Panic attacks range from hot or cold sweats, feelings of fear, increased heart rate, and stomach churning to, in the extreme, feeling like you are having a heart attack.
Panic attacks usually first occur when your anxiety levels are raised to the extreme your body goes into the flight, fight or freeze response. These levels of anxiety can rise gradually over time, so the panic attack often seems to come from nowhere.
Once a panic attack has occurred, unless the overall anxiety levels are reduced, anxietyanother attack can be triggered again by any of the senses – sight, sound, smell, taste or touch – when the brain associates that stimulus with the first panic attack. This can be very frightening and lead to avoidance of possible triggers, which in the extreme can lead to conditions such as agorophobia (fear of going outside)
Many people suffer from panic attacks. They can happen quite suddenly and can feel overwhelming. These panic attacks are a form of fear and sufferers experience intense fear of either the unknown or something else.
Did you know it’s usual for everyone to experience a panic attack or anxiety at some point in their lives?
It’s simply your survival mechanism kicking in, like it does if you have a near miss when driving a car or spot that spider maybe. You get that funny feeling in your stomach, maybe a knot or butterflies.
People may experience a mild form of anxiety when faced with an interview; an intimidating client; an exam or circumstances where they feel out of their comfort zone. When this happens our survival mechanism can be like a faulty fire alarm, going off and raising an alarm as your subconscious is thinking you’re life is in danger when it’s not.
The symptoms of that faulty alarm system can be varied, such as:
- Feelings of fear or severe anxiety
- Suffer a racing heartbeat, palpitations or butterflies
- Profuse sweating
- Feeling faint or ill
- A change in breathing pattern, usually shallow or rapid
If anxiety is severe it can develop into panic attacks. The symptoms can then be so sudden and unexpected that people can even think they’re having a heart attack or are dying. Panic attacks are frightening and can stop someone in their tracks and if they continue it can prohibit someone from living their normal life.
There are various treatments for anxiety or panic attacks, from medication for severe cases to working with a psychotherapist to gain more control over anxieties.
Relaxation and good breathing habits are the key though. Simply breathing more deeply and concentrating on relaxing your shoulders and jaw will send a message to your faulty fire alarm that there’s no need to panic or feel nervous.
A simple exercise is to imagine you’re a puppet on strings and someone cut the strings to your shoulders! Keep you head upright but allow the shoulders and jaw to relax as you breath deeply. This should allow you to deal with anything you are feeling nervous about in a more confident way.
Hypnotherapy teaches you to relax in a very gentle way and allows you to get control, whether it’s for that all-important interview, a driving test or simply to deal with life in general. If the anxiety is more acute and you’re suffering panic attacks then the earlier you get treatment the more likely it is that you’ll be able to put panic behind you and get back to normal.