This a very frightening disorder where the person fears they are losing control, going mad, or may even die. Symptoms are usually unexpected and often seem inexplicable. Occasionally they are triggered by specific situations - and this is then called a cued panic attack. Over time the person who is battling this disorder may come to fear having a panic attacks! Symptoms of panic disorder include:
· Nausea and/ or upset stomach
· Sweating or chills
· Numbness or tingling in the face, hands or feet
· Pounding or racing heart
· Feeling as if they are choking
· Shortness of breath, chest pains or heart palpitations
· Feeling faint or dizzy
· Trembling or shaking
· Fear that they are dying
· Fear of losing control
· Fear of impending doom
· Feeling detached from reality.
The following tips may help you cope more effectively with a panic attack:
1. If you feel you’re about to have a panic attack, deliberately slow your breathing down by breathing into a brown paper bag or into cupped hands. This will help return your oxygen levels return to normal, so that you feel less giddy and faint.
2. Schedule regular exercise into your days. This will help to burn off excessive adrenaline. Also plan your diet to keep your blood sugar levels stable.
3. Don’t fight the panic attack as this will increase your adrenaline levels. Instead, allow the feelings to ebb and flow – and eventually the feeling of panic will subside.
4. Don’t bury or repress your emotions. Instead, find someone you genuinely trust and share your worries and concerns with them.
5. When you are in the throes of an attack, try to move your focus outside yourself – by listening to some music, or whatever calms you down.
6. Learn and apply relaxation techniques.
7. Aim to develop “mind over matter”. That is, tell yourself that your symptoms are an over-reaction …and you’re not going to pass out, or die.
8. Do your best to cut back on your exposure to stress – as this will reduce your anxiety and panic.