Panic Attacks Articles

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Panic attacks can happen at any time or place. Learn steps to take when it happens.

Many people suffer from anxiety disorders, which may at times escalate into full-blown panic attacks. These can happen at unpredictable times and be very inconvenient in daily life. The causes of panic attacks can be difficult to pin down. The treatment that is most effective for an individual depends on various factors. The following articles describe the condition, and the various therapeutic options available to people suffering from panic attacks.

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Medically Reviewed By: Aaron Horn, LMFT, MA

Panic Attacks

Panic disorder is a severe mental health condition in which the person suffering from it is exposed to uncontrollable anxiety. They have panic attacks that come seemingly out of the blue. The symptoms of panic vary. Some people deal with heart palpitations while others have shortness of breath, and imminent fear of something terrible happening to them. There are many different ways to cope with panic attacks. Some people find themselves overwhelmed and do not know how to handle their anxiety. They might feel helpless and not have the coping skills to deal with panic. When you try to control panic, it tends to get worse. It is possible to manage panic attacks if you work with a therapist on breathing and mindfulness. 

Body and Mind

Panic attacks hurt your mind and body. When you have a panic attack it is difficult to slow your mind down. It’s hard for the person to believe that the worries will go away. But they will. One of the harshest realities of panic is that you cannot control how a severe panic attack is or when it will end. When you don’t fight panic attacks, they tend to get better. It believes that there’s something dangerous going on. Your brain is trying to protect you. It’s hyper-aware of its surroundings and how your body feels. You don’t have to fight how you feel, but it’s important to be aware of your feelings so you can deal with panic effectively. 


Another way to ease the effects of a panic attack is to practice deep breathing. This activates control over the part of your brain that is sending the signals to release adrenaline. By slowing down your breathing, and counting in your head, your brain begins to reactivate your logical core and senses a bit of relief.  

Fight, Flight, Or Freeze

People who experience a panic attack are in a state called to fight, flight, or freeze. These are the three common states that people experience when they’re in a state of duress. One overarching theme with panic is feeling fearful. A person may feel scared and might not know what to do, which means that their body freezes. They may try to fight their feeling, which means they don’t want to be anxious. Lastly, they might attempt to run away from their scary feelings, which is known as flight. Unfortunately, all three of these behaviors make panic worse. Their nervous system is telling them that they have to defend themselves against a threat. Even though this may not be true, the body believes that there is something they have to fight against and that’s why the brain reacts the way that it does.

Symptoms Of A Panic Attack

Panic attacks can be terrifying. An individual who feels the weight of acute anxiety may believe that they’re out of control. These are natural emotions to have, but there are things they can do during a panic attack to feel some relief. First, let’s go over the signs that you have a panic attack. The symptoms of a panic attack are intense for the sufferer. Some symptoms include:

  • racing heart

  • difficulty breathing

  • tension in the body

  • excessive energy

  • sweating

  • shaking

You might feel as if you are dying, but it’s not true. Some individuals report feeling as if they have a heart attack due to the intensity of their symptoms. You may have one or more of these symptoms. They’re uncomfortable, but they don’t last forever. A difficult thing about panic is that it seems never-ending. Your brain is lying to you and fear does end. It takes time and patience, but if you learn coping techniques, you will get better and find that you can navigate your panic attacks.

Online Therapy

One of the most effective ways to handle anxiety or panic is to talk about your symptoms in therapy. Qualified therapists specializing in anxiety disorders can provide practical, actionable advice on avoiding and dealing with panic attacks. While medication and other forms of treatment can help manage the symptoms, only talk therapy can address the root causes that lead to chronic anxiety. One excellent option for treating panic attacks or panic disorder is online counseling. Check out the extensive list of online therapists and counselors at BetterHelp to get support in managing panic. You don’t have to suffer alone. You can learn techniques to manage panic attacks and get help to feel better.

The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.
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