspect should be enjoyable.
When a panic attack begins, it can help close your eyes and imagine what is in such a place. Think about how calm it is. Imagine bare feet touching cool soil, hot sand or soft carpets.
A relaxing and calm atmosphere will help a person to relax and unwind.
12. Repeat the mantra.
A mantra is a word, phrase or sound that helps focus and gives strength. An internal repetition of a mantra can help a person get out of a panic attack.
The mantra can take a soothing form and can be as simple as: “It will pass too.” Or maybe it has a more spiritual meaning.
Because a person is focused on mildly repeating the mantra, his physical reactions can slow down, allowing him to regulate his breathing and relax his muscles.
13. Tell people
If panic attacks often occur in the same environment, such as at the workplace, it may be helpful to inform others and let them know what support they can offer.
If the attack occurs in public, reporting it to even one person, he can help. They may be able to find a quiet place and prevent crowding.
Nine Ways to Reduce Anxiety
Everyone can benefit from reducing the effects of anxiety. Reducing overall anxiety levels will also help prevent panic attacks.
The following strategies may help:
1. Visit to the doctor
Some people avoid getting the necessary medical attention for fear that the doctor will find them dumb or petty if they report anxiety. If anxiety regularly affects a person’s life, they should consult a doctor.
Regular meditation is a great way to relieve stress, strengthen peace and normalize breathing.
3. Breathing exercises
Fast, shallow breathing, often associated with a panic attack, is called hyperventilation. The ability to breathe slower and deeper can help combat the effects of hyperventilation.
4. regular aerobic exercise
Regular aerobic exercise can contribute to deeper sleep, relieve us of accumulated stress and produce endorphins that make us happier and more relaxed.
5. Identify changing triggers
Many factors can be troubling, and they vary from person to person. If possible, identify things that cause panic attacks and try to avoid or modify these triggers.
6. Healthy lifestyle
Maintaining balance in the body is a great way to reduce the effects of anxiety. The following strategies may help:
- avoiding or reducing smoking, alcohol and caffeine.
- adhering to a healthy diet.
- sleep well.
- staying hydrated
7. Herbal remedies
Throughout history, people have used herbs to treat anxiety and depression. Some of the most popular herbal remedies, including cava extract, passionflower and valerian, are available for purchase online.
The research results were very diverse, but studies are currently underway on the effects of drugs on vegetation. Before taking such funds, consult your doctor.
8. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CPT)
CBT can give someone tools to reduce stress and avoid anxious thinking. This can be an effective treatment for panic attacks.
9. Find out what works
Meditation can work well for one person, while exercise is better for another. Try different strategies and see what works best.
What to do if someone has a panic attack
Here are some tips on how to help someone who has survived a panic attack:
- Keep calm.
- Make sure that the person has enough space around them.
- I suggest moving to a quiet place nearby.
- Remind the person that panic attacks always end.
- Help them control their breathing.
- Avoid asking too many questions and do not support negative claims.
- Never tell anyone to calm down or say that there is nothing to worry about.
- Stay with them. If they insist that they need to be alone, make sure they remain visible.
When to seek help
Panic attacks can be frightening and disorienting, especially for the first time. Symptoms may be similar to those of other diseases.
Seek medical advice if that:
- a panic attack lasts longer than usual - most of them last from 5 to 20 minutes.
- a panic attack is noticeably worse than usual.
- panic attacks hinder a person’s life, possibly preventing him from working or communicating.
If you suspect a stroke or heart attack, seek emergency medical attention.
Many tools can help a person cope with a panic attack, starting with medical and psychological support and ending with tips on nutrition and a healthy lifestyle.
It is important to seek help, try out different strategies and realistically evaluate the results. It is unlikely that panic attacks will disappear overnight, but their effect can be limited in time.
Every day more and more information becomes available for people who want to feel less stressful, be healthier and kinder to themselves.
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What to do between attacks
Between panic attacks, the main task is to focus on actions that will help avoid a recurrence of attacks. Often the treatment of panic attacks does not go without psychotherapeutic help. The therapist explains how anxieties appear, the mechanism of panic. Helps the patient find the reason that underlies his fears. It offers techniques that help to cope with the mechanism of occurrence of alarms. It teaches you how to manage emotions, how to respond to stress.
A difficult but effective way to defeat panic attacks is to independently work on emotions and character, to consolidate the knowledge and techniques gained during classes with a psychotherapist. The use of relaxation methods, meditation helps to relieve increased anxiety. This person is able to learn on their own. A useful resource is the channel of the psychologist and hypnologist Nikita Valerievich Baturin.