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Panic Attack: What Is It and How to Overcome It?

Updated on April 25, 2019
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Viktorija is a freelance content writer with 4+ years of experience and a Master's degree in English Language Teaching.

Before I continue writing this post, I would like to say that I got my inspiration to write on this topic from some people close to me and from my personal experience.

As you can notice from the topic, this post deals with the problem of panic attacks. Although it seems that the topic is nothing special or much important, I claim it is exactly the contrary. You might wonder why? It is because the number of people fighting panic increases every day. As specialists, psychologists and psychiatrists, suggest, this is a result of the intense lifestyle that almost every person has.

So, to begin, a friend of mine, not so long ago told me that she wakes up in the middle of the night fighting for air. She found herself choking, with lack of oxygen, fast and strong heartbeat and a feeling that her heart will explode any moment. Not knowing what to do, she went to the ER and was sent the next day to a psychiatrist, who explained to her that it was a result of stress during the day which caused a panic attack while sleeping when the body and mind are relaxed.

Unfortunately, the only real way to cope with panic attacks is to learn how to control, overcome and prevent them and the truth is that not many people know how to do it. That’s why I did some research about all the possible ways to control panic attacks and decided to put all the information together, hoping this post will help people who suffer from this health problem.

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What is a panic attack? The signs and symptoms

A panic attack is the feeling that appears suddenly and its symptoms develop very fast, one followed by another, making you feel you have all of them mixed together, which additionally increase the level of panic. They reach their peak within 10 minutes and after 10 to 20 minutes they disappear. Some of the common sign and symptoms of a panic attack are:

  • Feeling of choking
  • Shortness of breath
  • Very fast heartbeat rate
  • Chest pain
  • Hot or cold flashes (hot flashes are more common)
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Shaking
  • Fear of dying and losing control

When you undergo a panic attack, what actually happens in your body is an increased level of adrenaline released into your bloodstream. This creates and sends a message of fear through the body, which leads to the appearance of the above-mentioned signs and symptoms.

What to do? How to overcome and prevent a panic attack?

In order to stop a panic attack, you have to do two basic things. The first thing you MUST do is to start breathing slowly. This means to inhale more deeply through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth. It would be even better to close your eyes while breathing in and out, in order to concentrate on the breathing. With this, the number of heart beats per minute will decrease, which will consequently make the feeling of dizziness, chest pain, shortness of breath and “a racing heart” disappear.

The second thing to do is to think positively and calm down. This means that you need to understand that you are not going to die at that moment, but it is a body reaction caused by the things that happen to you on a daily basis.

In order to prevent another panic attack in the future, you have to change some things about yourself and your lifestyle. Some of them are:

  • Decrease the intake of caffeine – try to minimize the number of coffee cups to one or two a day. You should not drink coffee later than 7 or 8 pm.
  • Try to quit smoking, or at least reduce the number of cigarettes per day.
  • Avoid alcohol.
  • Start practicing yoga or aerobic. Yoga is usually the best way to calm yourself down and balance your body.
  • Eat regularly and eat healthy in order to stabilize the levels of blood sugar.

I really hope that this post will help you to understand panic attacks and by following the steps mentioned above, you will learn how to cope with panic attacks and even prevent them.

© 2019 Viktorija A

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