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Tips For Panic Attacks - What To Do and Why

What exactly is a panic attack, and more importantly how do you know you are having one? Normal anxiety is a feeling we all experience many times during our lives, especially when we find ourselves in a tense situation, for example when sitting a major exam, delivering a speech to a room full of strangers, getting married, or simply going on a blind date. When we feel anxious uneasy or fearful for an explainable logical reason then this is just a normal and rational response, and nothing to be worried about. If however we feel unexpected surges of overwhelming dread that come without warning and for no apparent reason, it is no longer regular anxiety but a Panic Attack.

If you do feel you are having a panic attack, what can you do? The following tips for Panic Attacks can help:

  • Firstly, correct your breathing. Often the physical symptoms of anxiety and panic may be triggered by hyperventilation or rapid breathing. This raises oxygen levels and reduces the amount of carbon dioxide in the blood. To this end it is important to learn to breathe from the diaphragm, and not from the chest. In addition you must lengthen exhalation to relax. If you lengthen inhalation instead you become more stimulated which will heighten the effects of a Panic Attack.
  • It may sound overly simple, but one way to deal with a panic attack is to be active and do something. One of the key methods to control panic and anxiety is to occupy the mind, so it is critical to do something, no matter what it is. For example something as simple as splashing your face with cold water, taking exercise, or seeking out company may alleviate the symptoms.
  • Similarly, listening to your favourite music or watching a television may help, even eating or drinking something from the fridge, anything which can divert the mind from the source of the panic.
  • It may also help to talk to someone, but during a panic attack try talking to someone about something other than your anxiety. It may not help to discuss the panic attack when it is occurring, the attack may not subside so quickly if you are talking about the problem. Again the purpose is to distract the mind.

What actually causes panic attacks? Panic Attacks occur when a level of anxiety is reached which causes the Adrenalin to produce severe symptoms which reach a peak in just a matter of minutes. The peak of an attack can range anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes, but the symptoms may last a little longer. Panic Attacks belong to a group of anxiety disorder, like panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and agoraphobia.

Panic Attacks are generally a sign of one of these underlying anxiety disorders which can generally be treated successfully with or without having to go through medication or costly therapy. Critically panic attacks are not a sign of illness, and sufferers should not assume they are. The way to cure panic is to find and eliminate the causes that trigger Panic Attacks.

For more Anxiety Articles and Tips for Panic Attacks by Anne Girder, visit For additional information about Anne and Panic Attacks visit

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