Although unpleasant and scary, both panic attacks and panic disorder (what recurrent panic attacks could lead to if left untreated) can be successfully dealt with. Here are the basics on addressing panic attacks.
1) Educate yourself about panic attacks. There are 4 key points you need to know:
*The majority of people will have at least one panic attack throughout their life.
*Panic attacks result from stress, usually accumulated or unconscious. Although you might not be feeling stressed at the very moment a panic attack occurs, there is underlying stress that the body detects.
*The physical symptoms are due to the fact that the body prepares itself to protect you against a perceived danger.
*Having one panic attack doesn’t imply that more will follow. Having more panic attacks following the first does not mean this will be a lifelong condition.
2) Learn the diaphragmatic breathing technique. Practice pairing it with thoughts like “I will get through it and be fine”, “It will soon be over”, “I am not dying nor having a heart attack, I will soon be okay”. The practice should take place when you are in a calm state, so that you can master the technique. Slow deep diaphragmatic breathing, paired with the thoughts, is what you will concentrate on while having an actual panic attack. It will be a very useful tool to help you through it.
3) Ask for professional help if the panic attacks persist, if you worry a lot about a potential next panic attack, or if you start avoiding certain behaviors, situations or places due to fear of a panic attack.
They might not go away overnight, but following the right steps can certainly aid in overcoming them!