How to Stop Panic Attacks – 7 Simple Tips to Prevent Panic Attacks Symptoms From Ruining Your Life

To know how to stop panic attacks, you first need to recognise the symptoms, then by understanding their causes, you learn that they cannot harm you. Once you can accept that they aren’t dangerous you are better placed to stop them occurring again. Here you’ll learn, how to recognise the symptoms, what the underlying causes are, and 7 things that you can do to help stop panic attacks, without the use of drugs.

Symptoms of Panic Attacks

First you should get to recognise the main symptoms of panic attacks. These are; tight chest and / or throat, racing heart, palpitations, difficulty breathing, hyperventilation, shaking, dizziness, tingling fingers, nausea, a feeling of detachment, a fear that something terrible is about to happen, e.g. death.

These symptoms are truly frightening, and to the victim, very real. However, they aren’t real, but just the body’s primeval reaction to a perceived dangerous situation which doesn’t in fact exist, but occurs through the sufferer’s irrational fear or fears. In other words, there’s no foundation to the symptoms, they are just symptoms, and can’t harm you.

Causes of Panic Attacks

Everyone suffers from a certain level of anxiety in their lives, this is natural in today’s world. And they handle both the anxiety and the stress that can occur due to certain events or situations. But someone who has severe anxiety on a daily basis over a prolonged period of time, may have difficulty handling these stressful events.

In this case, an everyday stressful event like being stuck in an elevator, held up in traffic, a job interview, an exam, etc., can trigger a panic attack. So you have two things going on; heightened anxiety and resultant panic attacks.

Now the causes of the general anxiety may be one or more of several things; genetics (family history of anxiety and panic attacks), gender (women are 50% more likely to have anxiety and panic attacks), medical conditions (e.g. mitral valve prolapse), medications (e.g. Ritalin), fears & phobias, and a traumatic event or events earlier in life.

7 Things to Help Prevent Panic Attacks

Apart from mainstream medications like tranquilizers and antidepressants, which can have some nasty side effects, there are several natural things that you can do to try to stop panic attacks happening again. Here are 7 things you can do to help stop panic attacks…

1. Get to know the symptoms: You’ve already made a good start by getting to know what the symptoms and underlying causes are, and, you now know that panic attacks cannot cause you harm. But continue with your research and also talk to your doctor.

2. Get plenty of sleep: It’s very important to get 8 hours uninterrupted sleep during the night, so that your body can recover and recharge after your energy-sapping days. Here are some tips to help; don’t go to bed on a full stomach; don’t take caffeine before bed; don’t drink alcohol before bed; don’t read too long in bed; ensure your mattress is the most comfortable for you; ensure the bedroom is completely darkened; shut out all extraneous noise, etc.

3. Use known techniques to help relax: Learn how to meditate, attend yoga classes, what about self-hypnosis? Practising these techniques can reduce stress and improve your sense of overall well-being.

4. Cut-out stimulants: Stimulants are believed to be a trigger for panic attacks. So anything with caffeine in it, e.g. coffee, tea, etc., should be avoided. Avoid, or seriously reduce, smoking and alcohol too.

5. Eat a healthy diet: Cut-out preserved and processed foods. Stick to natural and organic if you can. Eat your 5 portions of fresh fruit and vegetables a day. A healthy, well balanced diet, is conducive to your overall health and helps to build-up your immune system to ward off illnesses and infections. If you know you are overweight, this may be playing a part in your anxiety, so a well balanced diet can help here too.

6. Exercise daily: This helps to improve your overall health position both in body and mind. Choose the exercise that suits you best and that you will enjoy, it shouldn’t be a drudge: for example running, power walking, walking the dog, swimming, pilates, dancing, home workouts, etc.

7. Reduce stress wherever you can: With higher levels of anxiety, a relatively small stressful event can trigger a panic attack. So get to recognise typical stressful situations that affect you, and either avoid them or learn how to deal with them better. Many times it’s just about putting value on your health above other things. For example; don’t take more work on than you can reasonable handle; do take more time off, but use it to relax, not to take on other stressful stuff; if driving to work everyday is stressful, can public transport take the strain?; when shopping, can you go outside the busy times when there are less crowds? etc.

All of the above can help to prevent further panic attacks. However, a key determinant in recurring panic attacks is the very ‘fear’ of having another one. This fear is imprinted in your psyche because the panic attack symptoms you experienced were so terrifying.

The fear builds on your already heightened anxiety so that a relatively small stressful event can trigger another panic attack. This is the ‘cycle of anxiety’ (anxiety > fear > panic attack > anxiety > fear > panic attack, etc.) that has to be broken if you are to stop panic attacks and cure your general anxiety.