Panic Attack Treatment Q&A
A panic attack is a brief period of severe anxiety that causes physical symptoms such as a racing heart, shortness of breath, dizziness, shaking, and muscle tension. While panic episodes are rarely dangerous, they are difficult to manage and may worsen if left untreated. If you are experiencing symptoms, seek medical attention immediately. At Psychiatry of the Palm Beaches, our team of psychiatrists specializes in assisting people to overcome anxiety so that they can live full, happy lives. For more information, contact us today or book an appointment online. We have convenient locations to serve you in Boynton Beach FL, Palm Beach Gardens FL, Stuart FL, Royal Palm Beach FL, Vero Beach FL, Plantation FL, and Jacksonville FL.
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Some useful strategies for coping with panic attacks include:
• Deep breathing exercises – By taking slow, deep breaths, you can start to calm your nervous system. First, inhale through your nose for a count of five, hold for five, and exhale through your mouth for a count of five. This strategy is good for regulating your breathing and reducing panic.
• Grounding techniques – It’s important to keep your focus on the present moment by paying attention to your surroundings. Describing objects you can see or touch is a great grounding technique to divert your thoughts from panic.
• Progressive muscle relaxation – During this technique, you will tense and then relax different muscle groups in your body to release physical tension. Choose a muscle, such as your upper thigh, to contract for 5 to 10 seconds while you inhale. Next, release the tension from that muscle on your exhale. Give yourself 30 seconds to relax and repeat the process.
• Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) – By seeing a mental health professional, you can learn how to identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to your panic episodes.
• Medication – In some cases, a psychiatrist will recommend anti-anxiety or antidepressant medications to manage panic attacks.
Additionally, it’s essential to maintain a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise, quality sleep, balanced nutrition, and effective stress management to prevent panic attacks caused by unhealthy habits.
The most commonly reported triggers for panic attacks include:
• Phobias – People with specific fears, such as fear of flying, heights, bugs, or small spaces, often experience episodes of panic when confronted with the feared object or situation.
• Stress – High levels of stress due to work, relationship strain, or major life changes can cause panic attacks.
• Sensory overload – Overwhelming sensory stimuli, such as a crowded or noisy environment, can trigger panic in some cases.
• Substance use – The use of stimulants such as caffeine, alcohol, or drugs can trigger panic attacks.
• Catastrophizing – Panic attacks can be triggered by negative thinking, such as imagining the worst-case scenario.
It’s necessary to identify your triggers and work with a mental health specialist to find effective coping skills to manage your panic episodes.
Panic attacks often begin with an overwhelming sense of fear or anxiety that strikes suddenly. It’s commonly reported that the heart races or pounds. Some people describe feeling like they can’t fully catch their breath. In addition, panic attacks can be accompanied by chest discomfort. Profuse sweating, though the person has not been physically active, is another physical symptom of panic attacks. It’s common to tremble and experience chills or hot flashes. Furthermore, a feeling of vertigo, dizziness, or faintness can occur.
You might feel detached from reality or as if you’re watching yourself from the outside. A fear of impending doom, danger, or death is a common emotional response to panic attacks. Panic attacks typically peak within 10 minutes and subside within an hour. It’s important to remind yourself that, although the symptoms are intense, they are not life-threatening.
If you suspect you’re having a panic attack, it’s recommended to find a quiet, safe place and practice slow, deep breathing. If these episodes occur often, it’s advised to seek the support of a mental health professional, as they will equip you with the skills to regulate your panic successfully.
Panic attacks typically strike unexpectedly and intensely. The symptoms peak within minutes and include overwhelming fear as well as physical signs such as a racing heart, trembling, and sweating. Panic attacks are associated with intense physical sensations. Some people feel like they are having a heart attack or suffocating.
In contrast, anxiety attacks usually develop more gradually in response to a stressful situation and produce milder symptoms. In summary, panic attacks are sudden, intense episodes of fear that are typically quite short. Anxiety attacks, on the other hand, involve prolonged episodes that are triggered by certain stressors and are characterized by less intense physical symptoms.
At Psychiatry of the Palm Beaches, we provide a variety of treatment options for anxiety and panic disorders. Our experienced anxiety specialists are here to assist you. For more information, contact us today or book an appointment online. We serve patients from Boynton Beach FL, Delray Beach FL, Palm Beach Gardens FL, Jupiter FL, Stuart FL, Palm City FL, Royal Palm Beach FL, Wellington FL, Vero Beach FL, Citrus Ridge FL, Plantation FL, Sunrise FL, Jacksonville FL, Riverside FL, and surrounding areas.
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