3 Tips on Preventing Panic Attacks

By: Michael Porteous

Panic attacks or anxiety attacks are an affliction caused by various conditions that are generally lumped under the classification of anxiety disorders. These range from a variety of phobias to more specialized disorders such as OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), SAD (Social Anxiety Disorder), PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), and GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder).

These conditions lead to the sufferer needing tips on preventing panic attacks panic attacks as in a panic attack a persons fears become so overt in their mind that their 'fight or flight' mechanisms start to take over their body releasing adrenaline and raising the heart rate and other symptoms that are akin to what a person would expect in a really dangerous situation but this can happen in mundane times for people with anxiety disorders.

Some Tips to help prevent panic attacks are:

1. Breathing

When a person has a panic attack they often start to breath very fast and too deeply which causes a lack of carbon dioxide in the bloodstream. Called hyperventilation, this leads to an increased heart rate that increased anxiety further and can lead to fainting, chest pains, headaches and slurred speech. To combat this you must focus on your breathing and instead of taking fast deep breaths try to breath out as hard as you can taking shallower breaths and exhaling as much as you can. This is called hypoventilation and when self induced like this it will provide the opposite effect that hyperventilation has on a person slowing the heart rate and thus calming you down.

2. Distraction

When your mind becomes a mess of fear and anxiety over something it leads to intrusive thoughts and a focus on whatever set off the anxiety attack so when preventing panic attacks you should try to distract yourself and focus on something else. While "just don't think about it" sounds trite it is important to not start on the downward spiral of panic by taking a step away to somewhere else. Some tips are to call a friend but don't talk about anxiety, turn on the TV and flick channels around for a while but most important is that you need to do something and take action physically and mentally or you will be caught in the same trap again.

3. Understanding

While applying the previous tips can help you avoid a full blown panic attack the best tip on preventing panic attacks is that you must understand what triggers them. Again this may sound trite as you may know what triggers your anxiety, it might be public speaking, the dark, people you do not know or a whole host of other things. This reason is just the top layer though, to dig a bit deeper and know why you fear these things is a vital art in understanding your condition and to prevent panic attacks. The more you understand why the fear comes on and why that base reason exists means you are armed with knowledge that allows you to be one step ahead of your fears so you can plan and be prepared when it happens so the shock does not unnerve you.



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