What is a Panic Attack? Panic Attack Symptoms and 7 Ways to Stay Calm!
Panic attacks, a type of anxiety disorder, which is described as incomprehensible without living, are increasing due to the intense stress of the world we live in. Never feel helpless in such a situation. We shared the answers given by experts to the questions of what is a panic attack, what are its symptoms, and what to do to stay calm for those who have panic attacks.
Today, the amount of stress that people are under the influence of is increasing. Especially with the pandemic and quarantine conditions, the incidence of psychological disorders is increasing. One of these disorders is panic attacks. Panic attacks can occur in people due to many different reasons, and the people at the time of the attack; feel overwhelmed by very intense, negative emotions.
If you are experiencing such situations, first of all, you should know the enemy well; In other words, it is useful to know details such as what a panic attack is and what its symptoms are. If these attacks occur frequently, you should seek help from a specialist. However, there are some suggestions that you can make yourself.
What is a Panic Attack?
Panic attack; It is a kind of anxiety disorder that comes at regular intervals and suddenly, which the person experiencing the attack feels intense panic and fear. The most important point that separates a panic attack from a normal panic moment; It occurs at regular intervals and for no apparent reason.
Psychologist Danielle Forshee defines a panic attack as "a sudden surge of distress that causes you to lose control and feel intense fear." Panic attacks cause symptoms such as sudden and intense sweating, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, tingling sensations, nausea, and feeling that you are going to die.
Relationship between Smoking and Panic Attacks:
According to a news published in 2017; In a neuroscience study conducted at the Medical Center University in Hamburg, Germany, it was observed that tobacco consumption directly damages the fear center of the brain and increases the development of anxiety and paranoia.
One of the scientists who conducted the research, Dr. According to Jan Haaker, there is a reason why smokers can suppress their unreasonable fears during a panic attack: The chemicals in the cigarette stop the transmission of messages between neurons and the relevant center. Therefore, the person has difficulties in suppressing their fears.
The Relationship between the Coronavirus Outbreak, Quarantine and Panic Attacks:
According to experts; Since the first day of the coronavirus epidemic, it has created intense anxiety in individuals, such as situations that threaten all human life, and this anxiety has paved the way for different psychological disorders.
The quarantine process that comes with the pandemic triggers disorders such as anxiety disorder, obsession, anxiety disorders, and panic attacks. It also affects people with this disease much worse. Sleep and attention disorders are among the most common results.
The Source of Panic Attacks During Sleep:
According to experts, the worst part of a panic attack at night is that it is not felt and the person suddenly wakes up with intense fear and panic. Once this situation is experienced, it may continue.
The person who panicked during sleep thinks that he will have an attack every night when he goes to bed, and sleep disorders begin just because of this thought. As a result of this situation, which is called anticipatory anxiety, people also exhibit different behaviors such as avoiding sleep and being alone.
Panic Attack During Pregnancy:
Expectant mothers who have panic attacks during pregnancy experience greater fears because they think that their babies will also be affected by this situation. As a result, panic attacks and anxiety states become an iterative process.
According to experts, since panic attack drugs will not be taken during pregnancy, pregnant women can get away from this situation by not being alone with therapy, doing sports, and participating in group activities, and this situation is not unsolvable.
7 Ways to Recover from a Panic Attack, According to Science:
• Wash your face with cold water.
• Practice the Grounding Technique.
• Breathe from the diaphragm.
• Play games that will distract your mind.
• Play with the stress ball.
• Challenge negative thoughts.
• Ask yourself questions.
Wash Your Face With Cold Water:
Psychologist According to Danielle Forshee; Evolutionarily, humans have a physiological reflex that occurs when they come into contact with cold water. As a result of this situation, which is also called the return to life reflex, the heartbeat of the person in contact with cold water slows down between 10% and 25%.
Of course, this is described as putting your head directly into a bucket of cold water, but exposing a part of your body to very cold water will have the same effect. It is one of the most commonly recommended methods to slow down anxiety.
Practice Grounding Technique:
Mental Health Specialist, author Mary Beth Cooper; focuses on a few techniques you can use to regroup your distracted mind. One of them is a method called Grounding Technique, which you can easily apply.
According to this method, the person experiencing a panic attack should focus on a single point to clear his mind, which was scattered during the attack. The focus may be on a picture on the wall, an object on a table, a dog walking its calmly path. This will reduce the panic you feel and lower your anxiety level.
Breathe From the Diaphragm:
Breathing is the most basic requirement and proof of living. Since the person experiencing a panic attack feels an intense sense of death along with different physiological reactions, taking strong breaths, especially diaphragmatic breathing, will make you feel that everything is in order.
Psychologist Danielle Forshee; He says that breathing with the diaphragm will relax the brain, take the oxygen the body needs and get away from the feeling of death, and by sending the right signals to our brain, we will get away from the existing situation.
Play Games That Will Distract You:
During a panic attack, the mind focuses entirely on negative emotions, as a result of this focus, the duration of the attack is prolonged and the symptoms appear much more strongly. In such a case, you can start playing a few mobile games on your phone with the help of technology.
Psychiatrist Dr. According to Prakash Masand, the underlying reason for avoiding a panic attack by playing games is to preoccupy the mind and body with something other than negativity. Playing a game that is easy to play and has fun music will make you relax by keeping your mind busy with other things besides attack.
Play with the Stress Ball:
You don't necessarily have to use a stress ball for this method. The goal is to keep your hands busy. Playing with a stress ball, lighter, stone, pen will keep your hands busy and help you get away from the current situation.
Psychiatrist Dr. Prakash Masand; He says that the object you hold will act as a bridge connecting you to the moment you are in, it will distract your mind and reduce the level of panic by acting as a stress reliever.
Challenge Negative Thoughts:
We mentioned that panic attacks occur for no reason and that negative situations that do not exist cause worse symptoms as a result of repetition in the mind. At this point, a method that is easy but difficult to do, a method of challenging negative thoughts is suggested.
Psychiatrist Dr. Prakash Masand; In such a situation, he emphasizes the importance of suggesting oneself with one's own words, creating a mantra and repeating it at such moments, and mentions that there must be positive words that will bring the person back to reality.
Ask Yourself Questions:
John Hamilton, Family and Marriage Therapist at Mountainside Therapeutic Center, recommends "asking yourself questions", which is similar to challenging negative thoughts. Asking yourself questions will naturally reduce panic attacks and somehow pass the time.
According to Hamilton, ask yourself, "Is there any reason why I should feel this way right now?" or "Am I exaggerating my situation?" You should ask questions that enable you to analyze the situation you are experiencing. When you focus on the answers to these questions, you will gradually begin to calm down.
With answers to questions such as what is a panic attack and what are its symptoms, you can better understand the situation you are in and fight negative situations with 7 ways to stay calm, explained by experts. In addition to all this, getting help from an expert will be the most valuable thing you can do for yourself.