e-book Panic Attacks: Getting Rid of Panic Attacks and Anxiety Disorders

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Panic disorder can interfere a lot with daily life, causing people to miss work, go to many doctor visits, and avoid situations where they fear they might experience a panic attack. The interference is greatest when people also have agoraphobia, as well as panic disorder. Many people don't know that their disorder is real and highly responsive to treatment.


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Some are afraid or embarrassed to tell anyone, including their doctors and loved ones, about what they experience for fear of being considered a hypochondriac. Instead they suffer in silence, distancing themselves from friends, family, and others who could be helpful or supportive. Learn seven self-help steps to break the cycle of panic and regain control of your life. This book includes techniques and exercises to manage and overcome panic attacks and panic disorder. The disorder often occurs with other mental and physical disorders, including other anxiety disorders, depression, irritable bowel syndrome, asthma, or substance abuse.

This may complicate of getting a correct diagnosis. Purchase the Kindle version Purchase the hard copy version.

11 Ways to Stop a Panic Attack

ADAA is not a direct service organization. ADAA does not provide psychiatric, psychological, or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. However, it is now believed that agoraphobia develops as a complication of panic attacks and panic disorder.

Although it can develop at any point, agoraphobia usually appears within a year of your first recurrent panic attacks. Because of these fears, you start avoiding more and more situations. Although the exact causes of panic attacks and panic disorder are unclear, the tendency to have panic attacks runs in families. There also appears to be a connection with major life transitions such as graduating from college and entering the workplace, getting married, or having a baby.

Severe stress , such as the death of a loved one, divorce, or job loss can also trigger panic attacks. Panic attacks can also be caused by medical conditions and other physical causes. Learn about panic and anxiety. Simply knowing more about panic can go a long way towards relieving your distress.

Avoid smoking, alcohol, and caffeine. These can all provoke panic attacks in people who are susceptible. If you need help to kick the cigarette habit, see How to Quit Smoking. Also, be careful with medications that contain stimulants, such as diet pills and non-drowsy cold medications.

Learn how to control your breathing. Hyperventilation brings on many sensations such as lightheadedness and tightness of the chest that occur during a panic attack.

Treatment Options to Help Manage Panic Disorder

Deep breathing , on the other hand, can relieve the symptoms of panic. By learning to control your breathing, you can calm yourself down when you begin to feel anxious. Practice relaxation techniques. And not only do these relaxation practices promote relaxation, but they also increase feelings of joy and equanimity. Connect face-to-face with family and friends. Symptoms of anxiety can become worse when you feel isolated, so reach out to people who care about you on a regular basis. Exercise regularly. Exercise is a natural anxiety reliever so try to get moving for at least 30 minutes on most days three minute sessions is just as good.

Rhythmic aerobic exercise that requires moving both your arms and legs—like walking, running, swimming, or dancing—can be especially effective. Get enough restful sleep.

Panic Attack Symptoms: Shortness of Breath, Racing Heart, & More

Insufficient or poor quality sleep can make anxiety worse, so try to get seven to nine hours of restful sleep a night. Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on the thinking patterns and behaviors that are sustaining or triggering your panic attacks and helps you look at your fears in a more realistic light. For example, if you had a panic attack while driving, what is the worst thing that would really happen?

While you might have to pull over to the side of the road, you are not likely to crash your car or have a heart attack. Once you learn that nothing truly disastrous is going to happen, the experience of panic becomes less terrifying.

Exposure therapy for panic disorder allows you to experience the physical sensations of panic in a safe and controlled environment, giving you the opportunity to learn healthier ways of coping. You may be asked to hyperventilate, shake your head from side to side, or hold your breath. These different exercises cause sensations similar to the symptoms of panic.

Professionals

With each exposure, you become less afraid of these internal bodily sensations and feel a greater sense of control over your panic. Exposure therapy for panic disorder with agoraphobia includes exposure to the situations you fear and avoid is also included in treatment. As in exposure therapy for specific phobias, you face the feared situation until the panic begins to go away. Medication can be used to temporarily control or reduce some of the symptoms of panic disorder. Medication can be useful in severe cases, but it should not be the only treatment pursued.

Medication is most effective when combined with other treatments, such as therapy and lifestyle changes, that address the underlying causes of panic disorder. It takes several weeks before they begin to work, so you have to take them continuously, not just during a panic attack. These are anti-anxiety drugs that act very quickly usually within 30 minutes to an hour.

Taking them during a panic attack provides rapid relief of symptoms. However, benzodiazepines are highly addictive and have serious withdrawal symptoms, so they should be used with caution. Seeing a friend or loved one suffering a panic attack can be frightening. But by helping your loved one ride out a panic attack, you can help them feel less fearful of any future attacks.

Stay calm yourself. Focus your loved one on their breathing. Find a quiet place for your friend to sit and then guide them to take slow, deep breaths for a few minutes. Do something physical. Together, raise and lower your arms or stamp your feet.

What causes panic attacks?

Get your friend out of their own head by asking them to name five things around them or talking soothingly about a shared interest. Encourage your loved one to seek help.

Once the panic attack is over, your loved one may feel embarrassed about having an attack in front of you. Reassure them and encourage them to seek help for their anxiety. National Institute of Mental Health.