Do you ever feel overwhelmed with fear or anxiety to the point that it’s hard to breathe or think clearly? You may be experiencing a panic attack. Panic attacks are sudden episodes of intense fear or anxiety that can lead to physical symptoms.
What are the symptoms of a panic attack?
When having a panic attack, you may experience the following physical symptoms:
- Racing heart rate
- Trembling or shaking
- Shortness of breath
- Choking feeling
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Nausea or abdominal pain
- Feeling dizzy, light-headed, or faint
- Feeling out of control
What causes panic attacks?
The exact cause of panic attacks is unknown, but there are several potential triggers, such as:
- Stressful life events, such as job loss or relationship problems
- Traumatic experiences, such as a violent attack or natural disaster
- Substance abuse, including alcohol or recreational drugs
- Underlying mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety
How to manage a panic attack
When having a panic attack, it’s important to remember that it’s a normal reaction to fear and that it will eventually pass. Here are some tips to help manage panic attacks:
Focus on taking slow, deep breaths. Take a deep breath in through your nose, hold it for a few seconds, and then exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat this several times until you start to feel your body relax.
Grounding yourself in the present moment can help to reduce anxiety and panic. Focus on the five senses—sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch—and identify five things in your environment that you can observe. This can help to bring your attention back to the present and away from anxious thoughts.
Talk to someone
Talking to someone you trust can help to reduce feelings of panic. You can also reach out to a mental health professional who can help you to manage your panic attacks and develop coping strategies.
When to seek help
If you experience frequent panic attacks or they are impacting your daily life, it’s important to seek help from a mental health professional. A mental health professional can provide you with support, guidance, and treatment to help you manage your panic attacks.