Every year 22.7% of the US population experiences at least one panic attack in their life and women have twice the chances to get a panic attack than men. 

Panic attacks can be scary and can feel uncontrollable. But actually a good line of treatment can help with taking control over the situation and get to the deepest cause and trigger. 

The first step in every successful treatment attempt is psychoeducation. Understanding how panic attacks work is one of the first steps towards controlling them. 

In this short article you can find a few facts that will help you understand the most important information about panic attacks. 

Fact 1: Panic attacks are consequences of prolonged or chronic stress

When our stress response is activated for a prolonged period of time (read more about stress here) , then it is possible that our resources to handle any threatening or challenging situation become limited. When our body and mind fights long-term threats and challenges, our resources will come to be depleted at some point. This leads to many different kinds of consequences, which for some people include panic attacks.

Fact 2: Panic attacks are sudden and -sometimes- random

A thing that makes panic attacks challenging to control is their sudden nature. Sometimes it is hard to predict when a panic attack may occur since it can be triggered by any situation. This is why it is important to identify the early signs of anxiety which warn of a panic attack. Also, a panic attack may start without any obvious triggers prior to the episode.This means that a panic attack can happen while you are back home from work resting or while you are having a fun dinner with friends. 

Fact 3: Panic attacks include a range of emotional and physical signs

Panic attacks include extreme levels of anxiety or fear. During a panic attack, it is possible to think that something terrible will happen to you. However, this is just part of the attack and it has no tangible basis: there is no physical danger from a panic attack. Nevertheless, due to the intense symptoms of the attack, it is expected that you will feel threatened. Physically, you may notice increased heart rate, sweating, trembling, and difficulty breathing. You can see a graph of the physical signs during a panic attack here

Fact 4: You can overcome panic attacks

Panic attacks can be overwhelming and frightening. However, you can overcome them with a more structured mental health and wellbeing routine.

A few suggestions:

  • Mindfulness like meditation, yoga, deep breathing
  • Regular exercise and healthy lifestyle
  • Seeking support from friends and family
  • Cognitive-behavioural therapy by a trained professional

Fact 5: You can try different things to overcome panic attacks

For any mental health topic, it is important to remember that not everything works for everyone. Any suggestions and recommendations from this website or your therapist should be viewed as ideas for exploration and experimentation. My advice is to start trying different things with your stress management routine and see what works best for you. The first step is to share your experience with a professional because even feeling heard and understood can make a big difference in how panic attacks affect you. 

If you are experiencing panic attacks and you want help from a professional, feel free to book an appointment here.

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