How to overcome panic attack
The panic attack is a sudden wave of increasing physiological excitement that comes “like a thunderbolt” or responding to the clash with (or the idea of) phobic situation.
Physical symptoms that are accompanying the panic may include fast heartbeat, chest tightness or shortness of breath, feeling of choking, dizziness, weakness, sweating, tremors and / or tingling of the hands and feet.
The psychological effects often include a feeling of unreality, a strong desire to run away and fear of insanity, death or uncontrolled behavior.
Anyone who has had a real panic attack knows that this is one of the most unpleasant conditions that a person can experience. Your first panic attack can have a traumatic effect, causing feelings of terror and helplessness and anxiety because of strong prior possible repetition of the panicked symptoms.
The panic attack can be very frightening and unpleasant experience but not dangerous at all. You might be surprised, but the panic is perfectly natural body reaction that just appeared out of the normal context.
This instant reaction is necessary to ensure the survival of the species in life-threatening situations. It is intended to protect animals when facing predators. It is intended also to save your life when is threatened and mobilize your impulse to flee from danger.
Let’s say for example that your car goes off on the rails and about 200 meters towards you is approaching train. You will feel the strong adrenaline rush, accompanied by a sense of panic and very strong and logical impulse to flee from the danger.
In fact, your body will implement numerous reactions, including – rapid pulse, rapid breathing, muscle tightness, the collapse of arteries and smaller blood flow to the hands and feet, greater blood flow to muscles, the release of the stored glucose from the liver into the bloodstream, increased production of sweat.
The very intensity of this reaction and the strong drive to flee is precisely what will ensure your survival. If these reactions were less intense and fast, maybe you could get out in time. Surely you remember moments of your life when this reaction has served you well.
In a sudden panic or fear your body just goes through the same physiological reaction as in real threatening situation. The panic attack that occurs spontaneously, physiologically indistinguishable from your reaction to experiences like stopping your car on the railroad tracks.
What makes the panic attack unique and difficult to deal is that these intensive body reactions occur in the complete absence of any immediate or obvious danger.
This unawareness – inability to explain the fact that your body is experiencing such a strong reaction – only makes the whole experience even more frightening. You are likely to respond to strong unexplained sensations with even greater fear and increased feelings of danger.
In the absence of a real life-threatening situation, your mind wrongly accepted the situation as life-threatening. Your mind can quickly go through the following process: “If I feel so bad, I’m in danger. If there is no visible external danger, the danger must be inside me. ” It is therefore quite possible during the panic attack to invent any of these “dangers” (or all):
- In response to the heartbeat: “I will have a heart attack” or “I will die”
- In response to the feeling of suffocation: “I’ll stop breathing and suffocate.”
- In response to dizziness: “I will faint”
- In response to a sense of disorientation or unreality, “I am getting crazy.”
- In response to the intensity of bodily reactions in general: “I will fully lose control of myself.”
When you say you feel any of the above dangers, you are strengthening the intensity of fear. The strong fear worsens your reactions, which generates more fear and you fall into the spiral of rising panic.
You will avoid this if you realize that what is happening with your body is not dangerous. All of the above risks are illusory – a product of your imagination when you feel powerful reactions of panic. There is simply no real reason for any of them.
The panic attacks can not cause a heart attack
The increased heart rate and pulse during a panic attack can be a frightening sensation, but not dangerous. Your heart is made of very strong thick muscle fibers and can withstand a lot more than you think.
According to the doctors, a healthy heart can beat with 200 beats per minute for days or even weeks without damage. So if your heart starts racing just let him, believe that nothing bad will follow, and finally, it will calm down.
There is a real contrast between what happens to your heart while a panic attack and during a heart attack. In a panic attack you may feel your heart rate racing, and at times to miss a strike or to beat out of its rhythm. Some people even have pain in the upper left part of the chest that passes pretty quickly. None of these symptoms are worsened by movement or increased physical activity.
During the real heart attacks the most common symptom is constant severe pain and feeling of pressure in the center of the chest. Furthermore, pain and pressure are worsened when moving and reducing when resting. This is completely different from the panic attack when the galloping heart worse if you stand still and weaken if you are moving.
In short, there is simply no reason for the association between heart attack and panic attacks.
Panic attacks are not dangerous for your heart.
The panic attack will not lead to stopping your breathing and suffocation
During the panic attack is usual to feel how your chest tightens and your breathing becomes limited. This can cause sudden fear that you will suffocate. Under stress, the neck muscles, and your chest tightens and reduces your breathing capacity.
Be sure that there is nothing wrong with your respiratory tract and your lungs and that feeling of tightness will pass.
Your brain has a natural reflex that eventually will force you to breathe if you do not get enough oxygen. If you do not believe, try to hold your breath for one minute and see what will happen. At some point, you will experience strong reflex to inhale more air. The same will happen during a panic attack if you do not get enough oxygen.
You will automatically open a mouth and take a deep breath, long before you get to the point where you might faint from lack of oxygen. In short, no matter how unpleasant тхе sensation of suffocation during a panic is, it is not dangerous.
You can not “go crazy” during a panic attack
Reduced blood flow to the brain during a panic attack is due to the collapse of the arteries. This can lead to feelings of unreality and disorientation that are frightening.
If you receive this feeling remind you that it is simply due to a slight and temporary weakening of the arterial circulation in your brain and nothing to do with “insanity”, no matter how creepy or strange is the feeling.
No one has ever gone crazy from a panic attack, although the fear of it is widespread. No matter how unpleasant the feeling of unreality is, it will finally pass and is completely harmless.
Is good to know that people are not “going crazy” spontaneously. The mental disorders associated with behavior defined as “madness” (such as schizophrenia or obsessive compulsive disorder) are developing very slowly over the years.
In brief, the panic attack will not lead to insanity no matter how embarrassing or unpleasant are the symptoms.
Panic attacks will not cause loss of balance
Sometimes you may feel strong dizziness during a panic attack. It is possible this tensions to affect the system of semicircular canals in your inner ear. The inner ear is responsible for regulating the balance of the body.
For a few moments, you may get dizzy or even to feel that things around are turning. This feeling always passes. It is not dangerous and is unlikely to be so strong that you will really lose balance.
If a strong sense of dizziness lasts more than a few seconds, consult your doctor to check for infections, allergies and other disorders that can affect the inner ear.
The panic attack will make you faint
The dizziness what you feel during a panic attack can cause fear to faint. In fact, the flow of blood to your brain is slightly reduced, probably because you breathe too fast. This is not dangerous and can pass if you breathe slowly and rhythmically from the abdomen, preferably through the nose. It will be useful also to walk around as soon as possible.
You will not lose control of yourself as a result of the panic attack
Due to the strong reactions in your body during the panic attack, you could easily imagine that you will lose control. But what does that mean? Completely paralyzed? To act uncontrollably or fall into amok? This is not possible to happen.
During the panic attack, your senses and alertness are sharpened with respect to one goal: escape. Ran away or attempt to escape are the only possible reactions during the panic. The complete loss of control during a panic is just a myth.
The first step towards the ability to deal with the panic attacks is to understand that they are not dangerous. As the body reactions are so strong, you can easily perceive them as dangerous. But in reality, there is no danger. Physiological reactions in the beginning of the panic are natural and protective.
In fact, your body is developed to panic, so you can quickly mobilize to escape from situations really dangerous for your survival. The problem arises when this natural protecting reaction is triggered outside the context of the immediate or obvious danger. When this happens, you should try mastering the panic by learning not to see danger when it does not exist.
Preparing to face fear :
- Today I am ready to make a small step beyond the area of security.
- This is an opportunity to learn to accept this situation calmly.
- Facing fear is the best way to overcome anxiety.
- Every time you face your fear does one step closer to your release from it.
- By taking this step now, finally, I can do whatever I want.
- There is no right way to achieve this. Whatever will happen is fine.
- Whatever I do will be the best I am capable of.
- I am satisfied with my readiness to face the fear.
- Always be prepared to step back, if necessary.
How to face fear:
- I’ve dealt with this before, I can do it now.
- Relax and do not rush. No need to hurry.
- I can do abdominal breathing and not то hurry.
- Nothing serious will happen.
- There is nothing wrong not to hurry with this and do only as much as I am willing
- Everything will be fine. I managed with that before
- There is no need to do it perfectly. I can afford to be a man.
- Can I monitor the level of the anxiety and to withdraw from the situation if necessary.
- It is not as bad as I thought.
- The more you practice, the easier it will become.
Personality characteristics which can increase anxiety:
– Excessive need for approval
– Tendency to ignore the physical and psychological signs of stress
– Excessive need to control