Saturday, January 16, 2010

Tips For Panic Attacks - Distinguishing Between Fact and Fiction

Trying to find tips for panic attacks can be a very frustrating task. There is so much information out there about managing these episodes that it becomes difficult to discern between fact and fiction. Most of these methods promise relief, but how can you be certain which technique will work for you?

Unfortunately the answer to that question is: You Can't. Panic disorder affects people in different ways, and so too does treatment. What works for John Doe may not work for Jane and vice versa, making treatment of these attacks very difficult to address.

A Quick Warning about Medication

Many people are quick to turn to medication at a physician's suggestion. This is not necessarily a bad idea, but it does have its drawbacks. Medications, such as the SSRI antidepressants, are occasionally effective at treating the symptoms of a panic attack, but they are not a cure. Eventually you will need to work on the underlying cause of the panic attacks you experience. Moreover, with medication there are side effects. Ranging from dizziness to hypertension, from intestinal problems to impotence, the effects of these drugs can become more troubling than the condition you are trying to treat. And finally there is the notion of dependence. Continued use of these drugs can quickly become habitual, and eventually, with long-term use, you can become dependent upon them.

Tips for Panic Attacks

The best tips for panic attacks are the ones that involve your participation. You don't necessarily have to relinquish all control to pills or doctors to cope with the effects.

During a panic attack it can feel like you are losing control. You may become convinced that you are dying, having a coronary event or going insane. Rest easy, you are not. Your body and mind are simply on a high state of alert when they shouldn't be, and it is this suddenness that you are probably reacting to. Instead of letting your mind jump to catastrophic conclusions, follow some of the tips below to help bring your thoughts back under control.

Repeat a comforting, reassuring mantra as a distraction. "I'm perfectly normal," or "I am under control." Anything that will focus your attention on something more positive.
Take deep, measured breaths. During a panic attack most people complain about shortness of breath or a rapid heartbeat. The reason for this is hyperventilation-and it may be caused by breathing only with the mouth. Take deep breaths, inhaling through the nose and feeling the breath fill up your body. You can even count quietly as you are inhaling. By focusing on your breathing you can usually bring the respiratory symptoms under control.
Talk to somebody. All too often, sufferers of panic attacks isolate themselves, feeling that no one will understand. This can be very damaging to your relationships, and the stress you internalize over this tension can worsen your condition. Confide to your loved ones, even if you feel they cannot understand what you are going through. You are not alone and sometimes just talking can do a world of good.
Meditation. Panic sufferers are regularly worrying about the future or regretting the past. This can cause a great deal of stress and intensify both the frequency and severity of your attacks. Meditation techniques are designed to teach you to live only in the present, bringing all your attention to what is happening right now, both physically and mentally. It is a great technique to employ not only during an attack but as a way to prevent future occurrences as well.

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