The Art of Managing a Panic Attack
Learning the art of managing a panic attack is critical if you want to avoid letting episodes of panic ruin your life. Unfortunately, there are certain situations where the attacks come one after the other, known as “panic disorder”, that require more in the way of treatment.
Tips for Managing a Panic Attack
Statistically, nearly every one of us has experienced an anxiety attack at one time or another. This is hardly a surprise given the pressures of daily life in this modern world of ours. From economic pressures to personal situations, the world can often seem like an overwhelming place. Eventually there has to be a release for all of this stress and it often comes in the form of a panic attack. As strange as this may sound, this is a normal thing and not something to be overly concerned about.
What about the person that suffers frequent panic attacks, however? This is not a normal part of life and managing a panic attack becomes impossible for the individual. The concept is known in psychiatric circles as “panic disorder” and represents a medical condition where a person has an ongoing panic attack disorder that is so intense that they actually develop a fear of the attacks themselves. Once this occurs, the individual can find it difficult to function at work and in their daily social interactions since they are incapable of managing a panic attack at this point. It is a disabling condition, but one there are treatments for in the medical field.
Medication and Psychotherapy
The process for managing the panic disorder is much different from dealing with the occasional anxiety attack. When the attacks come again and again, the focus is more on traditional medical treatments that can provide immediate relief. Medications and psychotherapy are the two primary elements of this approach.
A person that has suffered repeated panic acts requires immediate medical intervention. Typically, this is done through the use of prescription medications that alter the chemical structure of the brain. The medications that typically are tried first come from the Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, better known as SSRIs for obvious reasons. These drugs regulate the amount of serotonin, a neurotransmitter, which is transmitted throughout the brain. By “fine tuning” the amount available, a physician is able to stabilize the mental functions of the patient and eliminate the panic attacks. The course of medications may also include mild sedatives of the Benzodiazpines family that are used to relax the patient.
Once the patient has been stabilized, psychotherapy is instituted with the intention of meeting two particular goals. The first is to determine if there is some underlying experience or psychological reason for the attacks, such as a traumatic experience. The second is to teach the patient about recognizing and managing a panic attack when one starts to come on. If both goals can be met, the patient will slowly be weaned off of the medications until a plateau is reached where the patient can live a life without ongoing panic attacks.
The truth of the matter is one panic attack is disturbing enough. To suffer through a panic disorder that consists of ongoing attacks is almost too much to ask of an individual. Fortunately, medications and training in managing a panic attack can make all the difference in the quality of life for a sufferer.
Related terms: How to Manage Anxiety, Living with Anxiety Disorder, Tools for Managing Anxiety, Skills for Managing Anxiety, Simple Tips for Managing Anxiety, Panic Attack Coping Skills, Living with Panic Attacks, Managing Panic Attacks without Medication