I’m Having a Panic Attack
Most people only experience one or two panic attacks in their lifetimes; however, if these have become frequent experiences for you, speaking to a mental health professional can help provide diagnosis and treatment. Although not dangerous, the symptoms experienced can be frightening and affect your quality of life negatively.
Panic disorders are relatively common in the US, impacting around 1.3% of population according to data from the American Psychological Association (APA). Although they can be caused by stressful situations, symptoms usually subside once these pressures have passed.
You can try to reduce anxiety by taking deep breaths. Put your hand between your bellybutton and bottom ribs, inhale deeply, hold for four counts, then exhale slowly through your mouth.
Sleeping well each night can help to alleviate panic symptoms. Aim for seven to nine hours of uninterrupted restful sleep per night, as insomnia may exacerbate existing anxiety.
Your thoughts during a panic attack can become overwhelming and overstimulating, so try to calm them by closing your eyes and focusing on breathing or other senses. Additionally, challenge any negative, untrue thoughts running through your mind – such as “This will last forever” or “I will die.”
If the attack is lasting longer than 10 minutes and its symptoms are starting to interfere with work, seek medical advice. Your GP will conduct a physical examination in order to rule out other potential causes for what you’re feeling.