How to Manage a Panic Attack

9 Jul by HPA/LiveWell Clinical Psychology

Panic attacks can be scary and learning how to manage a panic attack is crucial for anyone who suffers from them.  Panic attacks are overwhelming and can have physical as well as emotional symptoms. Many people who experience panic attacks have difficulty with breathing, chest pains, sweating, and trembling. If you, or a loved one, struggles with panic attacks, or are figuring out how to manage an anxiety, it may be helpful to understand what constitutes generalized anxiety from a panic attack. We at HPA/LiveWell in Albany, NY can help you to increase your understanding.

How to Manage a Panic Attack

The following are strategies that you can use to relieve the symptoms of a panic attack or stop one if you feel it coming on:

  • Acknowledge that you’re having a panic attack – by recognizing that you’re having a panic attack instead of a stroke or heart attack, you are letting yourself know that it is temporary and that it will pass.
  • Use deep breathing – hyperventilating is a symptom of a panic attack and can result in increased fear. If you practice deep breathing, you are less likely to experience the hyperventilating that can make the other symptoms of a panic attack worse.
  • Practice mindfulness – this can help to ground you in the reality of what’s going on around you, therefore reducing the feelings of detachment that accompany a panic attack.
  • Close your eyes – panic attacks can be caused by triggers which overwhelm you. To reduce this, close your eyes to block out the over-stimulating triggers and focus on your breathing.
  • Use muscle relaxation techniques – these techniques help to stop a panic attack in its tracks by controlling your body’s response. Practicing these techniques beforehand will increase their efficiency.
  • Focus on a “happy place” – picture yourself in a serene place which makes you feel calm and relaxed.
  • Exercise – the endorphins that accompany exercise can improve your mood. However, if you are struggling to breathe, do what you can to catch your breath first.
  • Use a mantra – repeating a mantra in your head can help you to relax, as it gives you something to focus on during an attack.
  • Medication – if panic attacks are regular and interfering with your quality of life, your doctor may prescribe you medication such as anti-anxiolytics.

To find out more about how to a panic attack, or to learn about the mental health services provided at HPA/LiveWell in Albany, NY, contact us at 518-218-1188.