What's the best way to cope with a panic attack?

Answered by Heather Morgan on Monday, January 18, 2010 at 11:03 AM filed under general postings
According to psychologist Reid Wilson, Ph.D., author of Don't Panic, panic attacks are two-pronged; and when they strike, it helps to identify both the physical symptoms and thoughts of impending doom. Another telltale sign of a panic attack is that those thoughts are always about the body. For example, you might think, I'm going to have a heart attack, or I'm going to faint, whereas with a phobia you might think, Planes are dangerous, or Crowds make me anxious. If what you are experiencing is a panic attack, Wilson recommends taking these steps:

Fight the urge to run away; just sit still.
Accept the physical symptoms. if your heart feels like it's going to beat its way out of your chest, think of trying to make it beat even faster. The rationale? When you resist physical symptoms, they get worse.
Discredit your thoughts of impending doom. Think of them as "noise," advises Wilson, because they don't signal anything and aren't helpful or an accurate warning.
Take slow, gentle breaths down in your belly. High, shallow breathing through your upper chest can cause you to hyperventilate.
Wait, and have patience. In extreme cases where people experience repeated panic attacks, psychologists will often teach patients formal relaxation techniques to get their baseline anxiety level down. According to Wilson, meditation and relaxation tapes can instill a general calmness, and that helps a person not to peak so high when anxious moments come.


Follow Us

Explore FitClick
Browse this section for quick links to our calorie counter and other popular diet and fitness features. From diet plans to weight loss programs, FitClick has the content you need to lead a healthy life. Find workout routines, a calorie calculator and more at your source for diet and fitness information.
We have updated our Privacy Policy, effective May 25, 2018. We have done this in preparation for the EU's new data privacy law, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Please take the time to review our updated documentation by clicking on the Privacy Policy link at the bottom of this page. By continuing to use this service on or after May 25, 2018, you agree to our updated Privacy Policy.