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Overcoming Panic Attacks: Proven tips Strategies & Support

When “Just Stay Calm” doesn’t help, here are some tips for dealing with panic attacks.


panic attacks

Experiencing a panic attack can be incredibly frightening, leaving you feeling like you're having a heart attack, about to faint, or worse.


Each year in the U.S., one in 10 adults experiences a panic attack. About 33% of people will have one at some point in their lifetime (Bhandari, 2023).


The symptoms of a panic attack can vary from person to person


Symptoms of a panic attack will include four or more of the following:

  • A sense of approaching danger

  • Pounding heartbeat

  • Sweating, trembling or shaking

  • Shortness of breath

  • Stomach cramps

  • Headache

  • Chest pain

  • Feeling of choking

  • Nausea

  • Feeling faint

  • Chills or hot flashes

  • Numbness or tingling

  • Feeling unreal or detached

  • Fear of losing control or going crazy

  • Fear of dying (Bhandari, 2023). 


When someone is diagnosed with a panic disorder, that means they have experienced a panic attack at least twice, and experience ongoing fear or anxiety that they will experience another panic attack. They may avoid places or situations where the panic attack occurred, in hopes of avoiding the experience again. 


The treatment for panic disorder


Treatment for panic disorder can include:

  • Talk therapy (specifically Cognitive Behavioral Therapy)

  • Medication

  • Lifestyle changes (i.e. regular exercise, balanced diet, elimination or reduction of substances such as alcohol, caffeine, nicotine and other drugs)

  • Breathing or meditation exercises.


It is recommended that you see your primary care doctor to rule out any medical conditions as well as a psychotherapist to offer support if symptoms don’t improve. 


At Revive Therapeutic Services, we understand the impact panic attacks can have on your life. Our compassionate, inclusive, and supportive approach is here to help you navigate through these challenging times. Keep reading this blog post for practical tips for managing panic attacks and how you can seek help from professionals like us in Rhode Island.


Understanding Panic Attacks and Panic Disorder

Panic attacks manifest through various symptoms, such as a pounding heartbeat, trembling, nausea, and a fear of impending doom. If you've experienced panic attacks more than once and live in fear of another attack, you might be dealing with panic disorder. This condition can lead to avoidance of places or situations where previous attacks have occurred, significantly impacting your quality of life.


How to regain control during a panic attack?Grounding Techniques!


One effective strategy for managing panic attacks is through grounding techniques. These practices help you reconnect with your current environment using all your senses. Whether it's focusing on a calming image, listening to soothing sounds, smelling essential oils, tasting a piece of candy, or holding onto a textured object, grounding can provide immediate relief during a panic attack.


Using all of your senses (sight, sound, smell, taste and touch), reacquaint yourself with your surroundings. Study a calming pattern or photo, listen to the sounds of ocean waves or rain, use essential oils or light a soothing candle – lavender, chamomile, or bergamot orange are some of the recommended scents for anxiety, savor a hard candy or tea, or focus on the texture and weight of a stone in your hand. 



Focus on Reassuring thoughts


Repeat something to yourself that feels both true and balanced, such as “This feeling is only temporary,” “This feeling will pass,” or “I am safe where I am right now.” Remember that panic attacks on average last only a few minutes and peak at 10 minutes, after which symptoms typically subside. 


Breathing and Relaxation Techniques


It's simple. Count your breaths, better yet, count the number of seconds you inhale, hold, and exhale. A pattern of 4-4-8 can be helpful to regulate breathing (inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, exhale for 8 seconds.) If you prefer visual techniques, try drawing squares (inhale on the line up, hold across, exhale on the line down, hold across.)   


Additionally, Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) is an effective method for releasing bodily tension and easing anxiety. PMR has been proven to help with stress and anxiety, insomnia, and reducing pain.


To practice, start with your feet. Tense the muscle group for 5 seconds as you inhale, and then release the tension on the exhale. Take a break, and then move your awareness up to your lower legs, thighs, glutes, stomach, arms, hands, shoulders, and face, continuing to breathe in as you tense the muscle groups, and then relax on the exhale (Conrad Stöppler, 2022). 



Seeking Professional Help

While these strategies can provide immediate relief, it's crucial to seek professional help if panic attacks become frequent or severely impact your life. At Revive Therapeutic Services, we specialize in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), lifestyle adjustments, and other treatments to address panic disorder comprehensively. Our team in Rhode Island is dedicated to supporting you through your journey to recovery.


Panic attacks can be a daunting experience, but they don't have to control your life.


With the right strategies and support, you can manage your symptoms and regain your sense of control. If you're struggling with panic attacks, remember that Revive Therapeutic Services is here to help. Reach out to us for compassionate, professional support designed to help you navigate through anxiety and panic disorders.


Remember, you're not alone in this. With the right approach and support, overcoming panic attacks is within your reach. Let us at Revive Therapeutic Services be your partner in finding peace and resilience against anxiety.


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