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How To Stop a Panic Attack?

Updated: Jun 8

One of the most common questions I get in therapy is how to stop a panic attack. Panic attacks can be a frightening and overwhelming experience. They can cause physical symptoms such as rapid heartbeat, sweating, and shortness of breath. This blog will explore ways to stop a panic attack and manage symptoms. Recognize the Symptoms The first step in stopping a panic attack is to recognize the symptoms. Symptoms of a panic attack can include:

  1. Rapid heartbeat

  2. Sweating

  3. Shortness of breath

  4. Chest pain

  5. Dizziness or lightheadedness

  6. Nausea or stomach discomfort

  7. Fear of losing control

  8. Trembling or shaking

Once you recognize the symptoms, you can take steps to manage them. Control Your Breathing One of the most effective ways to manage the symptoms of a panic attack is to control your breathing. Try the following breathing exercises:

  1. Deep Breathing: Take a deep breath in through your nose for a count of four. Hold the breath for a count of five, then exhale slowly through your mouth for a count of six.

  2. Counting Breaths: Count each breath in and out, up to 10. Repeat this process several times.

  3. Belly Breathing: Place one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest. Take a deep breath in through your nose, allowing your stomach to expand. Exhale slowly through your mouth, allowing your stomach to contract.

Challenge Negative Thoughts Panic attacks are often triggered by negative thoughts. Challenge these thoughts by asking yourself the following questions:

  1. Is this thought rational?

  2. What is the evidence for this thought?

  3. What is the evidence against this thought?

  4. What would I tell a friend who had this thought?

Distract Yourself Distracting yourself from the symptoms of a panic attack can also be helpful. Try the following distractions:

  1. Listen to Music: Listening to calming music can help reduce stress and anxiety.

  2. Progressive Muscle Relaxation: This involves tensing and then relaxing different muscle groups in the body. This can help reduce tension and promote relaxation.

  3. Visualize a Calming Scene: Visualize a calming scene, such as a beach or a forest. Imagine yourself in this scene and focus on the sights, sounds, and smells.

Seek Professional Help If you experience panic attacks on a regular basis, it may be beneficial to seek professional help. A mental health professional can help you develop coping strategies and address underlying issues that may be contributing to your panic attacks.

In conclusion, panic attacks can be a frightening and overwhelming experience. By recognizing the symptoms, controlling your breathing, challenging negative thoughts, distracting yourself, and seeking professional help, you can manage the symptoms of a panic attack and reduce the frequency and intensity of future attacks.


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