They start suddenly and usually last only a few minutes: panic attacks. But what can those affected do? We clarify the most important questions and answers …
Statistics clearly show that it is anything but a rare problem: every fifth person experiences a panic attack at least once in their life. In the first ten minutes it usually reaches its peak, after about half an hour it has subsided completely and the body has calmed down. In evolutionary terms, this alarm reaction is even healthy. It is intended to alert us to danger and help us to fight or flee. Today, however, we are hardly ever exposed to such extreme situations. It is usually our psyche that triggers a panic attack.
How does a panic attack manifest itself?
The physical effects of a panic attack vary. There can be changes in heart rate and palpitations, sweating, trembling, and dry mouth. Other common symptoms include difficulty breathing, chest pain, and stomach discomfort. Dizziness, insecurity, weakness, and drowsiness may also occur. The combination of physical and psychological symptoms gives the affected person the feeling of dying immediately.
What to do in case of a panic attack?
The excessive introspection under emotional stress distorts the perception of physical functions. It is no longer possible to grasp a clear thought. Fear dominates the body. Therefore it is important to calm down and distract oneself somehow. A simple method for this is to name the feelings you feel at the moment of the panic attack. It doesn’t matter whether you say them out loud, write them down or speak softly in front of you. Concentrate on your body at this moment and try to name your feelings.
Stress balls can also help you with a panic attack. The goal is again to distract you. It does not necessarily have to be a ball, it can also be completely different things that are easy to grip and press.
You should also carry chewing gum with you. Monotonous and repetitive chewing movements can have a relaxing effect.
Another method is to move your body. The movement also normalizes your breathing.
You can also use so-called “spinning rings” to calm your breathing. If you often suffer from panic attacks, this is a good idea. They consist of a fixed element and a rotating part. During the attack, you turn the moving part and adjust your breathing to the turning movements.
Despite all these tips, it is quite possible that your panic attack will not be alleviated. This makes it all the more important to prepare yourself for such extreme situations and to be aware of what will happen in the next few minutes. Try to focus your thoughts.