When you feel a panic attack coming on, it can hit you hard and without any real notice. Learning the signs and symptoms that could lead to attacks is the first step to overcoming them. Within the African- American community “only one-third recognize what may be happening and talk to their doctor; only about one-quarter of African Americans seek mental health care.” ADAA – African Americans Anxiety
Be aware that attacks can be brought on by stress, anxiety, or possibly without any cause; most often the person will feel a sudden intense surge of fear, panic, terror, and loss of control. These feeling can become overwhelming, having both an emotional and physical impact on the individual. The physical symptoms will usually manifest in the way of: pain or tightness in the chest, trouble breathing, heart pounding, sweating profusely, dizziness, and trembling. The duration of attacks can last between a few minutes to thirty minutes or longer.
The managing of panic attacks can be done with counseling, medication, or with personal care. With counseling the patient will sit one on one with a licensed counselor, psychological counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist. There you can discuss any issues you are going through, and will hopefully start to understand why your panic attacks are coming about. The goal in this treatment is to “figure out the situations, thoughts, or feeling that cause your attacks. Once you understand what is happening these triggers have less power to cause trouble.” WebMD – Panic Attack Treatment
Your counselor or medical provider may also recommend relaxation techniques and discuss medication options. Relaxation techniques are exercises meant to calm the person before or during panic attacks; if these exercises are done right and consistently enough, they can possibly keep you from going into attacks.
The main relaxation technique you will hear used is the Deep Breathing exercise. For this exercise you will need to:
- Find a comfortable place free from noise and distractions.
- Lie down on you back or sit up with your back straight.
- Focus on deep breathing.
- Breathe in slowly to a count of four.
- Hold the breath to a count of two.
- Breathe out slowly to a count of four.
- Breathe deep so your belly goes up and down.
- Continue doing this breathing exercise for ten to twenty minutes, and try to do them daily.
- While doing them keep thoughts out of your mind and relax your body.
Another treatment for dealing with panic attacks is by way of medications. If your medical provider decides this is viable option for you, the medications could include, but are not limited to:
- Anti-anxiety prescription drugs
- Medications for other conditions
Between your medical provider and counselor other treatments may be recommended such as: yoga. water therapy, meditation, strengthening your faith, changes in diet, exercise routine, getting more sleep, or giving up caffeine, alcoholic and smoking.
For More Information:
WebMD – Panic Attack Treatment
Mental Health – Panic Disorder