Identifying what is a panic attack and how to effectively manage them

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If you are asking yourself what is a panic attack, you should consider yourself as being one of the lucky ones. There  are only so many things to compare panic attacks with, but the only thing that does justice in comparing is that the experience is one in which the person who suffers from the attack feels as though they have lost complete control over their body, while intense fear causes them to feel the need of running away. All this is taking place as the individual is making desperate attempts to remain composed more so when there are other individuals around. Your rational mind is telling you that there is nothing wrong you need to gather your composure. You are feeling quite embarrassed and humiliated, and you would rather not be in the situation. Unfortunately, this is not possible as you are experiencing a response that is physiological. You are responding to something, and in many instances you are not able to identify the cause. In response to this your bodies adrenal gland  floods you system with noradrenaline and adrenaline, this causes your heart to race and increases your breathing, your sweat glands will immediately begin to produce large amounts of sweat. This is the class panic attack.

what is a panic attack

The triggers for panic attacks

Fear that manifests as a physical reaction to a particular condition that is dangerous, example someone treating you with physical harm, or you losing control of your vehicle due to the tire blowing out. This triggers your bodies fight or flight mechanism, the release of chemicals from you adrenal glands allows you to respond faster as your brain diverts its attention and the body’s energy so that you can get out of danger. This type of fear reaction is needed for survival that which accompanies a level of fierce intensity. You human person is answering to a situation that is deemed life threatening.  

The type of fear is what comes with a panic attack or anxiety disorder is an emotional response that is causing your fight of flight process to start, even when there is no danger present. The fact is you are experiencing is a genuine physical response, i.e. your body has released the chemicals; you are just not able to shove through the fear. This is where managing the fear become necessary. Below are some useful tips on what you are to do when you are experiencing a panic attack.

Fear is categorized into two groups these are physical and emotion. There are times when an individual can experience both together or distinctly. An example of the fear that is contained in one’s emotion is when you feel the need to do something, but you are not sure that the results will be satisfactory. This type of fear is associated with future events and is quite easy to resolve. You can acknowledge that the fear exists and move ahead with what your plans are.

Panic Attack what needs to happen

If you are undergoing a panic attack, you need to know that what you are experiencing is real. It is not something that is imagined, and no you are not irrational. Your body is responding physically to what is perceived as danger. These sensations can be very intense and extremely frightening.

You first response to regain control, is to take control of breathing, deeply breathe, and if possible start humming a song. Singing with greatly assist you in controlling your breathing. This will greatly aid in the dissipation of symptoms that you may be currently having.

Your next step will be removing yourself from the location. It is quite embarrassing for others to find out that you are panicking, and this will add anxiety to a situation that is already bad. Try to find a place that is quiet, whether outdoors or a bathroom, somewhere that is alone. This will not end the incident, but it will reduce the feelings of anxiety that you are experiencing.

If you do not want to remove yourself or can’t remove yourself from the scene, you will need to identify routes that you can escape. An example of this is if you are on a subway; tell yourself that you can get off at the next stop if you want to. If the attack takes place on an elevator, tell yourself that the doors will open shortly, and you can walk out. At a party recognize that the exit is right there, and you can leave out when you want.

Always distract yourself, if you on a flight, for example, listen to some soothing music or find something to read, this will allow you to refocus your thoughts on something that is more specific which improves your mood and this will go a long way in preventing an attack.

Ride out the attack, the biochemical reaction that you are experiencing will not last indefinitely. This is a short term release, which is designed to aid you when you need to escape from danger; the body is not designed to say in an anxious state for a long time. Soon after the initial burst of chemicals you will soon start to manufacture other substances that act as a counteraction. As these chemical take effects the experience will become much easier to manage. Tell yourself constantly that the panic attack will ultimately end.

In the presence of someone who is experiencing a panic attack

Never touch someone who is having a panic attack that is of course unless they ask you to, your first reaction many to be holding them as a form of comfort. When someone is panicking, he or she is experiencing a sensory excess. Their minds and bodies find it difficult to mesh out smells, sounds, sights and feelings. Anything that you attempt to do will only increases their negative experience.

Do no exaggerate the situation. The individual who is having the panic attack is also worried about humiliation; they do not want the people around them to find out. You can reduce this anxiety by remaining silent and not attracting interest to the situation.

Speak to them with reassurance telling them that it will all be ok. Try with their consent to move to a location that is much more private.  Let them know you are willing to wait for them and that is not a big deal, they do not have to be uncomfortable.

Knowing what is a panic attack is one of your first lines of defense in helping yourself and others who may suffer from this debilitating psychological state.

References:
Basic Facts About Panic Attacks : anxietynetwork.com
Are you having panic attacks? : nhs.uk

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