How to Manage Panic Attacks When They Happen, According to Psychologists

The right way to Handle Panic Assaults When They Occur, In accordance with Psychologists

By Cassidy Morrison Senior Well being Reporter for Dailymail.Com

Up to date: 7:04 PM March 14, 2023

  • Psychological well being consultants advocate distractions, good posture, remedy and extra
  • About 11% of individuals in the US expertise a panic assault every year.
  • Anxiousness is the commonest psychological well being downside, affecting 40 million adults

Hyperventilation, chest ache, sweating, and racing heartbeat are simply among the terrifying signs of a panic assault.

In accordance with the Cleveland Clinic, one in ten People can have one this yr alone, and about one in 50 can have multiple.

Many victims say they really feel like they’re about to die, have a coronary heart assault or go loopy, whereas others say they really feel like they’ve misplaced management of their physique.

However spoke to 3 psychologists about how one can forestall seizures naturally – with out medicine – and the way finest to handle them in the event that they happen:

Psychological well being consultants Dr Ian Stanley, Dr Karen Lynn Cassiday and Dr Carolyn Rubenstein (pictured left to proper) spoke with about some confirmed strategies of warding off assaults. These embody figuring out a panic assault concretely when it strikes, slowing your respiration, and distracting your self from the bodily signs.


In accordance with Dr. Ian Stanley, a psychologist on the College of Colorado, though receiving hackneyed recommendation akin to taking deep breaths might sound trivial for somebody who suffers from a panic assault or panic dysfunction, it really works. actually.

He recommendsexhale a couple of seconds longer than inhale. After we begin to stand up,Strive inhaling for a depend of 4 and exhaling for a depend of six.

Inhalation is linked to the sympathetic nervous system which prompts the battle or flight response. It is form of just like the accelerator pedal.

In the meantime, exhalation is linked to the parasympathetic nervous system, which influences our physique’s skill to settle down.

Extending the exhale mechanically emphasizes the aspect of the nervous system that gives relaxation and rest.

It merely trains the physique to decelerate after which present physiological suggestions, indicating that the menace is not as imminent as a panic assault makes it appear, Dr. Stanley stated.


Boca Raton, Fla.-based psychologist Dr. Carolyn Rubenstein recommends sharpening your senses on one thing outdoors to distract you from bodily and emotional panic.

What I actually attempt to advocate to folks as a result of it is fairly inventive is to consider the rainbow.

‘And contemplate searching for three pink issues [in the room or your surroundings]three orange and three yellow, inexperienced and blue issues.

“And you may even broaden that and search for gold and silver and white and black and actually interact it. It really works even in case you are driving or on a aircraft.

It is actually useful when it comes to de-escalation as it should hold you engaged and it takes a little bit of time.

“And it actually forces you to broaden your perspective and get out of your physique for a couple of minutes so you may settle down.

Different useful distractions may embody listening to feel-good music, soaking your face or fingers in ice chilly water, or getting some contemporary air.


For many individuals, simply recognizing the upcoming panic might be soothing.

Telling your self very calmly and in a impartial tone that the physique’s response to a overseas stimulus is a miscalculation is sufficient to disarm panic, in lots of instances.

Dr Rubenstein stated: You label it, you watch it, slightly than react to it. You come from a spot of management, slightly than signs controlling you.

It is a psychological trick that we use, it brings a type of logic, not simply the feelings below management.

“Labelling that it is actually necessary to get that management again and it places you again within the driver’s seat for some time, which might be extraordinarily useful if you’re feeling a complete lack of management.”

READ MORE: Avoiding Conditions That Trigger Anxiousness…Can Trigger Anxiousness!

Dr. Tracy Marks, a psychologist based mostly in Atlanta, Georgia, says an individual with anxiousness could make their situation worse by avoiding sure triggering conditions.

Panic assaults themselves will not be deadly, however experiencing them can really feel like having a coronary heart assault and even dying.

Signs are different and rely upon the person, however a few of them embody chest ache, dizziness, nausea, tremors, sweating, fast heartbeat and hyperventilation, in addition to a deep worry of to lose management.

They often arrive shortly and might final wherever from 5 to twenty minutes.

The interval after a panic assault when the physique and thoughts get well can really feel like a nasty hangover.


Dr. Karen Lynn Cassiday, government director of the Higher Chicago Anxiousness Therapy Middle, advised that folks vulnerable to panic assaults ought to preserve good posture and sit up.

Impaired respiration brought on by poor posture induces and exacerbates the extent of tension.

She stated: What folks do, and animals too, once they’re below persistent stress, they go into that posture of worry and you discover it arduous to breathe naturally together with your physique and swiftly you exhale an excessive amount of of carbon dioxide.

Standing or sitting in a assured posture with a puffed chest and broad shoulders offers a psychological increase, improves confidence, temper and vitality ranges and reduces stress, anxiousness and melancholy.


Whereas the 4:6 methodology helps to hit the brakes in a panic, Dr. Cassiday additionally warns in opposition to over-breathing in a panic assault.

Many individuals within the throes of a panic assault will bear in mind the often-given recommendation to take deep or deep breaths to stabilize their coronary heart charge. However when hyperventilating, it is simpler stated than finished, and it really makes the issue worse.

Certainly, hyperventilation happens when folks breathe so quickly and deeply that they expel an unusually excessive quantity of carbon dioxide, which in flip causes heady signs akin to dizziness that characterize a panic assault. These signs mimic the sensation of suffocation, which triggers a vicious cycle of breathless panic.

Dr Cassiday stated: The worst factor you are able to do is take a deep breath, as a result of that solely serves to decrease carbon dioxide ranges even additional. Breathe slowly and softly via your nostril in order that it is as quiet as attainable and you’ll barely hear it at the back of your throat.


Anxiousness is a standard sickness and licensed psychologists and social employees are educated to teach folks via it.

There are numerous remedy choices for panic assaults and panic issues. Cognitive-behavioral remedy, typically referred to as speak remedy or psychotherapy, is the primary line of remedy for panic dysfunction and panic assaults.

CBT permits the affected person to higher modify their thought processes and actions to confront and disarm the intrusive ideas that result in panic assaults.

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Remedy can’t solely assist somebody higher perceive what to do when a panic assault happens, but additionally learn how to change their conduct and thought patterns that would set off a panic assault sooner or later.

Dr Karen Lynn Cassiday stated a panic assault is just like the time if you had been a child and somebody’s older brother held his head underwater within the pool and also you did not assume you’d come up a day on the floor.

Having 4 or extra of those signs is actually overwhelming, which is why lots of people may assume, I am having a stroke, I am going loopy, I am dying, one thing is severely unsuitable with my physique. And truly, they’re proper, it is simply none of these issues I simply talked about.

Many individuals with panic assaults continuously worry being caught off guard whereas performing regular duties, akin to procuring or driving.

Some folks won’t ever expertise a panic assault. Many individuals will expertise one or two of their lifetime. However an unlucky 4.7% of People undergo from panic dysfunction, persistent anxiousness, together with frequent panic assaults.

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