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:
- Medication-assisted therapy
- Holistic or experiential therapy
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 877.432.0867 to speak with a counselor at Atlantic Recovery Center in Davie, FL.