These tips are from the myspace panic disorder group. I copied and pasteing them here so you all and maybe use them. These were posted by someone in the group but I have found them helpful. Jen
- when things start to get wierd, immeadiatly think about something else to distract you, such as where you want to take a family vacation or how much you think your water bill might be this month
- if your breathing starts to bother you (this one is my worst one), breathe very deeply in SLOWLY, you have to control this, your mind will tell you one thing BUT TRUST ME, this works, then exhale very slowly, all the way out ( repeat this untill your breathing becomes normal, it will be hard at first, but it has taken me away from the possibility of freaking out
- cold on the back of the neck and the forehead, whether you have to go take a bathroom break and splash the coldest water you can get on your forehead and the back of the neck or you can buy instant ice packs and keep them in your car like I do, if you start to loose it, bust two open and put one in each of those places, it has worked even with an attack that had me nauseuas
- if your at home or out and about, take a small jog (unless your breathing is wierd, then just try the breathing thing), otherwise take a small jog while thinking of distracting very random thoughts, it should work, and I don't mean run a marathon with an invisible man to win, I mean a slow nice jog
- if your thoughts start to get odd (the second worst for me) then sometimes you have to get mad and say FORGET THIS (or something like that :-) and tell yourself that those thoughts are stupid (I think like "life dosen't seem real" or "what if this is a "real dream" ) and try distractful thinking
These practices and techniques have helped me out tremendously. However, a huge part to me being better is my food diet. I found out with the help of my therapist that my diet actually caused 90% of my panic (my manic depression really dosen't bother me, sometimes others, but not me really). I found I cannot have caffiene, very little chocolate GRRRRRRR!!, and moderate amount of chocolate. Every one is different but from talking to others (inluding my half sister) caffiene is a very big trigger. I am no doctor, and I do not claim to heal, BUT if you drink anything with caffine including, any soda with caffiene, coffee, tea, or even to much chocolate, you might want to stop (doctor approved, I am disclaiming right now) and try other drinks like 7 up (the new and improved) or root beer, one of my new favorites, caffine free pepsi, kool-aid, or even caffiene free tea (such as cammomile, or sleepy time tea TM.) or you can even pick up a book on herbs and find out what herbs do not give caffiene and make your own.
When I notice my anxiety level going up I start the following:
1. Breath in through the nose for a count of 2-one thousand. Then exhale though the mouth for a count of 4- one thousand. I do this for about a min.
2. I talk to my self saying that its just anxiety. That there is no danger and that I'm in control.
3. Then I distract my self buy listening to music, looking at other things ect.
4. When I calm down, I make fun of the situation.
The first time I recovered from this condition I did the following:
1.Made a work out plan. mon, wed, fri- did aerobics for 30-45mins. ( There was a couple times where I felt like I started to breath weird, but I told myself my heart was already racing so there was no danger and that I'm getting plenty of air.)
Tues, Thurs, Sat, - I lifted wieghts.
2. I ate healthy. I threw out everything that was bad for me, cookies, coke, coffee, ect. I also took supplements.
4.Went out to an uncomfortable place on purpose to have a panic attack. I would try really hard over and over to work my way through them. This actually help.
5.Had a 'to do list' everyday. I would make sure I finished everything on the list. This would keep my busy.
These were the things I did when I couldn't leave my house at one time. It helped alot.
I find that outlining a stop sign in my mind helps. I start by going all the way around the edges then to the inner edges the actually outline the S, T, O and P in my mind with my eyes closed. Sometimes it takes a couple times, but it does help.
I have seen multiple posts of people looking for hotlines to call when they are experiencing a panic attack. This is the one that I have used at one time or another
National Institute of Mental Health's Anxiety Hotline-1-888-826-9438
Panic Disorder Information Hotline
National Mental Health Association
I found something that I think is going to work for me. I get anxious at night, so I borrowed some books on CD to listen to with headphones as I'm going to sleep. I tried it last night, and it was a pretty good distraction.
If I'm home I've always tried to either take a shower ( the steam makes me breath calmer and helps my circulation so I stop getting as dizzy) or I light incense and watch the smoke...both help me concetrate on other stuff.
Generally stay away from caffine. personally i find if i have too much caffine an attack is never too far behind
Breath into hands. this slows down heart rate generally.
or go outside and get lots of fresh air.
always think back to how youve combated other attacks and how its all in the mind. thinking back to other attacks and noticing similarites to recoginise that it is an attack and assure yourself nothings actually wrong.
Talk about it. personally if im having an attack ill talk someone through it and generally get support. or just talk to someone to take your mind off it.
relax. very hard thing to do but it does help!.
dont know if thats any use and most of you probably know all of that but it might help someone!
Keep track not only of circumstances that lead to PA's but also some of our NAUGHTY HABITS. I'm not just talking about sugar and caffeine, but in my case, LACK OF SLEEP or FRAGMENTED SLEEP. Even if I take a make up nap in the afternoon, I know I'm still setting myself up for a PA. Keep a circumstantial log of your PA's.
I THINK FINDING A DISTRACTION IS A GREAT TIP...
I USUALLY LIKE SOMEONE TALKING TO ME WHILE I'M GOING THROUGH IT... MY HUSBAND MOSTLY. HE JUST STARTS TALKING ABOUT RANDOM STUFF, AND, EVEN WHEN I CAN'T EVEN RESPOND BACK, HE CONTINUES TALKING ABOUT WHAT'S ON THE TV, HE EVEN LAUGHS WHILE I'M HAVING A PANIC ATTACK. NOT TO BE MEAN, BUT BECAUSE WE BOTH KNOW IT WILL END SOMETIME...
BACK RUBS ARE GREAT TOO...
((( OTHER TIMES I CALL MY MOM, BUT ITS NOT AS EFFECTIVE BECAUSE SHE WORRIES WAY TOO MUCH AND JUST TALKS ABOUT MY CURRENT CONDITION))) NONETHELESS, I RATHER HAVE SOMEONE KNOWING WHAT'S GOING ON WITH ME, BECAUSE I ALSO HAVE A GREAT FEAR OF HAVING A SEIZURE. I'VE HAD TWO IN MY LIFE. SO SOMEONE HAS TO KNOW, JUST IN CASE... WELL, THAT'S WHAT I'VE CONVINCED MYSELF OF....
AND I 100 PERCENT AGREE ABOUT THE CAFFEINE... (CAFFEINE IS THE ENEMY)!!!!
EVEN CIGARRETTES, WHICH I'M A SMOKER BUT I'M DOWN TO LIKE 3 CIGS A DAY, AND I USUALLY SMOKE AFTER TAKING MY KLONOPIN...
The best thing to do is to WISH ON THE PANIC . Tell yourself that you want more panic and that you want the anxiety to get more intense.
Because panic is simply a reaction to immediate danger and if you wish on your panic, you are sending signals to your brain that 1) you must not be in danger and 2) panic must not be that dangerous if you are wanting it to happen ... it quickly goes away.
Other things that work:
1. Eating - again, if you're eating, you send signals to your brain that if you were REALLY in danger, you wouldn't be eating.
2. Staying in the moment. Panic cannot physically last for more than a few minutes before your parasympathetic nervous system takes over. Stay in the moment and through the turbulence and the panic will quickly subside.
3. Breath SLOWLY through you're nose. Let the air "drip" in and out of your nose and concentrate on trying to do it as slow as possible while still getting enough air to feel comfortable. Overbreathing often extends the physical symptoms of panic.
4. BECOME AN ACTOR - just pretend that you are fine and that you aren't panicking. Try your best to become a world class actor in a movie. I got this tip from a top panic researcher and physchologist and it works for me because again, if you dont' give in emotionally to the panic, then you send signals to your brain that you aren't in danger and the panic goes away.
If you validate the panic as real danger, then the panic will continue on ... if you invalidate the panic as what it really is (not dangerous), then it will quickly subside.
Easier said than done, I know.
The best thing for night attacks (for me) is just to let them happen. Lay there and ask yourself "What is so dangerous that I'm tripping my fight or flight response?" Is there something I have to run from right now? What am I fighting?
Panic is uncomfortable for sure, but is NOT dangerous. If you work through the turbulence by letting it happen, it will go away --- because it has to. Our bodies can only produce so much adrenaline in a short period of time and will correct itself.
Breath s l o w l y through your nose ....
I hope this helps!
I get panic attacks at night when I'm sick. I always think the worse, like I'm going to stop breathing if I fall asleep or I have a really serious illness instead of just a cold. Something that really helps me is turning on my tv, putting a movie in (usually disney) or listening to soft music. It takes my mind off my pain. Hope this helps.
I have noticed that putting on some mindless tv show (like cops) or one of the shopping channels.. i personally like jewerlytv.. it kinda helps me fall asleep because i can listen too it and concentrate on it instead of what my brain is trying to tell me.. But when i listen to music.. my brain still goes a mile a minute about a million different things.
How we talk about our disorder does influence how we think about it. When our PA's seem to last forever, what's actually happening is that we have a panic reaction (i.e. attack) but then once we're out of panic mode, we slip into high anxiety mode which is very uncomfortable.
An actual panic attack is a reaction to the perception of immediate danger. Anxiety is a reaction to a perception of danger sometime in the near future. It helps me to think to myself that I'm actually not going through a long panic attack, rather, I just still have high anxiety after I had a panic attack.
Our bodies have only the capacity to create so much adrenaline during a panic attack and then has to correct itself (via the parasympathetic nervous system). Our bodies can, however, stay in "ready" mode (anxiety) for a long period of time after a panic attack.
I hope this helps and I hope you are having a peaceful day.
Always remember that Panic is not dangerous and can not hurt you.
Yes taking a shower helps ----
The reason we panic is because we perceive danger -- if you are taking a shower then you are sending signals to your brain that says "Hey, if I were REALLY in danger, I wouldn't be sitting here taking a shower, I'd be running or fighting to save my life." You're brain gets the message and the parasympathetic nervous system starts to take over --- and calm.
That is a great idea. I have used these meditation cds from Kelly Howell. Her voice is soooo soothing and comforting. The website is brainsync.com. They seem so help me calm down and go to sleep.
Here are some coping skills to get you through/over an attack from a 7 year heavy sufferer...
Some of them might sound a little crazy, but they work for me and have worked for others too. I hope you find they work for you as well... please try to remember them and try them when the time comes...
1) Using ice packs or splashing really cold water on the face and neck
2) Drinking and eating (absolutely no caffeine or energy drinks! stay away from hot meals)
3) Sit down or preferably lie down in a cool, shady location secluded from loud noises and hustle-bustle.
4) Take a cool shower or stand outside in the rain!
5) Stroke something textured and interesting feeling... like a fur coat, pet, grass, sand, vinyl, velvet, playdough whatever.
6) Do repetative counting. Some sufferers find themselves doing this naturally during an intense attack... like counting to 5 over and over.
7) Self soothing by rocking
8) Wear a rubberband on your wrist and snap it.
9) Have a pleasant, interesting conversation with someone. Focus on the conversation, make sure it's not boring to you, and do not talk about your symptoms. Think of what you're going to say next and listen to what the other person's saying.
10) Sing along with some music you like
11) Hit something! Go wild. I know this one is crazy. But if you know that the chemicals in your body are going wacky at that time and there's adrenaline and lactic acid and all sorts of other nasties rushing through your veins you can put it to good use by expending that energy and wearing yourself out. Exercise feverishly, puch some pillows or a couch, run in place, break dance, do jumping jacks, throw some stuff around. Please, use discretion with this technique.. use only when circumstances are appropriate or you could have bigger problems besides panic attacks, lol.
12) When all else fails... pop a Xanax, Ativan, Phenegren, Valium etc. I carry 2 in my bra at all times. lol
13) Do what your body is screaming for you to do and get the hell outta dodge... or whatever situation you're in. Get somewhere quiet and secluded, if you have a safe person... take them with you.
14) Try mediation or prayer.
15) Drink lots of water, gatorade, powerade, pedialyte, propel etc. Some people get panic attacks when they're dehydrated or their electrolytes are out of whack.
16) Correct breathing techniques. This is soooo important! Slowing down your breathing is crucial. Breath in for a count of 10, hold for 5 seconds, breath out for a count of 12. Repeat.
17) Be your own safe person! Coach yourself through it. It's happened before. You know all the symptoms, you know what's happeningand what to expect. This isn't the first time this has happened, and you've lived through it before, and you'll live through it again! Think of how silly you felt or how embarrassed you got after your last attack. It is important to ACCEPT what you're feeling and let it happen. Relax. It's just another attack. You're not dying. You're not going crazy. You're not actually sick. You will feel better in a few minutes. Keep telling yourself this. Outloud if circumstances permit. Quit fighting it, be logical and reason with yourself, remind yourself what you are feeling is normal... for you.
The trick is, to distract our hypersomatic, inwardly-focused, hysterically perk minds from what's going on with our bodies. Direct the attention outwards and away from our repetative, distructive thoughts and frightening physical sensations.
I'm new to the group but not to anxiety attacks. I've had them for about 18 years. Some of the ways I combat them are:
1. Getting as cold as possible. It takes adrenaline to heat the body back up and burns the extra that you experience during an attack.
2. Find an activity that you have to consentrate on. I started doing puzzles, paint by number, crossword puzzles. Anything that disrupted my thinking about the panic.
3. If I'm out and can't get to some of the things mentioned above, I will count by threes backwards, take a pen apart and put it back together. Find a radio station that has funny DJ's (laughing is excellent way to combat panic).
4. Actually talking about what made me anxious or what I was thinking about etc. during an anxiety attack IS NOT HELPFUL FOR ME AT ALL. It just increases the anxiety.
5. My husband and I will clasp hands and I will try to push his hands back and he will press against mine. Again it helps to burn up the extra adrenaline.
6. As a last resort I will take an Ativan prn. One very smart doctor told me to put it under my tongue and let it melt. It enters the blood stream much faster then if you swallow it and have to wait for it to go through the stomach. Ativan works well for me because it has no taste.
I sure hope that this info can help someone else dealing with panic/anxiety attacks. When I first started having them, there wasn't near the information out there that there is now. If I can help one person, it makes it seem like maybe the suffering wasn't for nothing.