A panic attack is a sudden feeling of acute and disabling anxiety.
Signs and symptoms
A panic attack normally begins suddenly and without warning. One can strike at any time — when you are driving to work, shopping for groceries, sound asleep, in a meeting with coworkers or walking with a friend. Panic attacks can be occasional or frequent. Panic attacks have many variations and levels of intensity, but symptoms usually peak within minutes. One may include some of these signs or symptoms:
- Sense of impending doom or danger
- Fear of loss of control or death
- Rapid, pounding heart rate
- Trembling or shaking
- Shortness of breath or tightness in the throat
- Hot flashes
- Abdominal cramping
- Chest pain
- Dizziness, lightheadedness or faintness
- Numbness or tingling sensation
- Feeling of unreality or detachment
After a panic attack, you may feel fatigued, worn out or confused. You may also feel an intense fear that you will have another panic attack. Some individuals who struggle with frequent occurrences of panic attacks may even avoid certain people or situations where a panic attack has previously occurred.
A few quick Strategies to support and calm yourself down from a panic attack
- Get comfortable (sit down, lie down, find a private space, etc.).
- Close your eyes and begin to breathe slowly and as deeply as possible.
- Allow yourself a few minutes of silence as you breathe and count down from 100.
- Place one hand on your stomach and another hand over your heart.
- Move your hand over your heart in a small circular like motion.
- Focus on taking slow, deep and fluid breaths until your symptoms subside.
- Tell yourself that “panic attacks are normal and can be overcome.”
- Ask yourself, “what is the story you are telling yourself right now?” It is important to notice the narrative that is leading to the panic attack.
- Reframe your narrative positively. Breathe and repeat this positive spin aloud until you reach a calm state of mind.
For example: Original belief or story: “There is no way that I can complete all three projects by the end of this week.,Reframed belief or story: “ I am more than capable of completing X projects this week. It is one step at a time.”If you are unable to reach a calm state or having frequent panic attacks, contact your doctor immediately. Click HERE to learn more about the Wellview services available to you. We can’t wait to work with you!
– CASEY EDMONDS, CHWC, CPT, CMS
Health Advisor | Email Casey