5 Tips For Coping With Panic Attacks

panic attacks

Are you suffering from panic attacks?  These are practical suggestions on dealing with panic attacks…

You finally went to see the doctor after feeling unwell and stressed out for a few weeks. Your physician diagnosed you with panic attacks! Although you are now receiving medical treatment, you wonder why this happened to you.

Some people are more vulnerable to suffering from panic attacks than others.  Chemical imbalances in the brain and stress can trigger panic attacks. But there is something else at play: Your thoughts and beliefs.

Symptoms of panic attacks, like sudden anxiety, sweating, a racing heart, dizziness, or wobbly legs, can elicit thoughts that make everything worse. For example, “I’m going crazy”, “This won’t ever stop”, “I’m having a heart attack”, are common thoughts that people experience during panic attacks. After the panic attack subsides, they are left with the fear of another incident and the terrible consequences it could have.

Perhaps you grew up in a family who was overly concerned with illnesses. Because of this, you may have deep-set beliefs that make you prone to interpret minor body issues as a catastrophic affliction.

So, is there anything you can do to help yourself get better? Yes, there is. Continue any treatment or therapy your doctor has prescribed. In addition, talk to your physician to be sure you can proceed with the following suggestions:

  • When you feel a panic attack coming, remember to breathe.  Your breathing becomes naturally faster when an attack is happening, so voluntarily slowing it down and counting: 10, 9, 8, 7…..will help you feel better.
  • If you are breathing so fast and hard that you start to feel dizzy, try using a paper bag. Breathe inside the paper bag the for a few minutes and the awkward feeling will subside.
  • No paper bag at hand? Cup your hands over your nose and mouth and breathe in that position for a little while.
  • If you pay attention to the panic attack symptoms, you magnify them. Instead, try focusing on something else even if you feel anxious. For example, play with your dog or listen to a new song and try to figure out the lyrics or the instruments being used.
  • Some affirmations may help: “This is just a panic attack and it will pass”, “I can get through this”, “I will slow down my breathing  and it will help”. Prepare your assertions beforehand and memorize them, or carry them around with you and read them when you need to.

It is possible to treat panic attacks successfully. Always check with your doctor before practicing these techniques, or if you have any doubts about your condition.

Good luck! Let me know how it goes for you.

Dr. Jessica Diaz-Nagel

I am a bilingual psychiatrist, writer, and life coach from Caracas, Venezuela. I love helping people, reading, and writing on different health topics. In my spare time I like to take long walks, learn new things, and travel.