I get panic attacks, what can I do to get rid of them?
Panic attacks are common (2.4 million suffering from them regularly) and very uncomfortable to say the least. A panic attack is a sudden and overwhelming sense of fear, coupled with body symptoms like racing heart, shallow breathing, sweating, numbness in the limbs, dizziness, and feelings of unreality, going crazy or dying. Even though they are unpleasant, the good news is that they will always pass, you won’t “go crazy” and they are not medically dangerous. So what can you do about them?
- Remind yourself that the feelings will pass and that they are just false alarms of danger. Panic attacks are often fueled by fears of the future and what is going to happen (“I’ll go crazy” or “I’m going to have a heart attack”), but what is actually going to happen is that it will pass. Panic can leave as quickly as it came.
- Try to shift your focus from how you’re feeling inside to your surroundings or what you are doing. Focusing on your feelings and body sensations keeps you in your head and can feed the fear. Basically, distract yourself, do something to get your mind off the fear.
- Engage in daily relaxation. Practice yoga, meditation, deep breathing or guided imagery. Here are some CD’s that can guide you through these practices. A wise person once said, “An anxious mind cannot exist in a relaxed body.”
- Watch your drug and alcohol use. For some people, eliminating caffeine has eliminated their panic attacks. Caffeine, cocaine, marijuana and many other drugs can cause panic attacks, even days later.
- Seek professional help. There are many evidenced based treatments to help you with panic, you don’t have to struggle alone.