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Author Topic: What techniques do you use to control panic attacks?  (Read 843 times)

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Offline Smithy

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What techniques do you use to control panic attacks?
« on: August 12, 2013, 03:25:02 PM »
Hey all. Just wondering what techniques you use to calm down when you have a panic attack or when you feel one coming on?
I use deep breaths, distraction (eg, leaving the situation and going for a walk), talking with a trusted friend or my partner, journaling, going on a forum to discuss.
However, in the midst of an anxiety attack or when I know one is imminent none of those things really seems to make them STOP. Any suggestions for other techniques that might be more effective?
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Offline Cuchculan

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Re: What techniques do you use to control panic attacks?
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2013, 04:51:46 PM »
I put my trust in my beloved MP3 player. It goes were I go. You can put anything on an MP3 player. Be it music or even a guided meditation. A calming voice telling you how to breathe in the correct way. Because at times we forget the basics if anxiety does kick in. So always great to have with you when outdoors. Someone to take you through all those steps you might suddenly forget in the height of panic. You can even record your own voice and have it there too. Music normally does the trick for me. I do write a lot. Forum wise. As you can probably tell. But I journal as well. Read a lot too.
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Offline mwtzzz

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Re: What techniques do you use to control panic attacks?
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2013, 10:19:47 PM »
Paradoxically, not attempting to control it is the best way. In other words, not caring whether it happens or not. If you literally do not care whether you have a panic attack, it robs it of the fuel it needs to keep going.
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Offline howahkan

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Re: What techniques do you use to control panic attacks?
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2013, 07:33:29 AM »
Everyone who has anxiety, particularly panic disorder, needs one go to coping skill that will for sure stop the panic attack in its tracks. Im sorry you dont have one :( hopefully you will get ideas from this thread that you can take from and work into your go-to skill to stop it. I spent about.. 2-3 months having panic attacks 10-3 times a day, and getting long lasting limited symptom attacks whenever i was outside. I read and tried every coping skill I could get my hands on, and I made this coping skill up on a bus while having a horrible attack.

First, I cover my mouth with my hands, loosely. Fingers spread slightly so I could breathe easily, but feel my breath on my hands and face.

Second, I take a deep breath in through my nose, while thinking "This feeling is uncomfortable"

Third, I exhale slowly, relaxing my shoulders down, and i think "But it will pass"

I also do this, without covering my mouth and splashing cold water on my face. It goes like, "This feeling is uncomfortable" *splash* "But it will pass".
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Blessed Be.

Online crikee57

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Re: What techniques do you use to control panic attacks?
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2013, 03:40:00 PM »
I agree with mwtzzz.  Acceptance is the tool that has been by far the most effective for me in dealing with panic attacks. 

When the panic starts I try and just allow it to come and sort of roll on through.  The less I fight, the faster the panic goes away.  Sometimes I even try and make the panic worse.  To force myself to panic more.  Strangely enough, when you try and make the panic worse the opposite happens.   For example, right now try to have a panic attack.  Try and force it to happen.  Odds are you will not have one.  Same applies during a panic attack.  Fighting the panic only makes it stronger and more frightening. 

The feelings of allowing the panic in are definitely uncomfortable.  Therefore I combine the acceptance with focused breathing and repeating to myself that it is just panic and will not hurt me. 
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It's not what's in front of us that stops us.  It's what's inside that holds us back.

Offline Lunatone

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Re: What techniques do you use to control panic attacks?
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2013, 06:10:12 PM »
I come to websites like these and help other people out. After a while, it gets hard to deny that I'm experiencing the same symptoms im helping others deal with. That probably sounds silly, but it helps me get away from the immediate fear, and lets me look at the feelings and fears from an outside perspective. Its enough of a break to clear my head up.
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Offline Smithy

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Re: What techniques do you use to control panic attacks?
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2013, 05:40:07 PM »
Thank-you everyone. Lately I have seriously been considering taking medication when I feel an attack coming on (eg, Attivan) and I really don't want to. I've been med free for four years and I'm happy about that, but these attacks just rule my life when they occur. I'm definitely going to try these techniques before I ask my doctor for a prescription.
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Offline Markosmunk

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Re: What techniques do you use to control panic attacks?
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2013, 08:43:03 PM »
Medicines are very no bueno, when I was on Lexapro i did feel better but I didn't feel like me and made me me act out towards everyone, though my psychiatrist thought that was more of a success.

But after I stopped medications I turned to natural techniques, learned to play piano, guitar, bass guitar, harmonica, drums. Another thing I use is a pen, always have to have a pen in my pocket to fiddle with, some people pay no mind to it. I'm sure most the time they think I just got done signing documents or something. But a motor stimulation like holding the pen, chewing on straw (this helps me control my nervous laughter), or trying to hold in the anxiety if you can and let out on some sort of art project is also good.
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Offline howahkan

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Re: What techniques do you use to control panic attacks?
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2013, 02:36:43 AM »
Medicines are very no bueno, when I was on Lexapro i did feel better but I didn't feel like me and made me me act out towards everyone, though my psychiatrist thought that was more of a success.

But after I stopped medications I turned to natural techniques, learned to play piano, guitar, bass guitar, harmonica, drums. Another thing I use is a pen, always have to have a pen in my pocket to fiddle with, some people pay no mind to it. I'm sure most the time they think I just got done signing documents or something. But a motor stimulation like holding the pen, chewing on straw (this helps me control my nervous laughter), or trying to hold in the anxiety if you can and let out on some sort of art project is also good.

Medications are no bueno for you. I don't take meds because they dont help m. But there are thousands of people who suffer mental illness who cant function without meds.
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Blessed Be.

Offline WhatsTheDeal

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Re: What techniques do you use to control panic attacks?
« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2013, 09:40:55 PM »
I didn't want to create a new thread...

Has anyone tried running during a panic attack? I mean logically speaking, if your body is flooded with adrenaline would running be a good way to handle a panic attack? It couldn't hurt right?
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"Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight." ~ Benjamin Franklin

Offline howahkan

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Re: What techniques do you use to control panic attacks?
« Reply #10 on: August 18, 2013, 08:22:42 AM »
I didn't want to create a new thread...

Has anyone tried running during a panic attack? I mean logically speaking, if your body is flooded with adrenaline would running be a good way to handle a panic attack? It couldn't hurt right?

The only issue with this I can think of, is that panic attacks make your heart rate go up, you feel breathless, faint, dizzy, etc and running would exasterbate these symptoms.
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Blessed Be.

Offline mwtzzz

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Re: What techniques do you use to control panic attacks?
« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2013, 11:55:34 PM »
I didn't want to create a new thread...

Has anyone tried running during a panic attack? I mean logically speaking, if your body is flooded with adrenaline would running be a good way to handle a panic attack? It couldn't hurt right?

It won't hurt, but it would become a sort of crutch. Let's say you're in a situation where you cannot run. Then what will you do? Probably panic more because your crutch is gone.

 The best thing with panic attacks is simply to not fight them. It's simply to know that panic attacks, although uncomfortable, cannot hurt you, and that the irrational thoughts that go with them are unrealistic.

It might also help you to know that there are cognitive behavior therapists whose treatment for phobias/panic attacks, is to force the patient into the situation that causes them fear and make them suffer through it. And then repeat the process two or three times a week, for several weeks. It's called "exposure therapy" and it's actually the best treatment for panic attacks and phobias.

For example, let's say a patient is claustrophobic. Some of these therapists will literally nail the patient into a dark wooden box (or shut the lid and padlock it) for 90 minutes. No matter how much the patient cries and begs and screams, the doctor won't let them out. Sounds awful, but it works. Exposure therapy has the highest cure rate compared to other approaches.
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