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How do you stop Panicking

Having a panic attack or some type of panic in general can feel scary and overwhelming. Fortunately, there are no short or long-term medical risks associated with panic. To stop panic attacks, try to slow down your breathing and divert yourself by focusing on your physical environment. Over time, you can learn several techniques to help you control panic attacks and make them less difficult. If you experience frequent or severe panic attacks, visit a psychiatrist and discuss possible forms of therapy to stop the attacks. [1]

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Edit Stop a Panic Attack

  1. Slow down your breathing to lower your heart rate. Fast breathing (called hyperventilation) and panic are linked. If you are in a panic, try to take deep, slow breaths instead of shallow, fast. Aim to fill your lungs completely with air each time you take breath. Inhale for 2-3 seconds, hold breath for 5 seconds and breathe slowly for another 2-3 seconds. This will help you calm down and start thinking more clearly. [2]
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    • When people hyperventilate during a panic attack, they lower the amount of carbon dioxide in the blood. Studies have shown a link between low carbon dioxide and feelings of dizziness and panic.
  2. Count backwards from 100 to 3s to distract yourself. Counting backwards with 1s or 2s would be too easy and not distracting you enough to end the panic attack. Counting on the 3's will force your mind to focus on something other than the panicked state and should get the attack near the time you have reached 1. [3]
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    • If you find that Counting in your mind is not enough to stave off a panic attack, try to write down the numbers or, if you are alone, tell them aloud.
  3. Put up the loose change in your pocket if you are wearing a replacement. This is a great way to focus your mind on an objective, external situation and distract you from the panic attack. Hand in your pocket or purse and, without pulling them out to see, figure out the coins that you touch. [4]
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    • If you do not wear loose change, try to imagine coins in different combinations and compile the totals.
    • Add for example 3 quarters, 18 dimer, 7 nickels and 22 pennies.
  4. Do not talk through your emotions or conversations during an attack. Many people think that the conversation in general during a panic attack makes it worse. If this is true for you, let people know about you. It may seem logical to have an open discussion on mental health help you think out of the panic attack. However, it rarely works, and the discussions are best left for after the attack has passed. [5]
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    • Tell friends and family members something like, "If you see me having a panic attack, please don't ask how I do it. It just makes it worse."
  5. Apply ice packs to the back and hands when panicating at home. Hold 3-4 ice bags in the freezer and place 1 or 2 large ice bags over a towel draped over your lower part when you experience panic attacks. Then hold 1 ice pack in each hand. The ice will cool your body and let you focus on a physical feeling. This should distract you from your panic attack. [6]
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    • You can also try to rub an ice pack over the front of the body, from the stretcher to the abdomen. Wear a thin t-shirt so that you do not rub the ice pack directly on the skin.
    • Although this approach may not work for everyone, it is worth a shot.

Edit Prevent Panic Episodes

  1. Focus on things outside of yourself to distract your mind. If you feel panic, you come around and notice things about your environment. This will distract you and should remove the panic attack. Look around and note 1 thing you can taste, 2 you can smell, 3 you can touch and 4 things you can see. [7]
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    • If you are in an office, for example, take a look through your environment. Taste coffee, smell someone's perfume, watch a wall clock and touch the floor to help you distract and re-orient your attention.
  2. Remove yourself from stressors that cause panic. Preventing panic attacks can be as easy as getting you out of a situation you know will cause panic. So try to avoid places and meetings that you know will make you feel anxious and panic. Stay away from panic-inducing trigger when it is within your control. [8]
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    • For example, if you know you are panicking when you are exposed to heights, avoid visiting your friend in their top floor penthouse.
    • Or if you panic when other people get around you, don't take the subway as part of your daily commute.
  3. Participate in calming or relaxing activities at least 2-3 times a week. Stress builds up over time and can lead to an increase in panic attacks. To keep you calm and panic-free, spend 3-4 hours each week with activities that relieve stress and promote a calm, relaxed state of mind. This will prevent panic attacks. Relaxing and meditative activities include things like: [9]
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    • Practice yoga
    • Learn to meditate
  4. Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day to relieve stuffy anxiety. Such as yoga or meditation, regular exercise can reduce stress and prevent panic attacks. It can also increase your overall energy level and increase your mood. The exercise can be done according to a time or divided into, for example, 3 separate 10-minute exercises per day. [10] To train for 30 minutes a day, try things like:
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    • Take a walk outdoors
    • Jogging through a nearby park
    • Swimming in a local recenter pool
    • Jump rope or run on a treadmill at your gym

Editing Panic Disorders

  1. Try CBT to change panic attack related thought patterns. Cognitive behavioral therapy – or CBT helps people with panic disorder by allowing them to think through the environmental and psychological causes of panic attacks. Work with a local therapist to see if CBT helps your panic disorder. In many cases, some treatment sessions are enough to permanently stop or reduce your panic attacks. [11]
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    • For example, say you are afraid of experiencing a panic attack while driving. Your therapist will talk you through the hypothetical scenario and help you realize that the situation, while it may sound scary, would not be particularly dangerous or life-threatening.
  2. Use exposure therapy if specific stressors trigger your panic attacks. A therapist or psychiatrist can help you use exposure treatment to overcome your panic-inducing fear of certain activities or situations. Like treating someone with a phobia, exposure treatment will expose you to panic-inducing stressors in small steps. Over time, the stressors will stop causing panic attacks. [12]
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    • For example, if you often have a panic attack when your heart is competing, the therapist may ask you to run in place for 10 minutes to raise your heart rate.
  3. Ask a therapist about medication if you have frequent panic attacks. While drugs can stop panic attacks and fight anxiety, they do not address the underlying issue. But if you have frequent, serious panic attacks and your counselor or psychiatrist believes that medication helps, they can give you a prescription for an anti-panic medication. [13]
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    • Always take the medicine as directed, and never exceed the prescribed daily dose.
    • To prevent panic attacks, doctors may prescribe antidepressants (which must be taken daily) or anti-anxiety drugs such as benzodiazepines.
  4. Don't let the fear of panic control your life. Many people suffering from panic attacks find them scary and unpredictable. As a result, people can shut themselves in their homes to avoid the perceived embarrassment of a general panic attack. [14] Avoid this result by reminding yourself that you can control panic attacks, and having one is not the end of the world. Then go about your life as usual.
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    • Try to tell yourself, "A panic attack is not the end of the world. I know how to stop them, and they can't hurt me. Many have them."

Edit Tips

  • Use sunglasses if you find that your panic attacks are triggered or exacerbated by bright light. [15]

Editing Warnings

  • Benzodiazepines are a very addictive type of medication. They can also cause dangerous withdrawal symptoms in case of abuse. Talk to your doctor before taking these meds because you know how to safely take them. [16]

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