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Panic attacks usually involve very sudden periods of intense anxiety, usually accompanied by a racing heart beats, sweating, fainting, weakness or dizziness. The onset of panic attacks usually occurs without any warning or obvious triggers. So the big question is how should panic attacks be dealt with? Before you consider dealing with panic attacks you must first understand the possible causes and triggers.

Causes and triggers of panic attacks include:

    Biological factors – vitamin B deficiencies, Wilson’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder etc can trigger panic attacks
    Phobias
    Lack of assertiveness
    Genetic factors
    Medications
    Substance abuse, alcohol and medication withdrawal
    Chronic illnesses
    Hyperventilating syndrome

Because symptoms can vary from individual to individual, so how should panic attacks be dealt with? Let’s look at the symptoms of panic disorder which include:

    Sweating
    Chest pain or discomfort
    Palpitations
    Racing heart beat
    Trembling or shaking
    Feelings of dizziness, unsteadiness, light headedness or faint
    Nausea or stomach upset
    Choking feeling
    Chills or hot flashes
    Shortness of breath
    Fear of dying
    Fear of losing control or going crazy
    Feeling numb

Now, to finally answer this question “how should panic attacks be dealt with?”  Here are some of the remedies used for dealing with panic attacks:

1)    Paper bag re-breathing
Doctors and people who suffer from panic attacks usually recommend breathing into a paper bag, and this is thought to be an effective short-term treatment of an acute panic attack.

2)    Medication
If anxiety medication is used, the doctor usually prescribes an antidepressant, particularly SSRIs such as sertraline, fluoxetine, paroxetine, escitalopram and sertraline. These drugs do not cure panic attacks but help its sufferers reduce anxiety and panic disorders. Anxiety medicines such as venlafaxine (an SNRI) has a reputation for being effective but addictive and may also increase suicide ideation. However, it has less abusive potential than other anxiety medicines such as benzodiazepines.

3)    Diaphragmatic breathing
This involves breathing gradually through the nose making use of your diaphragm and abdomen. In this technique, you do not breathe through the mouth, you will also focus on exhaling very slowly. Doing this will correct or prevent imbalance of oxygen to carbon dioxide in your blood stream.

4)    Living or staying in the present
Instead of having thoughts of “what if”, focus on “what is happening presently” and how you want to answer the question.

5)    Coping statements
These statements are repeated as part of an internal monologue and have been very effective in the treatment of panic attacks/anxiety attacks, the coping statements are:

    There is no one I know that has ever died from a panic attack
    This will pass
    I can deal with this situation
    I have nothing to be afraid of
    I will stop worrying about being frightened

6)    Acceptance and acknowledgement
Accepting and acknowledging the fact that you suffer from panic attacks will go a long way in treating this problem. There is use denying the obvious, acceptance is the first step towards treatment.