What Are Panic Attacks?
Have you broken out into a sweat? Heart going really fast? Feeling like you are going to die? You may well be suffering from a panic attack.
Panic attacks can happen as a response to fear, anxiety CLICK HERE or to stressful situations. Because you are scared of something your body reacts by releasing a lot of a hormone called adrenaline, causing your chest to feel tight and your heart to race, and can take from between 10 and 30 minutes to pass.
Panic attacks are really common, many people suffer from them. They can be scary but they will not cause any physical harm.
If you have regular and recurring panic attacks, often for no apprent reason, you may have some form of panic disorder. If this is happening to you it's a good idea to go and see a doctor.
Help When Having A Panic Attack
The following tips can help you if you are suffering from panic attacks:
Close your mouth and breath in through your nose slowly, count to 3, breath out through your nose and count to 3.
Picture something calm, maybe waves on a beach, continue breathing through your nose, slowly. It can help to imagine the panic as a 'thing' that is sitting beside you, instead of inside of you, try imagining it shrinking down to a small size.
Try thinking of it as a loud noise, then imagine it has a dial, try turning the dial down. Realise that nobody is likely to notice what is happening, it is going on inside you, so say to yourself, 'Okay, here I am having this feeling but nothing terrible is going to happen to me, so I am going to do my deep breaths and calm myself down.'
If the frequency of the panic attacks do not settle down, go and speak to your doctor. If necessary a doctor can refer you on to a service that will work with you to control these episodes.
Reasons For Panic Attacks
Panic attacks can happen due to heightened anxiety or stress. Anyone can have a panic attack, even people without any kind of anxiety disorder. In these cases it may be caused by an anxiety-provoking or stressful situation like the death of someone close. In some cases people have suffered from panic attacks due to medical conditions.
Getting Help For Panic Attacks
There are lots of places where you can get more information and support around panic attacks.
You can also call Childline on 0800 1111 at any time if you are feeling worried, anxious or scared.