Most American adults are not new to panic disorder since the condition affects about 6 million of them. Chance are that you or somebody you know has experienced a panic attack at some point in their life. And if you’re a young adult woman, you’re twice as likely to develop the disorder as statistics show.
Interestingly or somewhat unfortunately, many panic disorder patients would tell you that their first episode of a panic attack landed them in the emergency room as they thought it was a heart attack. The symptoms are painstakingly similar and can be quite scary.
So, in case you feel like you have a panic attack, here’s what you need to do.
Step 1: Start Taking Deeper Breaths
During a panic attack, it’s normal to feel out of breath or experience chest tightness. In which case, some deep mindful breathing can really help. There are certain specialized breathing techniques to help with anxiety during a panic attack.
But in general, you can try and breathe very slowly but deeply while focusing on your breathing pattern. Counting while inhaling and exhaling is also good for focus.
However, do keep in mind that deep breathing doesn’t work for everybody and can actually make things worse for some; find what works best for you.
Step 2: Accept That You’re Having A Panic Attack
In many situations, or in fact, in all situations related to the mind, acceptance is key to recovery. So even while you’re having what feels like a heart attack, remind yourself that it’s a panic attack. Be mindfully aware of what’s happening—this can be difficult to do but needs to be done in order to move on towards coping.
Once you accept it for what it really is, remind yourself that the feeling is temporary and that you’re not actually dying; no matter how much it feels so, it will pass.
Step 3: Find A Happy Thought or Object to Focus On
This can be your happy place or a happy memory but picture something or somewhere you feel at peace. Close your eyes and let yourself drift to someplace that feels safe and calm, and focus on how relaxed you feel in that memory.
It could also help to focus on a physical object within the present environment to feel grounded. Think deeply about the object but make sure it’s not a trigger but just a distraction. It can be something completely ordinary and meaningless like a stone, toy, or even a wall.
Step 4: Use Lavender in Some Form
Lavender has soothing properties and can help relieve stress. If you have panic attacks often, it could be a good idea to carry some lavender essential oil with you at all times. Breathe in the scent and apply to forearms during an attack to see the magic.
Let people around you know that they should give you lavender tea during an attack in case you feel physically unable to do it yourself.
Please note that it cannot be used with benzodiazepines. It’ll just make you extremely drowsy, which also isn’t great for you.
Step 5: Consult A Doctor
If you have recurring panic attacks, it’s a good idea to stay in touch with a doctor. They can assess your condition periodically and prescribe medication to help you cope with the attacks and possibly reduce the frequency.
If you’re looking for online panic disorder consultations, we can help. We provide online healthcare services, and by scheduling an appointment with us, you can get doctor’s advice online with minimal hassle.
Get in touch to set up an online consultation for panic disorder right away!