Panic attacks can happen suddenly and violently, coming seemingly out of nowhere. Though the physical symptoms of a panic attack won’t cause any harm, they can be debilitating and terrifying, especially if they occur regularly. Calming down can be difficult during a panic attack, and strategies for stopping a panic attack are best used early.
As you learn more about the symptoms of an oncoming panic attack and strategies for stopping them, it can be easier to stop a panic attack before it begins. An anxiety treatment program with Atlanta Center for Mental Health is a great way to learn more about your anxiety and find coping mechanisms to stop panic in its tracks. To learn more about anxiety treatment options through Atlanta Center for Mental Health, call 833.625.0458.
Symptoms of a Panic Attack
The symptoms of a panic or anxiety attack generally arrive unexpectedly and quickly. Usually, there is a massive wave of anxiety and a rapid build-up of physical symptoms. These physical symptoms can include:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Trouble breathing
- Feeling faint or dizzy
- Uncontrollable shakes
- Chest pains or tightness
These symptoms can be very frightening. Many people experiencing an anxiety attack feel like they will die or worry they are having a heart attack. This can also cause a cascading fear of the next attack, triggering another panic attack. Importantly though, panic attacks always pass, and none of these symptoms are a sign of anything physically harmful happening.
Ways to Calm Down from a Panic Attack
Despite how overwhelming the symptoms can feel, there are simple techniques available to use as you calm down from a panic attack. These can be performed by anybody and can even help stave off a panic attack before it begins.
Use Deep Breathing
One of the major symptoms of panic attacks is hyperventilating, which can leave you feeling afraid and without control over your body. A simple way to alleviate this is by focusing on deep breathing. Take deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth, feeling your chest and stomach expand with each breath. It can also help count each breath as it gives your mind something to focus on outside of the panic.
Recognize Your Symptoms as an Anxiety Attack
During a panic attack, it is easy to misinterpret symptoms as dangerous. Recognizing that you are having a panic attack rather than a heart attack or a catastrophic physical ailment assures you that the symptoms are temporary and will pass. Challenge unhelpful thoughts with positive thought patterns when possible.
Shift Your Focus
Focusing on the panic and anxiety you are feeling in the moment can make a panic attack feel even more debilitating. It can help to shift your focus onto something else. For example, if you are in a fast-paced environment and overwhelmed by stimuli, closing your eyes and focusing on familiar sensations or textures can help calm you and ground you in reality. You can also concentrate on a single object, focusing all your energy on observing it to move your mind away from the panic. Alternatively, you could try visualization. Think of a relaxing place or situation (such as a calm mountain vista or tranquil beach) and focus all your attention on the details of this visual.
Muscle Relaxation Techniques
Muscle relaxation techniques, much like breathing techniques, focus on controlling your body’s response to anxiety and alleviating the physical symptoms of an anxiety attack. Focus on each muscle group one at a time and consciously visualize all the tension leaving your body. Focus on each body part individually and start from the simplest extremities like your fingers and toes before moving towards your head, face, and neck.
Find Relief From Anxiety and Panic Attacks at Atlanta Center for Mental Health
Though anybody can learn some simple techniques to calm down from a panic attack, sometimes panic attacks can be extremely frequent and debilitating. In these situations, an anxiety treatment program can help alleviate panic attacks through medication and therapy techniques and can help you practice coping techniques to curb panic in your daily life. If you believe that you or a loved one needs professional mental health treatment, Atlanta Center for Mental Health can help. Call 833.625.0458 or fill out our online contact form to learn more.