panic disorder

From Maesk Counseling in Fort Lauderdale - Panic Attacks

Tips for Coping with Panic Attacks

Always begin with a visit to your doctor or health care provider to ensure that there is not an underlying medical cause to your symptoms. Don’t self-diagnose.

Panic attack symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Inability to relax

What Can I Do To Cope?

RATE the panic on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 meaning not bad at all, up to 10 meaning, call an ambulance! Anything we can MEASURE we can start to control.

ACCEPT, don’t fight. Fighting increases the bodily symptoms.

ASK yourself: what’s the worst that could happen here? How would I handle it?

BREATHE normally and naturally. Pay attention to your breath.

FOCUS on an object in the room. See it, describe it to yourself. This helps orient you in the present moment reality.

TIME the attack (measuring again). Note how little time it actually lasts.

NOTICE if the attacks are happening in a certain location or at a certain time (“cued” attacks.) When it passes, get out a piece of paper and write about that place or time. BE A SCIENTIST about your panic—objective, measuring, curious.

TAKE your writings to your counselor to further explore the causes of the panic.

REMEMBER that overcoming panic is not a matter of willpower. It is a malfunction of brain chemistry which can be helped by cognitive-behavioral therapy and/or medication.  Medication takes away the SYMPTOM but not the CAUSE. Therapy helps get to the root of the problem.

Remember that a panic attack won’t hurt your physically. Although it’s very uncomfortable, your body will continue to breathe and function through it. Relaxing even a small amount and observing what’s happening will give you a much-needed distance and perspective.

From Maesk Group Counseling in Fort Lauderdale - Panic Attack Symptoms

Here is some information on panic attacks, adapted from an article written by Johnna Medina, M.A.:

A panic attack is a discrete period of intense fear or discomfort emerging from either a calm or anxious state, in which four (or more) of the following symptoms developed abruptly and reached a peak within minutes:

  • Palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Sensations of shortness of breath or smothering
  • Feeling of choking
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Nausea or abdominal distress
  • Feeling dizzy, unsteady, lightheaded, or faint
  • Derealization (feelings of unreality) or depersonalization (being detached from oneself)
  • Fear of losing control or going crazy
  • Fear of dying
  • Paresthesias (numbness or tingling sensations)
  • Chills or heat sensations

Panic attacks often occur in people who are diagnosed with Panic Disorder.  If you think you may suffer from panic attacks, contact Maesk Group Counseling at 954-353-4680 to schedule your initial assessment.  There is no need to suffer any longer....this can be treated!