CBS OWN Zoom & Skype Consultations

How To Cope With a Panic Attack

A panic attack is one of the most distressing situations one can experience. Typically a panic attack can literally feel as though you are having a heart attack. They are often are accompanied with fast heartbeat, sweating, dizziness and sometimes short, shallow breathing. Those having a panic attack will often experience an extreme fear that something terrible is about to happen and believe there is no relief is in sight.

When coping with panic attack it is important to know first and foremost, that it will pass, and that it is not a heart attack. It may be difficult to actually realize this that the first time it happens however, and typically the first incident lands one in the emergency room. However, after a thorough check up, especially cardiovascular tests, it is usually determined that what is happening is in fact a panic attack. Usually a person will then be sent home, sometimes with a prescription of Xenax, Clonapine or another anti-anxiety medication. Sometimes a referral to a therapist or a psychiatrist will be recommended.

Aside from being aware that what is happening is panic, here are some tips that can be helpful when coping with panic attack.

  • Sit comfortably, with your feet firmly on the ground and get control of your breath. It helps to slow it down as this may bring down all the other accelerated functions in the body.
  • It may also help to gently rub your chest right over the heart.
  • Think positive thoughts, such as “I am safe”, “this will pass”, “I will be OK”.
  • Use your imagination and try to picture a place you typically associate with safety and calm.
  • If a person close to you is present, hold their hand.