It’s really hard to explain the sensation of a panic attack to someone who has never experienced it. Everyone feels some level of anxiety at some point, and an anxiety attack may include symptoms such as feeling afraid and apprehensive, going through shortness of breath, and having their pulse racing. But these symptoms are usually very temporary, and very often they can stop when the immediate cause (such as a roller coaster ride, a scary movie, or being followed in a dark alley) is over.
When you feel anxious, it generally means that you’re in a stressful situation. Your body is telling you to be alert. Learning how to deal with anxiety if it’s keeping you from acting appropriately involves practicing several well-known calming methods.
A panic attack is different than anxiety and much more severe. Learning how to deal with a panic attack starts with knowing what it is. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), a panic attack is a sudden feeling of intense terror and discomfort. In general, at least 4 of the following symptoms are involved:
A panic attack can come at any time. Many don’t really need treatment since they only experience it once or twice. But others may experience repeated attacks, and that means that it is crucial to learn how to prevent a panic attack, and how to stop a panic attack once it has occurred.
Doctors are still learning more and more about anxiety and panic disorders. Essentially, anxiety could be normal, but anxiety and panic orders are much more serious.
If you keep having a panic attack, you can seek some form of social anxiety treatment from your doctor—provided that the problem is initially diagnosed properly. It’s also crucial that your doctor should check out any possible physical causes. A panic attack can be the result of no clear cause, it can be caused by severe stress such as military combat or the death of a loved one, or there can be a physical cause.
So what can you do? Learning how to handle a panic attack can be very effective with the help of a counselor who knows how to treat a panic attack. The various treatment options include:
You can use medications when the panic attack is simply one of the symptoms of a more general anxiety or panic disorders. Antidepressants are commonly prescribed, but they take time to work. You may wait for several weeks before you can notice some improvement. That’s why you have to take it regularly, and not just during a panic attack.
One type of medication used is Benzodiazepines. These medications treat anxiety, and when they are taken while undergoing a panic attack, the symptoms are often relieving very quickly. They can work in just an hour, or even in just 30 minutes. However, it’s not the ideal way of learning how to cure a panic attack because they’re very addictive. When you stop taking them, you may go through withdrawal symptoms.
Some experts (including Dr. Oz) have talked about the AWARE method on how to stop a panic attack.
What else can you do to help prevent or deal with a panic attack more effectively? Here are some bonus tips that may help:
You can also try out baths with Epsom salts. Epsom salts contain magnesium, and when you use them in a bath, your skin absorbs the magnesium easily.
If you ever experience a single panic attack, tell your doctor about it. Don’t be surprised if they’re not too concerned, as many people go through this problem once or just twice in their lives. But when you experience them regularly, at least your doctor can take steps to address the issue. What you have to understand is that the problem is treatable – and that understanding can go a long way in assuaging your fears.