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What are panic attacks and how to handle them?

What are panic attacks and how to handle them?

Panic attacks are a type of fear response that the body exuberates when it is in danger, stress or excitement. They can be incredibly frightening and many are unsure what to do when it is taking effect on the body.

In this article we will be exploring panic attacks to help you better understand what they are and how to cope with them.

What are symptoms of a panic attack?

  • A pounding or fast heartbeat
  • Sweating and/or shaking
  • Feeling sick
  • Pain in chest or abdomen
  • Struggling to breathe
  • Feeling faint or dizzy
  • Feeling disconnected from your body (dissociation)

During a panic attack you may feel like you’re:

  • Going to faint
  • Going to die
  • Have a heart attack

Panic attacks can take place at any time, there also may be no trigger that causes the attack to take place. On average they will last 5-20 minutes. People who suffer from anxiety disorders, depression or other mental health conditions are more likely to suffer panic attacks. Panic attacks are frightening, but they’re not dangerous, it will not cause you physical harm.

How to manage a panic attack

  • Focus on breathing – If you concentrate on your breathing you can slow down your breathing and heartrate. Focus on deep breaths in and breathing out whilst counting to 5.
  • Eat something with lots of flavour – It may sound daft but it can help. Something such as a mint or chewing gum can help a lot.

5 4 3 2 1 Grounding Technique

The 5 4 3 2 1 grounding technique is used to help and calm yourself down whilst you are having a panic attack. It can help control the overwhelming emotion you are feeling, the technique doesn’t just have to be used for when you are having a panic attack. It can be done when you are feeling anxious or stressed out.

How to do the 5 4 3 2 1 Grounding Technique:

To effectively use this technique you must name:

  • 5 things you can see. Look around your environment and identify 5 things, this could be a wall, a flower or anything.
  • 4 things you can feel. It could be what you are sitting on, the clothes you are wearing. Think about how they feel.
  • 3 things you can hear. Listen to the world around you, can you hear the hum of a light? The breeze or any chatting that’s happening around you.
  • 2 things you can smell, your clothes, a perfume, try to think about things you like to smell.
  • 1 thing you can taste, if you can’t taste anything. Think about something you enjoy tasting.

Trying out this technique can help you reconnect with your environment. Also concentrating on your breathing can help out too.

If you would like to learn more about Panic attacks and anxiety. Why not check out these links below

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Toby Greenfield

Toby is our Learner Engagement Marketing Apprentice and is involved with all things social media and content development. He is also responsible for attending careers events and delivering presentations. Toby is dedicated to showcasing the apprenticeship opportunities available for individuals and businesses to embark upon.