A panic attack is a sudden episode of intense fear that triggers severe physical reactions. They can be very frightening and you may not know what to do. When panic attacks occur, you might think you're losing control, having a heart attack, or even dying.
Many people have just one or two panic attacks in their lifetimes, and the problem goes away, perhaps when a stressful situation ends. But if you've had recurrent, unexpected panic attacks and spent long periods in constant fear of another attack, you may have a condition called panic disorder.
Here are some golden rules for coping with panic.
(1) Remember that although your feelings and symptoms are frightening, they are neither dangerous nor harmful.
(2) Understand that what you are experiencing is merely an exaggeration of your normal reactions to stress.
(3) Do not fight your feelings or try to wish them away. The more willing you are to face them, the less intense they will become.
(4) Don`t add to your panic by thinking about what ``might happen.`` If you find yourself asking, ``What if?`` tell yourself, ``So what!``
(5) Stay in the present. Be aware of what is happening to you rather than concern yourself with how much worse it might get.
(6) Label your fear level from 0 to 10 and watch it go up and down. Notice that it doesn't stay at a very high level for more than a few seconds.
(7) When you find yourself thinking about fear, change your ``what if``thinking. Focus on and perform some simple, manageable task.
(8) Notice that when you stop thinking frightening thoughts your anxiety fades.
(9) When fear comes, accept it, don't fight it. Wait and give it time to pass. Don't try to escape from it.
(10) Be proud of the progress you've made. Think about how good you will feel when the anxiety has passed and you are in total control and at peace.
Although panic attacks themselves aren't life-threatening, they can be frightening and significantly affect your quality of life. But treatment can be very effective. If you are experiencing this, call or text us: 301-519-8010 to schedule an appointment.