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How to Manage Panic Attacks

A panic attack

The current pandemic is affecting the entire globe. As a result, many people may be experiencing panic attacks for the first time.

A panic attack happens suddenly, with short-lived disabling anxiety, fear, or discomfort. Your vision can get blurry, your chest can tighten, and you can't breathe.

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How to Manage Panic Attacks

How to Manage Panic Attacks

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/11/smarter-living/coronavirus-managing-panic-attacks.html

nytimes.com

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Key Ideas

A panic attack

The current pandemic is affecting the entire globe. As a result, many people may be experiencing panic attacks for the first time.

A panic attack happens suddenly, with short-lived disabling anxiety, fear, or discomfort. Your vision can get blurry, your chest can tighten, and you can't breathe.

The body's response

A perceived threat may activate the body's physiological "fight or flight" response, similar to what your body would do if you're near a tiger. Your heart starts racing and pumping blood, so your muscles have the fuel to run or fight. 

Panic attacks are relatively common. One in four Americans will have at least one panic attack in their lives. But the pandemic seems to be causing many people to suffer panic attacks within a short time.

Panic attack symptoms

The tightening of the chest and breathing difficulties are often confused for symptoms of the new virus.

Panic attacks come on suddenly and typically last only 15 to 20 minutes, while symptoms of the virus emerge over a few days. With the virus, you will also have other symptoms, like a fever and a cough.

Guidelines

For healthy people, a panic attack isn't dangerous. If you experience a panic attack, try the following:

  • Practice full, consistent breathing to combat hyperventilation.
  • Use relaxing distractions, like listening to music.
  • Another distraction method is to stop and notice five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste.
  • Exercise can also help stave off future panic attacks.

If someone else is in distress, do the following:

  • Ask the person if they want space or support.
  • Don't tell the person to "just calm down." Acknowledge their fear, and let them know you're there to support them.

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  • Caving into societal pressures to be ‘nice’ or be a high achiever
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  • Childhood trauma
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  • Visit your primary care doctor. Your symptoms may be from another condition with similar symptoms.
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  • Close your eyes and inhale slowly through your nose.
  • Exhale deeply.
  • Continue to breathe deeply and fully. Allow your breath to be a guide to the present.
  • With each breath in, think to yourself “be” and with each breath out, focus on the word “present. ”

Figure Out What's Bothering You

The physical symptoms of panic and anxiety, such as trembling, chest pain, and rapid heartbeat, are more obvious than the reason you are anxious. But, to get to the root of your anxiety, you need to stop and think about your thoughts and feelings.

Writing all that bothers you or talking with a friend can help you understand your anxious feelings.

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