Panic Disorder : Emergency Tips And Solutions

Posted on September 19, 2011 in Health and Life

By Deshnee Naidoo:

Do you feel like your chest is tightening and your throat is closing up? Are you convinced that you are about to breathe your last breath? Don’t worry, you are not alone. Millions of people around the world suffer from anxiety and panic disorder and are sure that today may be the day that they really do stop breathing. However, they won’t and you won’t either and nor will I.

A panic disorder is characterised by the unexpected and repeated episodes of an intense fear which is accompanied by various physical symptoms which may include chest pain, heart palpitations, and shortness of breath, dizziness or abdominal aches.

These symptoms can often imitate a heart attack or other serious medical conditions thereby causing further alarm.

Also as a result of these scares, the panic disorder may not be diagnosed until after numerous other procedures have taken place.

Many people with panic disorder may develop intense anxiety between episodes. It is not uncommon to find a person with panic disorder developing phobias about places or situations which may aggravate the disorder and where attacks have occurred before, for example, in supermarkets, elevators or large groups of people. As the frequency of the attacks increases, the person may begin avoiding altogether the places where these attacks have taken place. This can eventually lead to what is called ‘agoraphobia’, a fear of unknown things or the inability to venture out of their comfort zones and into unfamiliar places or situations.

Fortunately, there is hope for all panic disorder sufferers, myself included.

The following are fourteen ‘on-the-spot’ tips for getting through your panic attack. I’ve used them on countless occasions and I may have cried my way through some of them but they worked every time.

First Aid for Panic Disorder
  1. Take a ‘time-out’ and slow down. Slow the rate of your breathing, slow your racing thoughts, slow your entire body, head to toe. Then slowly resume your previous activities.
  2. Close your eyes and picture a relaxing scene. Take yourself away from your current activity and put yourself into the scene. Stay there until you feel calm and relaxed again.
  3. Picture a person you trust the most. This person believes in you and supports you through anything and genuinely cares about you. Imagine the person is with you, holding your hand and offering you encouragement to get through whatever is stressing you out.
  4. If there are places available; take a long, leisurely stroll. If there are people available, talk to them. You’ll be surprised by how many people are willing to just listen without offering advice. Maybe you want their advice or maybe not but what you need is to get your problems off your chest.
  5. Recall a time when you handled a similar situation well or try to bring to mind a past success and the good feelings that came with it.
  6. Focus on the present time. Your past doesn’t matter. Make a game of noticing details or inventing questions about every object you can identify.
  7. Count backwards from 20 and with every number; picture an image of love, something that pleases you, something that calms, someone who loves you. It doesn’t matter if these images are real or imagined.
  8. Occupy your mind in an absorbing task. Plan your entire schedule for the day; try to recall the names of all the movies by your favourite actor which you’ve seen, cricket stars that you know or pop stars that you’ve heard.
  9. Bring to mind the image of the person you admire and imagine yourself to actually be that person. Think as they might think, act as they might act, try to even feel as they might feel.

10. Remind yourself that attacks always end. ALWAYS. They never last for more than ten minutes.

11. Remind yourself that panic is not dangerous. You are not going to die.

12. Take a giant yawn and stretch your body, from head to toe.

13. Get mad. Promise yourself that you will not let panic win. You deserve better, you will get well. You are not a slave to the panic but above it.

14. If all else fails, take as deep a breath as you can and hold it for as long as you can. Use any of the other strategies to occupy your mind. Your physical symptoms will ease and you will feel calmer and in control.