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How to Prevent a Panic Attack

Panic disorder is a common mental health condition marked by frequent panic attacks. Since the condition is sometimes debilitating, it’s not unusual for patients to ask how to prevent a panic attack. Furthermore, patients with anxiety disorders and substance use disorder (SUD) may experience anxiety and panic attacks far more frequently. With substance use and co-occurring disorder treatment at an addiction treatment center in Florida, they can better manage both issues.

Anxiety, Panic Disorder, and Panic Attack

People with panic disorder experience unexpected and repeated episodes of intense fear that makes them go into a state of panic-anxiety. They’ll experience what is called panic attack episodes that can last for 20 to 30 minutes. During this time, they may be unable to function mentally or physically. For example, they may need to pull over if an episode occurs while driving.

Panic Attack Common Symptoms

A panic attack happens suddenly and intensifies within minutes. Different things can trigger the condition and related symptoms. Triggers include a phobia or fear of an object, person, situation, or behavior. Someone who’s having a panic attack usually experiences:

  • Chest or abdominal pain
  • Sweating, trembling, or shaking
  • Increased heart rate or pounding heartbeat
  • Feelings that something terrible is about to happen
  • Shortness of breath or a sensation of choking

Tips on How to Prevent a Panic Attack

Although you’re familiar with the symptoms, you may still not know how to prevent a panic attack. Here are 4 ways to prevent it or cope with the effects:

  • Practice mindfulness: This means focusing on what you see, hear, and feel, so you can appreciate what’s happening at each moment. By doing this, you’re able to filter out negative thoughts that bring on fear or trigger panic.
  • Use relaxation techniques: Taking deep breaths and exhaling gently help to relieve mental stress and allows you to focus. Reading and listening to music are other ways to relax and take your mind off life’s stressors.
  • Take doctor-prescribed medication: Doctors treat anxiety and panic disorders with anti-anxiety drugs and antidepressants, such as benzodiazepines. Your doctor may direct you to take the tablet as soon as you feel an oncoming attack.
  • Reduce stress: Fear can induce stress and stress can cause fear. Either way, stress releases hormones that can press your “panic button.” By managing areas of your life that bring on stress, you can decrease panic symptoms. You can also think of pleasant things or focus on an object until the discomforting feelings pass.

Anxiety Disorder and Addiction Treatment at Atlantic Recovery Center

By knowing how to prevent a panic attack, you’ll spend less time worrying about the next episode and more time enjoying life. You also won’t need to abuse drugs or alcohol to drown out fear or anxiety.

At Atlantic Recovery Center, we use evidence-based treatments to reduce the effects of anxiety and panic attacks on your life. In fact, your treatment plan may include detox and rehabilitative treatments for both anxiety disorders and substance abuse. Our trained and certified therapists treat anxiety disorders and SUDs with cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT).

Both mental health therapies teach the mindfulness technique which allows you to practice living in the moment. Your therapist will assist you in developing problem-solving and stress reduction techniques, which should help reduce panic episodes. You may also benefit from these other therapies:

  • Psychotherapy
  • Medication-assisted therapy
  • Family
  • Holistic or experiential therapy


Panic attacks can happen to anyone, at any age. While some people suffer from chronic panic attacks, others may only experience one or two panic attacks in their entire lives. However, if you’ve ever experienced a panic attack, you’ll know that a panic attack is a frightening event that is hard to forget. Because of the kinds of feelings that a panic attack induces, it’s often easily confused with other serious problems, such as a heart attack or stroke. For that reason, it’s helpful to understand what to look for, and to know the signs of a panic attack.

If you’re battling a mental health disorder such as an anxiety disorder or panic disorder, there is help available. At Atlantic Recovery Center, we give you the tools that you need to overcome panic, stress, and anxiety outside of treatment. Contact our Florida treatment center today by calling 1-866-824-5193 to learn more about your treatment options.


A panic attack is a sudden feeling that comes over you of intense fear and danger. You can compare it to how you might feel if you suddenly felt your life was in danger. The difference is that with a panic attack, there is no obvious source of danger. In other words, the danger is perceived instead of real. Furthermore, while the panic attack itself comes on for intangible reasons, the physical and mental symptoms are very evident.


The exact signs of a panic attack may vary slightly from one person to the next. However, in general, there are certain signs that you can pay attention to determine if you’re having a panic attack versus something else. Here are the common signs to look out for:

  • A sudden sense of dread or foreboding
  • Feeling like it’s the end of the world
  • Feeling like everything you ever knew was wrong
  • Sweaty hands and feet
  • Racing or pounding heartbeat
  • Tremors or shaking
  • Rocking back and forth
  • Overwhelming desire to curl up in the fetal position
  • Nausea/retching
  • Headache
  • Dizziness or feeling like you’re going to faint
  • Intermittent chills and hot flashes
  • Perceived shortness of breath
  • Feeling the need to escape
  • Hyper-awareness of the blood circulating through your body

As you can see, there are multiple signs of a panic attack. A person may have just a handful or all of the symptoms mentioned above, or they may have additional signs that aren’t listed here. One of the signs of a panic attack that everyone has, though, is the intense feelings of danger and fear.


Panic attacks can start for a variety of reasons. Some of the reasons include things like:

  • Recent trauma
  • Sustained levels of stress
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Chronic stress
  • Feeling that you are not being true to yourself
  • Feeling that something is physically wrong with you

Note that some people can endure these kinds of situations and never experience a panic attack. Whether or not a person responds with one or more panic attacks depends on how they cope with stress in general, genetics, and their physical and mental state. For instance, if a person is harboring long-term feelings of deceitfulness or if they feel they have not been taking care of themselves physically, they might experience a panic attack, or they might simply make lifestyle changes.

If you feel that you are starting to have a panic attack, it’s important to seek out help. Call a loved one or contact a mental health professional. Panic attacks do cease, but getting help is still critical for an overall favorable outcome.


Your mental health is an important part of your overall health. It is important to take care of it so you can feel like your best. Atlantic Recovery Center offers a number of therapies to help you protect your mental health. Some of these include:

Get the help that you need today by contacting Atlantic Recovery Center at 1-866-824-5193. We are here ready to help you.

Mindfulness and meditation are distraction strategies that train your brain to focus on living in the moment. Our therapist may even share other helpful tips on how to prevent a panic attack. Addiction and mental health treatment can be delivered during your time in our outpatient, inpatient, or residential rehab program. Call 1-866-824-5193 to speak with a counselor at Atlantic Recovery Center in Davie, FL.