3 Ways to Control a Panic Attack

Heart racing, dizziness, and sweating are common signs of an impending panic attack. Around 13% of people will have one panic attack in their lifetime. A panic attack can be debilitating, and you may feel helpless to stop it. Although no one can foresee when a panic attack will strike, having a plan for what to do if one does strike can help a person feel more in control and make panic episodes easier to manage. Here are some tips for preventing or managing panic attacks. Some may be of immediate assistance, while others may be of longer duration.

Starting cognitive-behavioral therapy is one option (CBT). People who suffer from panic attacks or panic disorders can benefit from CBT and other types of counseling. CBT seeks to modify the way you think about difficult or frightening events and to help you find new strategies to deal with them when they arise. CBT is available for individuals or groups, online or in-person, and the length of treatment varies. Your therapist will expose you to anything that can provoke a panic attack and help you work through it in exposure-based CBT.

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While hyperventilation is a sign of panic attacks that can heighten terror, deep breathing can help to alleviate panic symptoms during an attack. Because your mental state is affected by your breath, breathing is an essential aspect of preventing a panic attack. Slowly and deeply inhale and exhale, focusing on each breath. Breathe deeply from the abdomen, slowly and gradually filling the lungs while counting to four on inhaling and exhaling. Lastly, try to remember that these symptoms will pass and will not hurt you physically, no matter how frightening they may feel. Recognize that this is only a fleeting moment of intense anxiety and that it will pass quickly.

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