Mind numbing fear of an unknown origin, shortness of breath, racing heart, chest pain, tunnel vision, dizziness, nausea, hyperventilating, and the panicked feeling of fight-or-flight; these are all symptoms of a panic attack and those experiencing it for the first time often think they are having a heart attack or a nervous breakdown and will call for emergency services. Anxiety attacks vary in severity and duration and can be as short lived as 15 seconds or can sometimes come in waves of symptoms over a period of hours.
Millions of people suffer from panic attacks and for some they are so crippling that it prevents them from living a normal fulfilling life.
If you already know you are prone to them, being aware of the signs and symptoms can help you learn how to stop panic attacks in their tracks or at best help you prepare for them and handle them in a relatively calm manner.
Once you have determined and understand the origin and triggers, it will be easier to recognize potential situations to avoid and to stop the attacks before they happen.
There are other things you can do which can be very beneficial in stopping panic attacks. Eating properly, avoiding caffeine, alcohol, nicotine and other drugs can be a huge benefit as well as exercising and keeping a healthy sleep regiment. Exercise releases certain chemicals in your brain that are excellent in fighting depression and can in effect help with panic attacks as well. Stress can often be a precipitating factor in panic attacks and ensuring your body has the necessary tools to deal with the stress is vital. B-complex vitamins are known as the stress vitamins, so make sure you are getting enough of them whether in your diet or a good supplement. Eat healthy and exercise to build up your physical defences.
Most often just prior to or during a panic attack your focus is on the symptoms and the attack itself. Attempt to control your thoughts to concentrate on more positive thinking. Try to remain calm by reminding yourself that what is happening will pass with no danger involved. Learn how to divert your attention away from the attack. Find a quiet place to refocus your attention, perhaps you have learned meditation techniques which will help. Be self mindful of your breathing and slow it down intentionally.
Those who suffer severe and mind crippling panic attacks may have to initially seek medical attention and often times medication may be necessary, but this should always be in conjunction with therapy to learn how to control them eventually without medication. Often times the medication used to treat these disorders is addictive and should never be a permanent solution, only a stepping stone to full recovery.