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You are here: Home Coping Strategies Coping With Panic Attacks

Coping With Panic Attacks


Panic is a sudden intense response to normal thoughts or sensations. This is often accompanied by a feeling of impending doom, as well as physical symptoms such as:

 - A racing heartbeat.

 - Difficulty breathing.

 - Paralysing terror.

 - Dizziness and/or nausea.

 - Trembling/sweating/shaking.

 - Choking/chest pain.

 - Hot flushes and sudden chills.

 - ‘Pins and needles’.

 - Fear of dying.

These symptoms are reinforced by the sufferer’s thought processes. Sufferers are often determined to avoid situations which they feel will exacerbate their anxiety; this avoidant behaviour has an adverse effect on sufferers’ quality of life.

If the above description fits you, then you are probably suffering panic attacks.

The first thing you should remind yourself is that the situation is not dangerous, and that it will soon pass. Concentrate on your breathing: sit down and breathe in through your nose, slowly counting to 6 as you do so - then breathe out through your mouth, slowly counting to 6. Repeat this process. As you are breathing, think about the process and look at everything around you – this will allow you to ground yourself. Feel your feet on the floor, and touch your clothing - keep breathing slowly, and the panic should pass.

You could also try breathing into a paper bag.

The physical symptoms tend to feel a lot worse than they really are, as concern about them adds an additional layer to your existing worries.

Relax, and remind yourself that you are safe. Continue to breathe slowly, and the panic should pass.

Other suggestions:

 - Keep a diary of your mood and meds.

 - Have a bath, accompanied by candle light. Allow yourself to just lay there, relax, and clear your mind.

 - Call someone, perhaps a friend or a crisis-line, and offload to them - they may be able to help.

 - Don't enjoy simply relaxing? Keep busy instead – this can help to occupy your mind, giving you less chance to spend time worrying.

 - Go out with friends, have a laugh, and see what life really has to offer. Maybe stay with a friend or member of your family at particularly difficult times.

 - Speak with your Mental Health Teams, and help them to understand your worries.

 - Play a game, or do something similarly recreational, to cheer yourself up (have a look at the fun pages).

 - Treat yourself to something, and make yourself feel special - because you are!





You are here: Home Coping Strategies Coping With Panic Attacks