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Panic attacks

Panic (or Anxiety) attacks frequently mimic heart attacks.  People generally have had multiple medical contacts prior to receiving mental health attention.  It is imperative to ensure that one does not have a medical problem.

The good news is that panic attacks are generally very treatable.  Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is the proven treatment.  It is very helpful to learn about panics, so that you realize that others experience similar symptoms.  Frequent thoughts preceding panics are "What Ifs," especially about having further panics.  During a panic, people generally feel like, "I CAN'T stand this."  Monitoring, decreasing, and "talking back" to those thoughts makes one more immune to panics.  A very helpful thing to tell yourself is, "Panics are MISERABLE, but NOT dangerous."

Panics often seem to occur “out of the blue.”  This reflects that those individuals are experiencing very high levels of stress.  Thus, a focus needs to be on decreasing the stressors, as well as coping with them more effectively.  When panics occur, people frequently avoid situations where they have had panics, for fear of having further panics.  The trick is to expose yourself to these situations.  Avoidance compounds the anxiety.

Self-Help for Panic Attacks

1.  Something to do immediately is begin to decrease your caffeine intake, aiming to
      become caffeine-free.  This alone makes a tremendous difference for some. 
2.  Practicing deep breathing and/or other relaxation exercises are often helpful,
     ESPECIALLY when one doesn't feel the need.  This can help make you less likely to  
     have a panic, as well as help you become more skilled at using these skills when
     you feel the first twinge of anxiety.  
Deep breathing/ relaxation. 
3.  Become more aware and work to let go of Worry.
4.  Exercise can also have a preventive effect, when used regularly. 
4.  Many have found attending Recovery, Inc. meetings to be very helpful.

Call me so I can help you STOP Panic Attacks.

NIMH Panic Disorder Information

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