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pallidin

'Tricks' to relieve a Panic Attack

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XenoFish
6 hours ago, RabidMongoose said:

Adopt the frame of mind where you stop caring about everything

I got told apathy was a bad thing. Now it's a good thing?

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Susanc241

So many good points in all the responses that I can’t quote them all.  As a long time sufferer of 50 years, I am 70 now, I have tried just about everything but have never been able to rid myself of the underlying anxiety about whether I might have a panic attack, even now.  Mine all started around the birth of my first child plus other traumatic events around the same time.  I sought medical help in the late 1960s and was told not to be so silly, what’s scary about going out (of your home).  In other words, pull your socks up.  By the time I moved house and had a new (young) doctor who assured me he could help I had been suffering for four years.  By then my brain had been patterned to such an extent I have never been able to completely re route my neural pathways despite various treatments and drugs.

I will say that understanding the processes that are going on doesn’t necessarily mean you can easily alter things, as I have found.  The earlier treatment starts the better chance of success.  The key points I hang on to are these:  the adrenaline surge only lasts a short while (minutes usually).  The sensations this causes will pass, you just have to wait it out (easier said than done sometimes).  Focus on your breathing (as someone mentioned above).  Breath slowly and evenly, belly breathe deep breaths.  Breathing into a paper bag can help if you get as far as hyperventilating.  Slowing breathing will help slow down the heart rate.  Look at your body posture.  Shoulders hunched around your ears?  Drop them and relax, and extend that muscle relaxation to the rest of your body.  On foot?  Slow your walking pace to match your new relaxed state.  Try to avoid literally running away from the situation or place the panic attack occurs.*  Tell yourself you are completely safe (providing all this is not happening in a life threatening situation :lol:).  Basically you are dealing with the 'fight or flight' response, the panic attack being the outward manifestation of this state in an inappropriate situation (life threatening situations aside).  If you were fleeing or fighting for your life the adrenaline would be being used up on muscle use and you wouldn’t even notice it the same way you notice it when it is flowing around your body not being used.*   This seems contradictory but here we are trying to re educate the brain not to flood the body with inappropriate adrenaline in the first place.

Everyone has different physical symptoms to the adrenaline rush in regard to panic attacks so no one fix suits all.  My fears were/are compounded by the urgent need to empty my bowels?  This does not help with the slowing down exercises as described above!  But I have learned to cope.  Other people feel they are going to die (never experienced that myself).  Others feel sick or wet themselves (in extreme cases).  Mainly it is the blind panic in your mind.    The onset of a panic attack can be so swift and frightening because the trigger mechanism for it in the brain is so fast, taking the patterned neural pathway of old before you even consciously realise the panic attack has started.

Are we the opposite of adrenaline junkies who thrive on the sensations it bring?  I know I am.  I am cautious about lots of aspects of life,  but was I always this way or made that way by my agoraphobia?  I will never know, I have had it too long now from too early an age.  I am always happy to share experiences and offer tips and advice or offer a shoulder to cry on to anyone who might want to PM me.  I have run a self help group in the past for fellow sufferers.

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preacherman76

Cut out caffeine.  

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GlitterRose
On 8/28/2018 at 7:59 AM, RabidMongoose said:

Your limbic system is what controls a panic attack.

You have your hippocampus which is responsible for learning, focus, memory, and is important in language. It is wired into your amygdala which is responsible for having emotions. And both these aspects of your limbic system are wired into your lungs, heart, and kidneys.

To begin with your hippocampus and amygdala share a see-saw relationship where the larger one becomes the smaller the other is. Problems with anxiety and panic are the result of a small hippocampus combined with a large amygdala. This most often arises as the result of experiencing adversity in life or trauma then spending your days obsessing about it.

The brain is an adaptive organ where the more you use one of its faculties the more it is strengthened. So your obsessing over what happened is what grew your amygdala and shrank your hippocampus. Treatment can take up to two years and involves:

1. Teaching you healthier thinking patterns (i.e. to stop obsessing)

2. Teaching you to control your emotions (i.e. stop having thoughts that triggers your emotions).

3. Teaching you to live healthy (getting plenty of sleep, drinking plenty of water, eating a well balanced diet, exercise, and breathing properly, all impact your anxiety levels).

When these are done together you grow your hippocampus and shrink your amygdala. After a couple of weeks your anxiety levels will be reduced and if you carry on it will take potentially up to two years (depending on the damage you have done to yourself) to get back to normal.

With the breathing I want you to try something - hold your breath until the panic sets in. That panic is the same panic in anxiety. It is caused by you holding your breath. Dont believe me? Next time you are highly anxiety just look at your breathing. There is none. Breath normally and keep doing so to dampen down that anxiety. It isn't immediate, you have to wait until the adrenaline has been cleared which can take a few minutes. Just keep breathing normally and wait.

It's more complicated than that. There are reasons some people obsess more about things, and they are perceiving normal stimuli as if they are dangers. 

Mood and anxiety disorders are characterized by a variety of neuroendocrine, neurotransmitter, and neuroanatomical disruptions. Identifying the most functionally relevant differences is complicated by the high degree of interconnectivity between neurotransmitter- and neuropeptide-containing circuits in limbic, brain stem, and higher cortical brain areas. Furthermore, a primary alteration in brain structure or function or in neurotransmitter signaling may result from environmental experiences and underlying genetic predisposition; such alterations can increase the risk for psychopathology.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3684250/

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GlitterRose
5 hours ago, preacherman76 said:

Cut out caffeine.  

Caffeine certainly wouldn't help matters.

The underlying problem wouldn't go away, but at least it wouldn't be exacerbated.

Edited by GlitterRose
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preacherman76
17 hours ago, GlitterRose said:

Caffeine certainly wouldn't help matters.

The underlying problem wouldn't go away, but at least it wouldn't be exacerbated.

Actually often times it does go away. If you are a heavy caffeine drinker. I watched my cousin go through these horrible panic attacks. 

After some research we figured out his all day coffee habit was actually causing his anxiety. He switched to decaf, and problem was solved. 

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RabidMongoose
1 hour ago, preacherman76 said:

Actually often times it does go away. If you are a heavy caffeine drinker. I watched my cousin go through these horrible panic attacks. 

After some research we figured out his all day coffee habit was actually causing his anxiety. He switched to decaf, and problem was solved. 

I think most people dont realise the importance of a proper sleep routine and hydration.

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GlitterRose
6 hours ago, preacherman76 said:

Actually often times it does go away. If you are a heavy caffeine drinker. I watched my cousin go through these horrible panic attacks. 

After some research we figured out his all day coffee habit was actually causing his anxiety. He switched to decaf, and problem was solved. 

Then he really didn't have anxiety.

His body just couldn't handle caffeine.

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preacherman76
1 hour ago, GlitterRose said:

Then he really didn't have anxiety.

His body just couldn't handle caffeine.

No he did. It’s how we knew to cut the caffeine out. I read it in a medical journal. Over using caffeine can and does cause anxiety. 

If you saw him you’d know. It was classic anxiety. He’d be in a total panic, thinking he wasn’t breathing. Just freaking out. 

Im telling ya, caffeine can cause anxiety. 

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preacherman76

In fact I figured all this out while he was in the middle of an attack. I was relieved we found information that would most likely be helpful. He wasn’t. I couldn’t get him down from the panic attack, but it was his last one. He cut the caffeine out right then

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Strangeling

I'm not sure how long you've been having panic attacks but I'll share what happened to me and how I cope, without meds or psychiatric care. I've always been really, really anxious and timid probably due to verbal (and rarely physical) abuse as a child. I've experienced insomnia, hypnogogic hallucinations, night terrors, exploding brain syndrome, severe manic depression, and once when I was a child a crazy ass bout of capgras syndrome. All diagnosed by a professional at 9 years old. A panic attack was unfortunate but not unexpected. It happened one day after a pit-bull tried to take a chunk out of my cat but I jumped in the way and probably needed some stitches but had no money; so I just butterfly bandaged them. I explained all that bull**** so that you'd know you're situation might be hella different from mine.

TLDR; I have lots of sleep disorders and now a panic one after a dog attack

Anyways I would panic so hard that I would pass out and p issed myself. No kidding. I hyperventilated, my limbs would go numb and my heart would just pound so fast I literally thought I was having a heart attack. In those moments

1. I tried splashing myself with cold water

2. holding my breath and controlling my breathing

 3. pushing with my abdominal muscles like I had to use the bathroom. Those all slow your heart rate which helps the anxiety.

-Caffeine can cause panic attacks because it increases your heart rate and that tells your body something is wrong.

-That's why exercising also helps, in the long run it takes your heart rate down.

-A warm bath could also chill out your mind

 -Tetris for some reason helps people with PTSD and trauma so that's a thought if your anxiety was caused my an event.

I'd also recommend in the long run

a service dog

 deep pressure therapy

 temperature therapy

 drink lots of water during an episode it helps you get over it faster

 something mindless but relaxing and fun. I watched so many hours of simply nailogical after the dog attack

 I was lucky and my boyfriend would lay next to me and rub my back while I cried. That helped immensely. 

 

Best of luck to you!!

Edited by Strangeling
misspelling
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razman
On ‎8‎/‎28‎/‎2018 at 6:06 AM, pallidin said:

Say, as an acute anxiety sufferer I often run-out of my "emergency meds" before the end of each month. That med is Ativan (lorazepam)

Wondering your opinion/experience of novel ways to "snap-out" of a panic attack.

I been through this. found out it runs in the family , missed a long time of work because of it. I take clonazepam (like it because it is longer lasting and mellows me), and Escitolapram  for this. the two work well together but I take very little of each. the adrenaline does not start it, the emotional fear starts the adrenaline, can make you feel like your gonna have a heart attack. one thing is Love cancels fear , so you can choose love(though this would be more of a long run situation). alcohol is ok but if you drink too much or too often it can make it worse. though these days I like popping a little clonazepam when I do drink , they go good together. The fear of death often plays a part in this kind of thing. I remember some thing I read that either Gene Siskel (spelling?) or Roger Ebert said ,(I think they both dead now), that made sense to me. Something like " why should I be afraid of death , I never had a problem before I was born , why would I have a problem after  I die ?" . rang a bell with me. In any case I understand the difficulty with this kind of thing. meditate on your deepest fears and call for a solution , it will come.

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