Where do panic attacks come from?
Anxiety is a stress reaction to a potential danger. It activates the sympathetic nervous system in the brain, adrenaline is poured, the digestion is stopped, the legs are better circulated, the heart beat is faster. Energy for fight or escape is available. If the fear is not real, there is nothing to fight or escape. The energy must be dismantled differently – a panic attack can occur.
Panic attacks can occur due to number of disorders including social anxiety disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, drug use, depression, and medical problems. Quite often psychological stress (for a long time) is the trigger.
Common Missunderstandings while experiencing an attack
• The fear grows immeasurably
This is not possible, the fear increases, but only takes 15-20 minutes, then MUST go down again
• „I’m going to faint“
False, if we fainted at risk, we would have already become extinct. Even while hyperventilating your body gets enough air.
• „I have to die“
Not correct. The goal of fear is to escape from the menacing situation. There is no real threat here. There is no reason to leave the situation.
• Constantly listening to your own body „I am definitely seriously ill“
You are healthy (a check at the doctor’s is always recommended). Such thoughts hinder you from realizing what really happens and where your fear comes from.
10 Tips in case of a panic attack
Tip 1: Make the following exercise:
Breathe a bit deeper than usual, and breathe slowly out in a single flowing motion, without holding the breath after inhaling. When you have exhaled, stop breathing for about 6 to 10 seconds by counting in your mind from 1 to 10. Find out for yourself which time is most comfortable for you. After you stop breathing, breathe again, breathe again slowly and then hold it for another 6 to 10 seconds. Repeat this exercise for 2 to 3 minutes or until you feel much more relaxed and relaxed.
Tip 2: Chew gum or jelly beans. Chewing relieves stress and helps to reduce anxiety. Therefore, many sufferers always carry chewing gum with oneself.
Tip 3: Drink some refreshing, e.g. cold water with ice cubes.
Tip 4: Eat something very sharp or extremely sour. Extreme feelings of taste distract our „panic system“.
Tip 5: Distraction by pain. Lay a rubber band around your arm. As soon as the fear creeps in, let the band snap several times so that you feel a slight physical pain – This one most clients feel very helpful
TIP 6: Speak to your symptoms, like this:“ Hello Panic Attack, there you are again. All right, quietly quit. Now come on. I know you’re harmless and I will not fall or faint. This has never happened to anyone, so I’m sure. I am healthy. You can’t hurt me. Come on, come on!“
Tip 7: Is there anyone near you that you can talk to? Or can you call someone? Then do it.
Tip 8: Listen to music or sing. Do you have a favorite song or „anthem“? Then it works even better. Many people are successfully using this strategy to distract themselves from their anxious thoughts and feelings.
Tip 9: Take a relaxing exercise like “Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) by Jacobson”. Tighten certain muscles in the body for approximately 10 to 15 seconds and then release them. First the arms, then the legs, the butt, the belly … etc. Repeat tensing and relaxing several times.
Tip 10: Move. Walk around the room or wherever you are, with quick steps. You may want to run around the block once. Even if you would rather spare yourself – movement reduces stress hormones.
During my consultation we will talk about some more treatments, how to find the reasons for this disorder, and what you could do to let it go.