Anxiety (and subsequently panic related symptoms) affect nearly 18.1 percent of adults in the United States. That constitutes approximately 40 million adults between the ages of 18 to 54. *
The first step to controlling panic attacks is understanding exactly what they are, and what they entail-
"A panic attack and its symptoms of tremendous anxiety can strike suddenly, out of the blue. While a panic attack itself may be brief, it can lead to a lasting fear of having another episode. When panic attacks and the fear of having attacks occur repeatedly, people are said to have a panic disorder, a type of anxiety disorder.
"People have these panic attacks under various circumstances,” explains Martin N. Seif, PhD, a clinical psychologist in New York City and Greenwich, Conn. They constantly worry about having an attack and may avoid certain situations as a result. Eventually, people with panic disorder may realize that they aren't actually afraid of the situation they're avoiding, but rather of experiencing additional panic attacks, notes Seif.
Fortunately, you don’t have to live in fear of panic attacks. There are specific strategies you can use to help manage your anxiety and control your physical symptoms as well."
- Breathing slowly and deeply. Anxiety can cause you to breathe very quickly, which makes both the mental and physical symptoms of a panic attack even worse. When you start to feel panicky, be sure to take slow, deep breaths to soothe your mind and body.
- Stop and think. When your thoughts start spinning out of control, simply tell yourself to stop. Organize your thoughts and decide what you need to do to get yourself calm again.
- Think positively. Push negative thoughts out of your mind, and remind yourself that you are in control. Think about times when you've been able to manage situations successfully and reduce anxiety.
- Stand up for yourself. If you need to leave a situation, do so or tell someone you need to leave. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Allowing yourself to become more upset will not help if what you really need is to take a walk and blow off some steam.
- Relax your muscles. Anxiety causes your entire body to tense up, so make a conscious effort to relax each muscle from your toes all the way up to your neck and face. **
*statistics recorded from www.anxietycentre.com/anxiety-statistics-information.shtml
**description and tips provided via http://www.everydayhealth.com/anxiety/how-to-handle-panic-attacks.aspx