In the United Kingdom, over 8 million individuals experience panic attacks on a frequent basis.

Often emerging from anxiety-based mental health conditions, panic attacks typically arise when an individual encounters fear, danger or stress.

Impairing the lives of adults and children alike, when left untreated, panic attacks can have intense ramifications on an individual’s physical and psychological health.

Sadly, only 43% [1] of those that experience panic attacks are thought to receive treatment.  This means that many individuals are silently struggling with panic attacks.

If you personally experience panic attacks or have come to understand that a loved one experiences panic attacks, understanding the signs, symptoms and tips to cope with panic attacks will enable you, or your loved one, to begin to navigate and overcome their struggles.

 

Signs of A Panic Attack

As a panic attack arises, various physical and behavioural signs will come to light.  Unlike the symptoms of a panic attack, the signs of a panic attack will be visible to friends, family members and health professionals.  To help you recognise the signs of a panic attack, we have listed just a few signs that commonly arise below.

  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Repeatedly asking the same question
  • Feeling on-edge
  • Insomnia

 

Symptoms of A Panic Attack

If you have personally come to experience panic attacks, as they arise and begin to dominate your thoughts and feelings, you will experience a number of symptoms.

Although panic attacks are primarily psychological, the symptoms encountered are both psychological and physical.  Sadly, a panic attack’s physical symptoms can be so intense that individuals believe that they are experiencing various illnesses, such as a heart attack.  Over the last few years, this has led to an increase in people admitted to hospital for treatment.

Below, we have outlined a number of symptoms that come hand in hand with panic attacks.

  • Heart palpitations
  • Increased heart rate
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pins and needles
  • Feeling faint
  • Dizzy spells
  • Sweating
  • Shaking
  • Chest pains
  • Numbness
  • Hot flushes
  • Chills
  • Pains and aches

 

It should be noted that unlike the signs of a panic attack, when a panic attack emerges, only the individual experiencing the panic attack will experience the symptoms associated.

 

How To Deal With Panic Attacks

Regardless of whether you have found yourself subject to panic attacks for days, weeks, months or years, it is highly likely that you will want to determine how you can cope and mitigate the overall impact that they have on your life.

Although we recommend contacting us directly for personalised support, we have shared many tips to cope with panic attacks below.

 

1. Determine The Triggers That Cause Your Panic Attacks To Arise

While many people believe that they encounter panic attacks entirely out of the blue, it is crucial to understand that various triggers and underlying factors will essentially activate a panic attack.

Understanding and determining the triggers that cause you to experience panic attacks will help you deal with and cope with panic attacks.  However, when a panic attack is present, it can often be challenging to do so.

With this in mind, as panic attacks occur and alleviate, we would highly recommend taking note of how you feel during the panic attack and writing down the thoughts you encounter.

In doing so, you will be able to reflect on how you felt and the worries that consumed you.  In turn, you will have the opportunity to determine the triggers that may well have caused your panic attack to arise.

 

2. Create Coping Strategies

Having determined what causes your panic attacks to arise, you can begin to create coping strategies that will enable you to mitigate the risk of panic attacks occurring in the future.

Although the coping strategies that you develop will be entirely unique to your needs, many individuals find that participating in exercise or focusing on a hobby such as painting or meditation helps them minimise the overall impact of a panic attack as and when they come to light.

 

3. Focus On Your Breathing

As panic attacks surface, you may find that your breathing drastically changes and causes you to hyperventilate.  When experienced, hyperventilation is frightening. However, it is a common symptom of panic attacks.

Sadly, hyperventilation leads to several other symptoms, such as chest pain and essentially amplifies the ramifications of panic attacks.  Considering this, you must try to focus on your breathing when you begin to experience a panic attack.

There are various breathing exercises that you can take advantage of. However, you will find that you can control your breathing and cope better with a panic attack by simply inhaling and exhaling deeply and slowly.

 

4. Divert Your Thoughts

When panic attacks arise, you may find that your thoughts and feelings are controlled by constant fear and a state of worry. You may also feel as though you are unable to escape your thoughts, which will essentially leave you feeling crippled with anxiety.

In order to cope with panic attacks, it is paramount that you divert your thoughts.  While doing so may be somewhat tricky at first, focusing on a happy and joyous time will reduce the amount of fear and panic you experience.

 

5. Talk To Someone You Trust

Across the world, millions of people silently struggle with panic attacks every single day.  Sadly, panic attacks and anxiety thrive when they are kept a secret.

Although the thought of opening up to a loved one, friend or mental health professional will likely cause you to feel uneasy and apprehensive, in doing so, you will find that you are able to navigate and cope with panic attacks better.

 

Panic Attacks; Signs, Symptoms and Tips To Cope

Upon understanding the signs, symptoms and tips to cope with panic attacks, if you would like to seek professional support and guidance, please do not hesitate to contact us.

At Addiction Advocates, we can refer you to a suitable rehab that will provide you with the treatment you need to overcome your anxiety and panic attacks.

 

Sources

https://www.anxietyuk.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Key-Facts-and-Figures-2019.pdf

https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/facts-statistics