According to recent research of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S.A. The research shows that more than 40 million people in the United States at age 18 and older will suffer a panic disorder. And even though these kinds of disorders are treatable, only 1/3 of all the affected people look for treatment or receive such.
What exactly are panic attacks?
Panic (or anxiety) attacks are extremely uncomfortable conditions during which you can feel physical and mental symptoms. Physical symptoms may include heavy breathing, shaking, sweating (hands especially), warm and cold waves all over your body. The psychological symptoms can include feeling that you are dying, feeling that you are not in your body, intense feeling that you are trapped and cannot escape, feeling that you lose control, fear that you might be crazy, or feeling that you will faint. All the symptoms are very real even though nothing that you are afraid of during a panic attack can actually happen. Usually the panic attacks have different durations and they can last from 5-25 minutes.
Why is this happening to me?
A panic attack can be one time experience or happen more often as it can lead to panic disorder. Panic disorder is a condition when a person often experiencing panic attacks, notices that they may happen at a certain place – in crowded places, train, bus, at the mall. Noticing that these places “trigger” the condition, we may choose to avoid them in order to prevent another panic attack. This is the first step to entering the “trap” called panic disorder. This can dramatically change your life. Often people can’t travel anymore or perform normal daily activities as going to the supermarket, visiting the cinema, etc. Some people can even fear to leave their home for months as this affects their social life and their overall health.
No matter if you have experienced a panic attack one time in your life or you experience them on a regular basis, there are certain things that you can do to overcome this condition. The good news is that you will not die from panic attacks, you can overcome the anxiety and get your life back to normal. Here are some things that you can do during your panic attacks in order to calm yourself and get through them more easily.
You have probably heard this before and there is a reason to hear it again! Normal breathing through your panic attack is essential. One of the most common symptoms is feeling as if you are chocked or suffocated. Along with the other physical symptoms you begin to breathe more intensely with short inhales and exhales. You have to work on that and fix it. Focus on your breathing and try to take a deep breath, count to four, exhale and count again to four. Try this exercise several timse and you will see the immediate effect. Try to breathe with your stomach and not your lungs. You can place your hand on your stomach and feel how it is filled with air and you breathe in.
2. Focus on something
One of the easiest ways to feel better during a panic attack is to focus on something that you are doing. It may seem difficult to you but it really works. You can try to play a mobile game, read a book, look at the views through the window, do a crossword. Usually I try to count different things. One of the most effective ways for me is to try and count down from 100 to 1 and try to skip one or two numbers. It is really simple but complicated enough that will keep your brain occupied and away from the thoughts that you are dying.
3. Accept your panic attacks and name your fears
Do not try to tell yourself that you are ok, nothing is happening with you and it’s just your imagination. Instead, try to face the truth – ok, I’m having a panic attack, let’s see what happens! Panic attacks happen on the basis of fear and as long as you fear them you just “feed” the condition and make it worst. The first step to overcome a certain condition or a problem is to confess that you actually have a problem. Try to stay calm, accept that the panic attack is actually happening here and now and just sit back and watch what is actually going on. Try to name your actual fears. Give it a name: “I’m afraid that people will see that I’m not ok and will judge me”, “I’m afraid that I’m having a heart attack”, “I’m afraid I cannot get out of the place” etc. When you name your actual fear you will quickly notice that it’s not so scary after all. And that is the rational part of our brain that is working. When you say: “I’m afraid that people will see that I’m not ok and I’ll be embarrassed” you will quickly realize that there is nothing wrong with that and it can happen to everyone. There is no actual reason for people to judge you, laugh at you etc. You can do that with all of your fears and you will see that in reality, there is nothing so frightening, you just think it is.
Author Bio: My name is Emily Jason. I’m a 28 year old teacher and blogger. I’m interested in psychology, health and healthy lifestyle. I have been struggling with anxiety and panic attacks more than 2 years which changed my life. This was the main reason to start my own blog: sunnyshape.com.