More and more people are suffering from panic attacks, but only a few are really aware of it. Suddenly everything becomes blurred in front of you and you are in a state of anxiety and sweating. But how do you know if you are having a panic attack? And what can you do? We explain you the first aid gestures in a panic attack situation.
What are panic attacks?
Fear is a daily companion. Almost every day, humans are confronted with the feeling of fear. But this is not unusual. Fear is a part of our lives, just like love, joy or even anger. So fear is a natural reaction to certain events, such as danger. But when is it a panic attack? In the case of panic attacks, the people concerned generally suffer from an anxiety disorder. An anxiety disorder is when the sufferer experiences anxiety for a prolonged period of time. These anxiety states are usually caused by past experiences that the person is trying to cope with.
In principle, two types of anxiety disorders can be distinguished. First, there are anxiety disorders with a specific trigger. These are, for example, phobias that are triggered by a specific event. Phobias about spiders or needles are very common examples. There are also anxiety disorders without a concrete trigger. These are essentially panic attacks. But panic attacks can happen suddenly and once because of a terrible event. Or more importantly, because of a negative event.
In addition to panic attacks, other illnesses often occur, such as depression or claustrophobia. Therefore, panic attacks should not be underestimated and should be taken seriously. Depression is becoming more and more common, especially among young people. Panic attacks can reach a point where the sufferer begins to avoid crowds. In rare cases, sufferers do not even want to leave the house.
Symptoms of panic attacks
There are questions about when it is a panic attack and how to notice it. If you were already highly anxious as a child, you are more likely to develop anxiety disorders. However, nicotine or caffeine can also promote panic attacks.
The most common symptoms of panic attacks are:
- shortness of breath
- foggy view
- the fear of death
Derealization and depersonalization are two terms that seem complicated at first, but are easy to explain. With derealization, the affected person no longer perceives reality correctly. For them, the environment slowly begins to become alien, which can increase feelings of anxiety.
In depersonalization, the affected person perceives his or her own person as foreign. Over time, this can lead to very strong anxiety states. In general, most anxiety attacks end within a few minutes. As a rule, they do not last longer than 30 minutes. In very rare cases, anxiety attacks can last for several hours. In addition, panic attacks can occur every day or up to once a month. Thus, panic attacks also differ in terms of frequency. The more frequent and severe the panic attacks, the more people are affected by an anxiety disorder.
Panic attack first aid: the guide
The question now arises as to what to do if you or others are affected by a panic attack. If you are experiencing a panic attack, you can follow these tips:
1. Speak correctly
First, you need to convince yourself that you are having a panic attack. Panic attacks are common and you need to understand that we and many other people suffer from them. If you get used to the idea that panic attacks are completely normal, it will seem less and less unpleasant.
Second, accept the panic attack. Acceptance is an important key word in panic attacks. If you begin to accept the panic attack, you can bring some calm to it. And calmness can be very helpful in anxiety disorders. This calmness can be helpful not only in panic attacks but in many other situations.
Breathing, in particular, can be helpful during a panic attack. Therefore, people should do regular breathing exercises. When you experience a panic attack, you automatically breathe more restlessly. So try to breathe in and out deeply. The 4-6-8 technique can be helpful in this case. With the 4-6-8 technique, you should breathe in for 4 seconds, then hold your breath for 6 seconds and finally breathe out for 8 seconds. With this breathing technique, it is possible to overcome a panic attack much more quickly and comfortably.
Panic attacks can be overcome much more easily with certain habits: music, for example, can be a great help. If you suffer from panic attacks often, you can make a playlist for emergencies. As soon as you feel a panic attack coming on, you can play it and calm yourself down. But other remedies, such as pain relief, can also be helpful during panic attacks. Sufferers often put a rubber band around their wrist, which they can then use to trigger the pain. It is especially important not to inflict serious injury! The pain should only be mild and comfortable.
Talking to other people and distracting yourself can also be a good way to overcome a panic attack. Although anxiety disorders make it very difficult for most sufferers to make contact with other people, this can be a very helpful remedy. But there are many other ways to distract yourself: like counting backwards.
Note: If you still feel sick after using these tips, you can simply call the emergency number. When the emergency services arrive, people suffering from panic attacks or anxiety attacks usually feel safe immediately. Our TarisApp can also help you in an emergency. With the TarisApp, you can dial the emergency number and use the app to get help from medical personnel in the nearest area.
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