Treatment Tips for Panic Attacks
By Ryan Light, Running/Anxiety Coach
Panic attacks come on at any time of the day or night. If you’re ever been so scared and out of control, then you’ve probably had a taste of what a panic attack feels like to the typical sufferer. Ever feel as if you were in imminent danger and had to flee? That’s kind of what a panic attack feels like. It comes on strong, scares the heck out of you, and it’s gone – maybe!
Am I Not Crazy?
Mental health is one of the last frontiers in medicine because we can’t measure the problem. Too many of the problems are considered “in your head” that it’s only now being recognized as an honest illness. I am a sufferer of depression and panic attacks. It takes everything I have every day just to get up and be somewhat productive. Although everything appears to be well with my life, in reality, it’s a day to day existence with little thought of actually getting better. What I hope for is just getting through the day. It’s in this spirit that I offer the following suggestions. Remember that I’m not a medical doctor and everyone should seek treatment if only to validate that you’re not crazy!
Here are a few ideas on how to cope…
Once you’ve finally visited a doctor and have been diagnosed with panic attacks you will be offered a course of treatment. In order to make sure the treatment has the best chance of succeeding, YOU need to take control of your life!
- Participate in your treatment – Do not sit back and wait for relief to come by itself! You must remain active and aware of your mind and body’s reactions to treatment. Be ready and willing to ask any and every question and to address every concern you have with your health care provider. Open lines of communication will increase the chance of control and success.
- Be patient – While many patients respond within weeks or sometimes even days to treatments for panic attacks, no one responds the same. Furthermore, no known treatments for panic work instantly. Be prepared to spend at least a full two months following your initial course of treatment before you start judging its effectiveness. If you still haven’t experienced the improvement you were seeking, you can always work with your provider to adjust your treatment plan then.
- Be alert to side effects – If part of your treatment involves medication, you will likely need to be aware and provide a lot of feedback to the doctor until the dose and type of medicine are Make certain your doctor explains to you the side effects you might have to expect. Usually, they get easier to tolerate with time but it’s critical that you know what to expect. Your doctor may begin lowering your dosage, or trying alternatives if the side effects are pronounced or cannot be tolerated.
- Join a panic disorder support group – If misery loves companionship, then a great source of support, relief, and information for those who suffer from panic attacks can be found in the support group. Now I’m NOT a big fan of support groups in that they tend to validate problems instead of focusing on fixing or living with them. I do recognize however that some people find great solace and support in these groups and for those people, please attend and enjoy. Most attendees will be talking about their experiences, their treatments, and coping tips.
- Start exercising – I have found one of the best treatment options is running. This has been a lifesaver for me, literally. On the brink of suicide in dealing with my anxiety, and panic I found running, or should I say running found me. For me, running gives me a break from the onslaught of thoughts that can terrorize me, as well as give me a goal and something to look forward to. Maybe running is not for you, but I would encourage you to look to some forms of exercise to get you that escape and reset your mind.
Just keeping these tips in mind and putting them to use during your treatment may help make you feel much better and increase your chances of treatment being effective.
Looking for an anxiety coach? Please reach out to contact me as I’ve helped dozens of people beat their anxiety and get back to living life.