Good Morning Julie,
During a panic attack, the symptoms are sudden and extremely intense. These symptoms usually occur “out of the blue,” peak within 10 minutes and then subside. However, some attacks may last longer or may occur in succession, making it difficult to determine when one attack ends and another begins.
What to do if your having a panic attack?
Sit down somewhere comfortable, away from too many other people if possible
Stop, take a break and try to think about what it is that's making you panic
Think positive thoughts. Tell yourself that you're not going to die, that the attack is harmless and will soon pass.
Keep reminding yourself that you'll be fine.
If you're hyperventilating practise your breathing techniques. If you haven't learnt any yet, breath very slowly and steadily by counting along with each of the breaths. Try to hold each breath for three counts.
The old paper bag trick might be useful. Take a paper bag and hold it over your nose and mouth tightly with cupped hands. This helps you to inhale your own carbon dioxide and slows your breathing.
Instead of trying to run away from the scene, tell yourself that you'll stay for one or two minutes. When that time's up try to promise to stay for another couple of minutes. If it proves to be too much, don't be afraid to leave the area.
Here are some ways to help yourself reduce anxiety:
Relaxation techniques make it more difficult to panic, because tension is part of an attack.
Control your diet. Alcohol and too much coffee may make you more prone to anxiety.
Learn to breathe properly. Breathing techniques can help to prevent hyperventilation.
Regular exercise reduces anxiety and helps to rid the body of the stress hormone adrenaline.
Distraction techniques can take your mind off the panic and any symptoms during an attack.
Here is a great resource for you if you do not have it already:
The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook, Fourth Edition
Pass Through Panic: Freeing Yourself from Anxiety and Fearby: Claire Weekes
Kitt, Co-Moderator: Anxiety/Panic & Depression
& Moderator GERD Forums
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Not a mental health professional of any kind
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Clickable Link: Anxiety-Panic Resources