Panic Attacks Everything you Need to Know
Are you struggling to breathe? Do you feel dizzy? Is your heart racing so fast you can almost hear it? Chances are, you’re having a panic attack. Rest assured, you are not alone. Panic attacks are the most common mental health problem in the United States, affecting 40 million adults each year.
Referred to as ‘attack’ for good reason, panic attacks are sudden, sometimes unpredictable forces of pain that shoot through your chest causing you to panic. When your body goes into ‘panic mode’, you may begin to experience symptoms of a panic attack: your chest may feel like it’s caving in and your thoughts may feel like it’s closing up. But aside from the physical symptoms that come with a panic attack, these attacks can also lead to dissociation and cause difficulty determining what is real and what is not real.
Panic attacks are scary. They give you a sense of loss of control and you may even feel like you’re dying. But being prepared for anything will help you, especially in cases of emergencies. In this blog, we will cover everything you need to know about panic attacks and go over a few tips to help you recover from a panic attack as quickly and safely as possible.
I Am Having a Panic Attack, What Do I Do?
Panic attacks are not always easy to determine, but knowing how to determine if you are experiencing a panic attack may help you know how to calm it down quicker.
Panic attack symptoms include:
- Shaking or trembling
- Numbness or tingling
- Feeling of unreality or detachment
- Shortness of breath or tightness in throat/chest
- Fear of loss of control or death
Did you know that breathing exercises can help you bring more oxygen to your brain? In moments of panic and distress, our flight or fight mode kicks in, leaving most of us restless and unable to breathe properly during a panic attack. Thankfully, there are ways to overcome this.
Try this: Breathe in through your nose and count to seven. Exhale through your mouth and count to seven again. Repeat this process until you feel like you have gained more control over your breathing.
Once you have gained control over your breathing, it’s time to proceed with a few others steps that may help you during a panic attack:
Know that you are not dying, even if it may feel like you are. Panic attacks are temporary and you will get through it. Speak to yourself and reassure yourself that you are not alone. Focus on your breathing and practice breathing exercises. Remember to inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth slowly until you regain control over your breathing.
- Look around you. Are there people around you? What is the weather like outside? What color are the walls? Focusing on details around you can help reorient yourself and in turn, help you calm down.
- Make sure you keep your feet on the floor. Keeping your feet on the floor will help you ground yourself. If you choose to lay down, especially if you are experiencing nausea or dizziness, you may struggle feeling in control or safe.
- Practice to H.A.L.T. Ask yourself: Are you hungry? Angry? Lonely? Tired? Once you are able to determine if you feel any of these feelings, you can identify your triggers for panic attacks more easily.
- Do some math! Odd, right? Well, whether you’re good at math or not, doing simple calculations can help you distract yourself from what is happening while affecting parts of your brain. If you are experiencing a panic attack, simple math can trigger similar areas of the brain.
- Go to your happy place. Are you a bath person? Do you love cooking? Do you like going on a drive and listening to music? Distracting yourself is a useful and effective tool to help a panic attack end.
What Are Panic Attacks?
While we know that panic attacks are sudden episodes of intense fear that trigger severe physical reactions, what physiologically causes panic attacks? What happens in the brain when we experience a panic attack? And why do they happen in the first place?
Panic attacks can affect anybody at any age. However, certain people at certain ages are more prone to experiencing more frequent panic attacks. According to the Mayo Clinic, panic attacks are more common in teenagers and young adults.
When we feel stressed, our sympathetic nervous systems release energy that helps prepare the body for action. The nervous system then steps in, and the body stabilizes to a calmer state. However, if the nervous system is unable to do its job, the body will remain fired up and may experience symptoms of a panic attack.
According to Scientific American, researchers have identified certain parts of the brain that become hyperactive during a panic attack, specifically the fear center of the brain known as the amygdala, that control a number of functions such as our experience with pain.
Typically, panic attacks stem from triggers that most of us may be unaware of. This can include overbreathing, excessive coffee drinking, changes of environments, long periods of stress, and activities that lead to intense physical reactions. By identifying triggers and brain regions involved in panic attacks, we can improve our understanding regarding panic attacks.
Are My Dreams Related to Panic or Anxiety?
Have you ever woken up in the morning, or in the middle of the night, only to find that your body is experiencing a full blown, heart-racing fight of flight mode? Dreams can often be related to panic and anxiety.
Common signs of anxiety in dreams:
- Being chased.
- Being physically attacked.
- Feeling trapped or suffocated.
- Arguments or verbally aggressive interactions.
- Falling or fear of dying.
- Sleep apnea dreams.
- Losing teeth.
Dreams are often related to internal feelings, fears, or stresses in your daily life. Some scientists and dream analysts believe that repetitive dreams can often mean that your mind is trying to tell you something.
Dreaming of struggling to breathe is often related to anxiety and the fear of experiencing panic attacks. Because a panic attack affects your breathing and heart rate, these dreams can portray fear and anxiety. Stress is also a common factor that plays into panic attacks and can suggest fear of a potential panic attack.
How Can I Relieve Stress? Viral Tips & Tricks
Did you know taking a warm bath is one of the best ways to enhance serotonin in your body? According to Body & Earth, a hot bath has been proven to stimulate proper blood flow in the body as well as lighten your mood and help relax your mind.
There are other techniques that have been circling the internet on how to calm yourself down when experiencing a panic attack:
- Sensory grounding with ice cold water or ice cubes. Something as simple as dunking your head into a bowl of ice water can decrease stress and trigger your brain. The shock sensation of the ice touching sensitive skin, such as the skin on your face, can help you “snap out” of a state of panic.
- Biting into a lemon. People on the internet have shared that biting into a lemon has helped them recover from a panic attack within seconds. The shock to your senses that a bitter lemon relieves can help your body navigate its attention away from the panic attack and focus on something else, such as the sourness of the lemon.
- The 3-3-3 rule. Another viral tactic going around the internet. Look around you and name three things you see. Then, name three sounds you hear. Finally, move three parts of your body. Repeat this until you feel less anxiety and panicky.
Practicing what works best for you can help you for future possible panic attacks. Not everything works for everyone, so narrowing a few simple steps and tricks to help you calm down can be a very useful tactic.
FOUND ME Is Here To Help
Whether you’ve experienced one panic attack or a thousand panic attacks, or maybe none at all, ensuring your safety is critical. Panic attacks affect people differently, but some can lead a person to unconsciousness, and in more severe cases, lead to seizures, strokes, and heart attacks.
A Possible Scenario: To understand FOUND ME a little better, here is a scenario that could happen to you, me, your parents or children.
You are walking down the street eager to pick up your morning coffee before heading to work. Your routine is the same every morning, nothing is out of the ordinary other than the fact your chest feels a little tight and your ears are a little muffled. Maybe today, you’re a little more stressed than usual. Maybe you’re just anticipating your first sip of coffee for the day.
Suddenly, you fall to your knees in a fetal-like position. Unsure of what is happening to you, your state worsens within seconds and your heart begins to race faster and faster. Unable to speak or think clearly, you freeze.
Pedestrians around you rush to help you and ask if you’re okay. Someone notices a QR code on what looks like an emergency bracelet you are wearing. Once scanned with any regular smartphone, critical information about you is released to the scanner. Blood type, health conditions, allergies and just about any key medical information that could be critical to your situation is now known to those around you trying to help you.
Another key factor that FOUND ME has to offer is that once the QR code is scanned, all of your emergency contacts are notified. This could be a car crash or simply falling unconscious in the street. Your loved ones are now aware of any incident you have just faced.
FOUND ME’s emergency bracelet helps you know that you are never alone and that in cases of panic attacks, when you can’t seem to speak, FOUND ME will speak for you.
To learn more about FOUND ME and everything it has to offer for you, your family, and even your pets, visit www.foundme.com.
“headline”: “Panic Attacks Everything you Need to Know”,
“description”: “Are you struggling to breathe? Do you feel dizzy? Is your heart racing so fast you can almost hear it? Chances are, you’re having a panic attack. Rest assured, you are not alone. Panic attacks are the most common mental health problem in the United States”,
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