Panic Attack Treatments – Friend or Foe?

You may begin breathing very rapidly and complain that your “heart is jumping around in your chest.” Then, within about an hour, the symptoms fade away. Would a panic attack treatment benefit you?

What is a panic attack?

Reacting to anxiety, panic is a physical reaction. Called the ‘fight or flight’ response, panic is a natural response to danger and is actually your body’s signal to get out of harm’s way. When there is no basis of a hazard and panic sets in it can be linked to two causes – tension or possibly, a panic disorder. Panic attack treatments will lessen the problem.

A panic attack is a distinct phase of controlling dread or discomfort, in which four (or more) of the following symptoms developed rapidly and reached a climax within 10 minutes:

Rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath or inability to breath, dizziness or nausea, sweating, shaking or trembling, a sense of fear or dread, tingling sensation in the fingers or toes, chest pain, hot flashes or chills, thinking you are going to die or go crazy, trembling or shaking, feeling of choking, de realization (feelings of unreality) or depersonalization (being detached from oneself).

Reasons for panic attacks

According to one theory of panic disorder, the body’s normal “alarm system,” the set of mental and physical mechanisms that allows a person to respond to a threat, tends to be triggered unnecessarily, when there is no danger. Scientists don’t know exactly why this happens, or why some people are more susceptible to the problem than others.

Problems with some medications

Some medications used to care for anxiety have an addictive element. You may be at risk using some of the following drugs. These Anti anxiety drugs – like Xanax, Valium, Klonopin, and Ativan will help reduce anxiety. The problem is once you try to wean yourself from the drug the anxiety returns. Finding a non pharmaceutical resolution is critical to long lasting cure.

Divulged, some panic attack treatments.

If you think you have been experiencing panic attacks you will need to be diagnosed by your physician or referred to a psychiatrist. While the physical symptoms may not be connected to a mental condition, often the fear of having panic attacks in public leads to phobias that may need to be treated as well.

Become skilled at taking it easy

Gaining the wisdom on relaxation is a breakthrough for some and can be the biggest panic attack treatment realized. Think about it, who do you know that you would say really knows how to relax? This knowledge will help you head off a panic attack. You can discover how to relax through a variety of techniques, muscle relaxation, relaxed breathing and guided imagery (visualization).

Relaxation is more than getting away from the work-a-day grind, and it’s more than the absence of stress. It’s a deliberate action that’s encouraging and rewarding – a feeling in which you experience peace of mind. True relaxation requires becoming insightful to your basic needs for tranquility, self-awareness and considerate reflection and having the willingness to meet these needs.

Relaxation techniques can help diminish the anxiety and duration of the signs and symptoms of stress, such as headaches, anxiety, high blood pressure, trouble falling asleep, hyperventilation, and clenching or grinding your teeth. One simple method is to remove yourself from a stressful situation, block the world out and concentrate on your body. These panic attack treatment steps can help you relax:

Sit or lie in a comfortable position and close your eyes. Allow your jaw to drop and your eyelids to be relaxed and heavy, but not tightly closed.

Mentally scan your body. Start with your toes and work slowly up through your legs, buttocks, torso, arms, hands, fingers, neck and head. Focus on each part individually. Where you feel tension, imagine it melting away.

Tighten the muscles in one area of your body. Hold the muscles for a count of five or more before relaxing and moving on to the next area. This is a good method for releasing tension. Tighten the muscles of your face, shoulders, arms, legs and buttocks. I love this panic attack treatment.

Allow thoughts to flow through your mind, but don’t focus on any of them. Many people find using autosuggestion to be a great help. Suggest to yourself that you’re relaxed and calm, that your hands are heavy and warm (or cool if you’re hot), that your heart is beating calmly, and that you feel perfectly at peace.

Breathe slowly, regularly and deeply during the procedure. Once you’re relaxed, imagine you’re in a favorite place or in a spot of great beauty and stillness. After five or 10 minutes, rouse yourself from the state gradually.

Many of these techniques require a trial period before you can become adept using them. Some of the natural panic attack treatments have provided the relief without the concern of drug usage.

Dr Hoffman
Mayo Clinic

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