To understand the notion of panic attack, it is necessary to first define the terms that compose it. Attack is called the act and result of attacking: attacking, lashing out, offending. Panic is an intense feeling of fear.
It can be said that a panic attack is a phenomenon that occurs when a person suddenly experiences a fear of great intensity. The attack can last a few minutes or even hours.
Regarded as panic attacks, panic attacks occur without apparent cause. The individual, without knowing why, begins to feel terrified and his body reacts as if it were facing a specific threat. The subject, in this way, begins to have breathing problems, tremors, tachycardia, excessive sweating and dizziness, among other symptoms.
The panic attack is associated with a sudden increase in anxiety. The person is not aware of the specific reason that triggers the situation: it is something that causes him a lot of anguish and that he cannot process to assimilate it into his psychic structure.
In addition to the sensation of terror and the physical effects, it is common for the person to not be able to correctly relate their environment to reality and to experience a strangeness about themselves. The feeling of loss of control over your body and your life in general is also common.
When panic attacks are recurrent, the individual suffers from what is known as a panic disorder. This condition is usually treated with psychological therapy (to detect the real reason for the anguish ) and with drugs prescribed by a doctor to alleviate the physiological effects (antidepressants, anxiolytics).
Four steps to overcome a panic attack
Despite the severity of the symptoms, stopping a panic attack is not difficult. In technical terms, it is simply overriding the emergency message that the adrenal glands receive. Following a series of four steps defined by specialists, attacks may not last more than three minutes, and statistics show that once learned their effectiveness increases with practice.
Before proceeding to detail the four steps, it is necessary to clarify that the definitive solution requires finding the cause of the anxiety and working so that it stops affecting us in a negative way, a job that can take a lot of time and determination.
The first step is relaxation. It is necessary to become aware that we are having a panic attack and that we can overcome it. Controlling breathing is key, and for this we must breathe in slowly and deeply, trying to fill the lower part of the lungs and then exhale until all the air is expelled, to decrease the adrenaline level.
Once we have regained control of our breath, we must stop the flow of negative thoughts. For this, it is often useful to say aloud any phrase that helps us to drive them away, such as “enough!” Or outside!”. This step is contrary to the most common tendency, which is to repeat destructive phrases until you enter a vicious circle.
Similar to the previous step, we should say reassuring phrases that are opposed to the catastrophic ideas that often arise during attacks. For example, if we fear that we are having a heart attack, we can choose to repeat “it is simply a panic attack and the heart is beating harder than normal, nothing more.”
Finally, although we should not necessarily do it fourth, it is important to accept your own emotions. It is useless to deny or minimize the fear we feel during an episode, but we must get to the root of the problem and try to understand the reasons that awaken it.