Guest Post by Ryan Rivera of CalmClinc.com
Panic attacks affect millions of people all over the world, and for many represent a debilitating mental health condition. Panic attacks are unique, in that while they’re related solely to your psychological health, the experience of a panic attack is one that mimics more serious health disorders. Many liken a panic attack to that of a heart attack, and indeed the two can be almost completely indistinguishable. Panic attacks also have a tendency to cause concern over the state of your physical health.
One of the problems with curing panic attacks is that you cannot simply “think” them away. In fact, the more you think about panic attacks, the more likely you are to get them. Often those with panic disorder trigger a panic attack for the simple reason that they’re worried about getting one, creating a vicious cycle that ultimately leads to more, severe panic episodes.
Reducing Panic Through Facing the Disorder
There are several strategies for cutting back on your panic attacks, but one of the ones that is often most useful for those that know they have panic disorder is to face the problem head on – embracing the panic attack in a way that seems counter-intuitive.
To do this, you would need to consider all of the following:
- See Your Doctor – Before you do anything, make sure you’re in as good health as possible. Have everything checked out with a complete physical and let your doctor know that you are experiencing panic attacks so that they can rule out all other causes. Try to avoid medicine for panic attacks if you can, however, as these rarely cure the condition and make it harder to learn adequate coping strategies.
- Go Out Waiting for a Panic Attack – Once your doctor has ruled out any and all potential causes of panic, your next step is to start waiting for them. Even if you know you’re going to have a panic attack you’re still likely to get them, but trying not to get them only makes the severity of the panic attack worse. Go out in public with a friend or relative that knows what you’re going through and wait for your panic attack to occur. When it does, you and your friend will simply wait out the panic attack and you can get on with your day.
- Discover Distraction Tools – The severity of the panic attack is often related to the amount of focus you place on it. So while you’re waiting for your panic attack and during the attack itself, see if you can discover things that successfully distract you. Some people find that drinking water helps. Others may have a game they enjoy on their smartphone or a song they like getting stuck in their head.
- Jog During Breaks – When you are not experiencing any panic attacks and if your heart is in good health, start jogging. Jogging regulates some of the thought processes that trigger panic attacks and reduce some of the physical energy that contributes to their severity. Wait until you are feeling no signs of a panic attack, however, because you want to be able to jog long enough to feel some of the physical benefits, and anxiety can weaken the body making jogging a bit more difficult.
This is only one step in reducing your panic attack frequency. You’ll still need to find ways to reduce your anxiety symptoms and improve your coping mechanisms. But confronting your panic attacks head on is a great way to reduce the severity and frequency of the attacks, until in the end you find them less debilitating and are living a greater quality of life.
About the Author: Ryan Rivera experienced severe panic attacks that hospitalized him regularly until he found ways to control them. Now he shares his experiences with others at www.calmclinic.com.