Knowing how to stop panic attacks might come handy earlier than you think, and might have been useful in circumstances you didn’t realize. Have you ever experienced feeling a sudden rush of intense fear and anxiety?
Was there ever a time when you thought that you could not breathe because of the overwhelming negative feeling? If yes, then you may not know it, but you have already experienced having an anxiety attack, also known as a panic attack.
When you have a panic attack, you can feel different kinds of emotions, which are generally unpleasant. Sometimes, your heart may pound so fast which can make you think and feel like you are already going crazy or worse, dying.
Anxiety and panic attacks are a big deal, so it is vital to deal with these things immediately and know the cure for anxiety and the appropriate treatment for panic attacks.
But, before talking about how to stop panic attacks, it is crucial to know more about what they are, on the way to find a way to confront them.
A classic definition of a panic attack is a sudden and intense wave of uneasiness, distress, or fear, which can reach its peak just within minutes after its onset.
It is often characterized by its abruptness as well as its intensity, which can be draining and devastating.
It can occur without any warning and can happen anytime and anywhere, which makes it even more frightening.
There are instances when a panic attack can also happen while you are in a calm or relaxed state and even when you are sleeping. When it happens, you will often feel terrified even though there is nothing to be scared of, and you are not in any dangerous situation.
Some people experience having a panic attack only once, while others may experience several episodes of the terrifying experience.
Usually, a moving experience or a specific situation like public speaking or crossing a hanging bridge can trigger the attack. In these cases, it will help if you know how to handle a panic attack.
If you have been having recurring panic attacks, then it is most likely caused by a situation wherein you feel that you are compromised or threatened. It can also be caused by the feeling that you are unable to escape that specific situation.
In the United States, one among ten adults experiences having panic attacks each year. But, the numbers also show that only about 3% of adults in the US develop a panic disorder, and while they can also occur among men, they are most common among women.
A panic disorder is more severe in the sense that the attacks become more problematic and that they can already affect your regular daily routine and lifestyle.
When you have panic attacks, you are likely to experience at least four of these signs and symptoms:
As mentioned, the symptoms of panic attacks can develop all of a sudden, no matter where you are.
The symptoms usually reach their highest level of intensity within 10 minutes or even less before they start to subside.
A panic attack may end within 20 minutes to half an hour, and they rarely last longer than that.
How to Treat Panic Attacks
Fortunately, you can treat anxiety or panic attacks. If you want to know the most appropriate treatment for anxiety or know how to treat panic attacks, it is best to consult a doctor who can set you up with either medication, a psychological therapy, or both, if needed.
Keep in mind though that you cannot accomplish stopping panic attacks overnight. You and your doctor will need a lot of time to work on the treatment, so you need to be patient.
You also have to follow through and work with your doctor on your agreed treatment plan, so that you can find relief in the long run.
The first step that your doctor may take is to give you a comprehensive physical assessment to rule out the option that the symptoms of anxiety and panic are caused by a disease that you are not aware of having.
If you look at the symptoms, most of them, such as discomforts or palpitations can also resemble other serious illnesses like heart diseases, so it is better to be safe and sure before undergoing any further treatment.
If, after being assessed, your doctor finds out that you do not have any related medical condition or disease, you may refer you to other specialists such as a psychologist or a psychiatrist. They are the best option as they are professionally trained to help you in coping with panic attacks.
One of the most common ways on how to stop panic attacks is counseling through the use of what specialists call “talk therapy”. In this kind of therapy, you will have a sit-down session with a therapist or counselor who can help you better understand your situation.
Through counseling sessions, you can have a better understanding of anxiety, panic attack, what to do when it happens, and how you can deal with it.
As you undergo treatment through counseling sessions, your counselor will be able to help you recognize specific situations, emotions as well as thoughts that usually cause you to have panic attacks.
Counseling can help you talk about it more, and as you better understand what is happening, you can manage the triggers better and be more familiar with knowing how to prevent panic attacks.
Another benefit of counseling is that it can make you realize that the physical effects of panic attacks, such as those mentioned earlier in the signs and symptoms, do not really hurt you.
Your counselor can gradually help you in working through the things that you experience during a panic attack and make you feel less scared and anxious.
Then eventually, the dreaded attacks will go away.
During your counseling, you can also learn some techniques to relax better and help you to handle attacks if, and when, they happen again.
For instance, knowing how to control your breathing can help make a panic attack less severe and make you feel less terrible.
Aside from that, controlled breathing can also lessen the chances of having another panic attack in the future.
During your assessment and depending on the diagnosis, your doctor may also recommend taking some medication as a part of your therapy. Your specialist may include medication in the first part of your treatment to lessen the physical symptoms, e.g., chest pain, a racing heart, etc., that you usually feel during situations of panic attacks.
Doctors may prescribe different medications, but the most common may include a prescription of the best antidepressant for anxiety to help you avoid having panic attacks in the future.
One of the most recommended and often, the first choice of medication in the treatment of panic attacks are SSRIs or Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors. These are antidepressants that are generally safe because they are known to have a very low risk of severe or threatening side effects.
An additional benefit of SSRIs is that the FDA approves several brands in treating panic attacks such as Prozac, Zoloft, Pexeva, and Paxil.
Yet another class of antidepressants is SNRIs or Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors.
The FDA has also approved an SNRI drug which is called venlafaxine hydrochloride, which excels at treating anxiety and panic disorders.
The specialists may also give you a prescription drug to combat anxiety, such as benzodiazepine, which is a type of medication that is also known as tranquilizers. If you are not familiar with the name, then maybe Valium and Xanax sound more familiar.
This type of medication is usually prescribed to help with muscle relaxation as well as sedation.
However, because of its effects, some people use it for substance abuse. So, if you have a history of substance abuse disorder, your doctor may prescribe another medication for you in replacement of benzodiazepine.
In case you experience an irregular heartbeat or palpitations, your doctor may give you medicines to even out your heartbeat.
Also, you need to be ready and to keep an open mind because while doctors are considered specialists in their field, they may also have to prescribe more than one kind of medication before the both of you determine what works best for you and what does not.
It may also take several weeks before you start noticing any improvement or changes in your symptoms, so you have to be patient and keep open communication with your doctor. Also, keep in mind that social anxiety treatment can only be useful if you do your part as well.
As you may already know, a panic attack can strike anytime, no matter where you are. But given that you are more aware of what is happening to you now and with more information on your hands-on how to deal with anxiety, you are in a better position to manage and control an attack when it happens.
To help you successfully fight and control a panic attack, here are some tips that you may find useful. Keep them in mind to ensure that you will win the battle next time and not let the negativity of a panic attack consume you.