Panic attacks are unexpected, intense surges of anxiety, panic, or fear that occurs in your mind damaging your mental health. They become overwhelming with time and leave negative impacts emotionally and physically.
Years of reports affirm that many people with panic attacks experience difficulty while breathing, sweat extensively, tremble in fear and hear their hearts hammering loudly.
Panic attacks are scary and critical situations. Hence, it is better to know what are the reasons that cause panic attacks, and tips to prevent them asap.
During panic attacks, several people experience chest pain and a feeling distinct from reality or themselves so they assume it to be a heart attack, even sometimes the feeling is like they are having a stroke.
Panic attacks should never be left untreated, it can destroy long term quality of life and disrupt routines. Although there is no definitive cause, we at Kaizen Brain Center are able to examine common risk factors and triggers that can increase the likelihood of their manifestation.
- Genetics: Evidence points towards that family history can play a role in panic attacks arising in individuals
- External Factors: Traumatic events such as assault, injury or death of a loved one can be trigger points that activate panic attacks
- Physiological Imbalance: Certain sub sections of the brain in relation to their functions and chemical imbalances can contribute to panic attacks
- The Amygdala houses the “fight or flight” response. Those those suffering from a panic attack by have an overactive Amygdala
- The dorsal anterior cingulate cortex enhances brain signals associated with fear originating from the Amygdala.
- The ventromedial prefrontal cortex lessens the signals coming from the Amygdala. If this is damaged, panic attacks can increase due to the Amygdala going unchecked
- The overabundance of cortisol and adrenaline can cause problems within the Hypothalamic Pituitary Adrenal Axis.
Hyperventilating is one of the symptoms of panic attacks that increase fears. However, Dr. Mohammed Ahmed recommends that during a panic attack deep breathing or holding your breath aid you to prevent the occurrence of a panic attack at that moment.
For that take deep breaths in and out via your mouth, let the air fill your lungs slowly and release breath slowly-slowly, repeat this for at least 30 seconds.
Mindfulness helps you to keep your surroundings in your mind. Since we established that panic attacks detach you from reality, this fight with your attack and gives you a reality check preventing your panic attack.
For mindfulness, you need to focus on these activities:
- Dig your feet into the ground
- Feel the texture of your clothes, or bag or other materials
- Connect with the surroundings physically
These sensations keep you attached to reality and away from panic attacks.
Pick a single object in your sight and precisely note everything about that object so your focus can drift away from your panic attack. Finding an object for focus helps a lot of people during panic attacks, detecting your attention from attack to that single object.
Fo that you can focus on;
- The hand of the clock while it ticks
- Various patterns surrounding you
- On different shapes and size of objects
Concentrate all of your energy on this object, that way you can subside the attack.
Remembering your happy place helps you most while panic attacks, you need to picture the quietest, calm, and relaxing place in the world, that can be a sunny beach, a theme park, mountains, cam sight, island or anything.
Imagine yourself at that place, and focus on the glory details as much as you can. Picture the activities you can do at that place; this will help you to come out of that temporary trauma of panic.
Repeating a mantra in your mind helps you to relax and reassure yourself, that you’re okay and gives you something to grasp at the time of the attack.
You can go with the most prefered mantra “This too shall pass,” or create your mantra to repeat during attack till it subsides completely and you feel entirely relaxed.
Practising these simple methods can prevent panic attacks for time being until you connect to a brain centre or psychiatrist who could help you to overcome your anxiety to prevent these attacks forever.