Self Help for Panic Attacks

How can you help yourself if you suffer from panic attacks, is self help for panic attacks effective?

Panic attacks are of limited duration, but leave a big impact on those who suffer from them.  The damage is not limited to the short term either. Left untreated, people who suffer from panic attacks may get worse with time and may even develop a full blown panic disorder where they remain in fear of having the next panic attack, which in itself can be self fulfilling and actually cause the next panic attack to occur.

Techniques for Self Help for Panic Attacks

Find someone to talk to. Saying what you feel and not bottling up your emotions, can be very helpful. Being verbal is a great way to release emotional tension.

Using music and the arts are good techniques for self help for panic attacks. No matter how mild or extreme, panic can occur unexpectedly. If this happens, listen to relaxing music to let the negative emotions subside. Find an outlet like painting or writing.

In many cases, people can cope with panic attacks through changing their mindset. This may take time and practice, but mastering it is extremely beneficial. During a panic attack, when your heart rate increases, do not think this way: ‘What if this continues? I will have a heart attack!’ Instead, workout to think this way: ‘This is just a temporary reaction in my body. This, too, will pass.’ In short, turn your ‘what ifs’?’ into ‘so whats!’.

Another self help for panic attacks technique is to have ready simple tasks that can divert your attention from the triggers of panic. This is useful especially when there are strong thoughts of disaster or danger. For example, during an attack, try to recite the alphabet backwards. You may also try to count backwards, or if that is too easy, count backwards skipping every third number. Carrying a small puzzle that you can play with, may also help. These small tasks will help you not notice the panic as it passes and fades.

Preventing Future Attacks

Although it looks like there is a genetic component that affects a person’s propensity to have a panic attack, there is also much evidence to suggest lifestyle and environmental factors.

You can help yourself by exercising regularly, especially cardiovascular exercise, and avoiding caffeine containing drinks. Although many sufferers also try to avoid situations that trigger the attacks, this can also give rise to an increased fear of these situations which in itself can cause a panic attack.

Get Help

Self help for panic attacks is a great idea and can be very successful, however if you find you are not having success then it would be a good idea to seek professional assistance.  Even if you do not wish to take antidepressant or other medication, there is a high success rate from cognitive behavioural therapy, a popular and effective form of psychotherapy.

For help with panic attacks click here to check out the Panic Away program.