How To Recognise And Control A Panic Attack

A panic attack is one of the scariest things a person can go through. Once we learn to recognise the signs and symptoms there are many techniques that can be used to help control them.

If you have ever felt a sudden rush of anxiety and worry, combining mental and physical symptoms of terror, then you likely were experiencing a panic attack. These attacks can be contributed to many things, from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) to a highly stressful situation that brought on the panic attack. Some people experience them acutely, while others have chronic panic attacks, typically with no warning and no triggers.

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I suffer from GAD and fortunately have only had one panic attack, It was without a doubt the scariest time of my life. I have since been taught techniques to control panic attacks should I get another one.

Panic attack relief | Do you suffer from anxiety? Have you ever had a panic attack ? How to recognise the symptoms of a panic attack and practical tips on how to help control them. Breathing exercises | grounding techniques | panic attack help

How You Know You Are Having a Panic Attack

It is important to first understand what the signs and symptoms are for a panic attack. Not only does this tell you if that is exactly what you are experiencing, but it helps you to recognize the signs early so you can start implementing some of these strategies quickly. This lets you put a stop to the panic attack before it progresses, since they do tend to worsen over time. Here are some different symptoms you might experience:

Tunnel vision

Dizziness or lightheadedness

Fight or flight

Fear of losing control

Racing heartbeat

Flushes or chills


Tingling in the extremities

Twitching or trembling muscles

Feeling like you aren’t real

Flushed face

Fear of dying

Many people mistaken the symptoms of a panic attack with a heart attack since they are very similar, right up to the chest pains and dizziness. The problem with this is that even if you know you are having a panic attack, you have an intense worry that your worrying could lead to a heart attack, which then worsens the symptoms of the panic attack, making you feel like it is leading to a heart attack. The circle can continue unless you are able to put a stop to it.

How to Control a Panic Attack

While you can’t always prevent panic attacks, it is possible to learn techniques that help put a stop to them.

 You should first understand that not every method will work for every individual, and you might find other coping mechanisms that work better for you. These are simply suggestions based on a combination of tips from professionals and things others have done to help reduce their attacks.

Practice Breathing Exercises

Many people swear by doing breathing exercises in order to stop a panic attack. These panic attacks often make you feel like you are losing control and that you can’t breathe in and out properly. You will need to inhale and exhale, focusing only on your breathing. Try deep, slow inhales of breath and keep your mouth closed. Then open your mouth and exhale. This simple breathing exercises allows your mind to focus on the oxygen and not the worried thoughts.
For some great examples of breathing exercises check out this post.

Just Say NO

Coping words and statements are very helpful for someone with a panic attack, especially early on when you start experiencing the first symptoms. If you are someone with an anxiety disorder that leads to frequent panic attacks, it is really important to come up with a coping word or phrase that you use as soon as you feel it coming on. It is meant to get you back to reality and let you understand it is a panic attack your mind has created, not a stroke or a heart attack. Many people will shout the word NO or STOP, while others tell themselves it will be okay, that it is not real.

Count Backwards From 100

When you are mid-panic attack, saying the coping phrase might not work at this point. This is when you need to get your mind to a more relaxed state. One way to do that is to focus on something that distracts you, such as counting backwards from 100. This can be helpful when you are in a situation where having a full-blown panic attack could be dangerous, such as if you are currently driving a vehicle. Before you can pull over, you need to make yourself safe, so counting backward from 100 can be useful.

Distract Yourself
Find something that will distract you from the worried thoughts and feelings, whether that is listening to music, watching a movie or television show, or talking to someone on the phone. This can take a little more time finding what helps you the most.

Use This Simple Grounding Technique 

Plant your feet firmly on the ground and breathe slowly.

Think of..... 

  • 5 things you can see
  • 4 things you can hear
  • 3 things you can feel
  • 2 things you can smell
  • 1 thing you can taste

Panic attack relief. Do you suffer from anxiety or panic disorder? Get these tips on how to stop a panic attack. How to recognise panic attack symptoms and learn some simple grounding techniques and breathing exercises for anxiety.

Continue to learn about panic attacks and anxiety so you can find a good treatment option that is best for you to help prevent them from happening.

Have you tried any other techniques for coping with a panic attack? What works for you? Let me know in the comments.

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