Living with a panic disorder can be difficult on you both mentally and physically. When you add in the current global health crisis, it can have devastating effects on your already anxious mind. While the anxiety can seem daunting and overwhelming to say the least, learning how to calm your thoughts can greatly improve your chances of fighting off even the most severe panic attacks that may come.
It doesn't matter how long you've lived with panic attacks — they may never seem to get easier. That’s where the skilled doctors at Carolina Wellness Psychiatry can help. They can help you navigate the road to treating your attacks and help you find ways to cope with panic disorder.
Panic attacks — what are they?
If you suffer from panic attacks, you know they’re more than just a feeling of fear. The truth is, panic attacks actually stem from a larger, more complex anxiety disorder known as panic disorder. This disorder, which comes from a physiological response to one or more triggers, is characterized by repeated panic attacks that cause you to experience overwhelming fear, even though there’s nothing around you that’s life-threatening or dangerous.
You may experience these attacks anywhere and anytime — while driving, at home sleeping, shopping, or at dinner with friends. They usually come on suddenly, and the intensity peaks within just a few minutes. Some of the symptoms of a panic attack include:
- Heart palpitations
- Chest pain
- Feeling of impending doom
- Tingling or numbness
- Shortness of breath
One of the biggest fears you may experience with this disorder is the probability of more attacks. This may cause you to avoid anything you think may trigger such an attack, which can narrow down your activities and interfere with your quality of life.
Calming tips to help you during an attack
With so much uncertainty right now, which includes social distancing and isolating at home, your panic attacks may be at an all-time high. That doesn't mean, though, that there aren’t options for you to control your attacks and calm your mind — far from it. Here are some things you can do to ease your emotions in the midst of an attack.
Try deep breathing
Panic attacks can cause your breathing to speed up, which can ultimately feed into your fears. By slowing your breathing down, you can reduce other symptoms, helping to bring the attack to a halt. Deep breathing is a great option as long as you can focus on breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth — slowly and methodically.
Your panic attacks may be brought on by what are called triggers, actions or events that cause you to be overwhelmed with irrational fear. While having an attack, closing your eyes to reduce outside stimuli may help you fight off the attack. Keeping your eyes closed can also help you focus on deep breathing and slowing your heart rate.
Find an object to focus on
While some may benefit from closing their eyes, others may benefit from finding a single object to focus all their attention on during an attack. This can be any stationary object that you can see. Try to focus all of your energy on that object, making mental notes of the color, the size, the texture — everything and anything to keep your mind focused on that instead of the intense fear in your mind.
Picture a place that brings you happiness
Make room in your mind for a destination that makes you think of relaxing and unwinding. It could be a beautiful beach on the coast, a lush tropical oasis, or a snowy mountain in the middle of nowhere. Try to imagine yourself at this place, taking in all of the scents and feeling the sun on your face. Escaping to your happy place can help ground your mind and ease the panic away.
There are many other methods to help calm your mind including:
- Light exercise
- Muscle relaxation techniques
- Directly confronting your fears
- Practicing mindfulness
Our doctors may also recommend medications to help control your panic attacks. Psychotherapy is another option you may want to explore as a treatment avenue. Global pandemic or not, our doctors can help you figure out a treatment plan that works for you.
If you are ready to seek treatment for your panic attacks, call our office at 919-446-3232 to schedule a consultation, or book an appointment online today.