Dealing with Panic Attacks - Deepstash
Dealing with Panic Attacks

Dealing with Panic Attacks

  1. Find a quiet spot and determine the symptoms to confirm whether it is a panic attack or not.
  2. Talk to yourself with what you're feeling. For example: "what my body is doing right now is designed to keep me safe." This invites the frontal cortex into the conversation which is responsible for conscious thought thus helping you underline that this experience is a physical process moving through you.
  3. Breathe deeply and gradually, about 5-10 times a minute. This stimulates the vagus nerve which sends a signal to the brain that you are relaxing and to parts of the heart muscle stabilizing your pulse.

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MORE IDEAS FROM The science behind panic attacks — and what can you do to manage them

How Panic Attacks Begin

Everyone has different triggers to cause a panic attack. Usually it is a stimulus in the environment like a sound that our brain has correlated to something traumatic. Sometimes, a panic attack can be triggered with just a small jolt of caffeine.

Our amygdala sends a distress signal to the hypothalamus therefore forewarding this distress signal to out autonomic nervous system. These chemical messages engages our body and prepares it to take defensive action.

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Your Body During A Panic Attack

The symptoms of a panic attack varies from person to person but they include:

  • pounding heart
  • shortness of breath
  • light-headedness
  • sweating
  • trembling
  • nausea
  • tingling or numbness of fingers and toes
  • an overwhelming sense of impending doom

However, regardless of how scary this sounds panic attacks are not inherently dangerous. Panic attacks are just manifestations of our brain and body being our of sync, and it is a normal physiological fear response. 

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The Fear Epicenter

Our amygdala has been known to be as the fear epicenter of our brain however other studies suggest that there is some other structure in the brain that is involved in this fear-making process. 

The insular cotex and a part of the brain stem called the nucleus of the solitary tract has been found as an area that generates fear impulses.

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Experiencing Panic Attacks
  • Around 15 to 30 percent of us experience a panic attack at least once in our lives, which is essentially our body’s emergency response system.
  • Symptoms include more blood being pumped into our muscles, narrow vision, faster breaths and auto-shutting of the digestive system.
  • Side-effects may include sweating and dizziness, and the commotion usually lasts a few minutes.
  • The body is now primed for a ‘fight or flight’ response, and if there is a real danger, a panic attack can be life-saving.

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The Importance Of Breathing Techniques
  • Many different civilizations have practiced different breathing techniques as a part of their culture and their lifestyles, such as Taoists and Hindus.
  • Proper breathing allows the bodily functions, mental health, and overall well-being to perform better. It is the focal point to distract the self's attention from negative thoughts.
  • Breathing is the lowest common denominator in calming the body and the mind.

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What fear is

Fear is the body's alarm system — it’s an innate emotional response to a perceived personal threat. 

 There are two different types of alarms, panic and anxiety, both of which are adaptive. Immediate threats activate the panic alarm, while anticipating a threat sometime in the future involves the anxiety alarm.

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