How to Deal with Panic Attacks.

low cost counselling

A panic attack is a sudden and intense feeling of anxiety that generally lasts between five minutes and half an hour. Symptoms of a panic attack include nausea, dizziness, disorientation, breathlessness, and sweating. Anyone can experience a panic attack, but if it occurs frequently, it may be a sign of panic disorder.

At the onset of a panic attack, a person may feel the instinctive desire to remove themselves from the situation. In practice, the best thing to do is stay grounded. We should remind ourselves that what we are experiencing is a panic attack, and that we are not actually in danger. During a panic attack, we are essentially experiencing a “fight or flight” response, so with nothing to flee, it is best to “fight” by confronting the anxiety head-on.

An effective way to stay grounded during a panic attack is to use a technique we have discussed before, the 333 rule. This involves identifying 3 sounds, 3 items, and moving 3 body parts. Practicing the 333 rule can help focus your mind and remind you that you are not in any real danger.

While breathing exercises are often recommended as a relaxation technique, there is one in particular that is recommended for people experiencing panic attacks. This method involves breathing in slowly through the nose for five seconds, holding your breath for 5 seconds, and exhaling slowly through the mouth for five seconds. It can be helpful to visualise the air as one long, continuous swirl as it moves.

Interestingly, a 2019 study on patients undergoing a wisdom tooth extraction found that those who inhaled the scent of lavender had significantly lower blood pressure, with 98% of participants stating they would prefer to use the same method in future procedures. If panic attacks are something you experience regularly, this could be one way to help address the issue. But the most effective way to deal with frequent attacks is to speak with a therapist, who can help identify the specific triggers, as well as the techniques that work best for you personally.

If you experience panic attacks and would like to talk, please get in touch with us today.