Understanding Panic Attacks: How Can You Overcome Them?
Panic attacks are more common than people think, with at least one in ten people in the UK experiencing them from time to time. Often triggered by a stressful event, panic attacks start with a feeling of fear or uneasiness which goes on to peak within a few minutes.
With both internal and external triggers causing a number of physical sensations, it’s important to understand what influences our bodies to react in this way. External triggers include social threats such as worrying about what people think of us or how we perform in certain situations. An internal trigger often follows having already experienced a panic attack, and is caused by our sensitivity to the symptoms and our awareness of even the tiniest change in our body.
Though the symptoms each person experiences may differ, panic attacks are driven by the same natural survival mechanism – the ‘fight or flight’ response. Hundreds of thousands of years ago, when coming face-to-face with a predator, we needed to react quickly and there were only two options – fight or run. It’s this response that triggers a number of automatic physical reactions in our body because, when we perceive a threat or a stressful situation, that’s when the fight or flight response kicks in. The physical responses we experience during this natural reaction are what we now know to be the symptoms of a panic attack.
What are the symptoms of panic?
To understand how to prevent panic attacks, we must first be able to recognise the symptoms. Your body’s initial natural response in fearful situations is to release a rush of adrenaline in preparation for fighting or running.
This could cause one, some or all the following symptoms:
• Heart palpitations caused by the heart beating to supply blood to the muscles in preparation for fighting or running away
• Sweating to try and cool us down
• Breathlessness as we take deep breaths to supply sufficient oxygen to the muscles, causing lightheadedness and dizziness as a result
• Shaking or trembling as your body prepares to fight or run
What can you do to overcome panic attacks?
Though there isn’t a way to get “rid” of panic attacks, there are very simple and effective ways you can learn to manage them. Some people might consider one-on-one therapy – but what if we don’t have the time or resources to make this happen? At Therapy for You, we believe this shouldn’t hinder us from getting the help we need. That’s why we’ve created free online video treatments, centred around Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. We’ll teach you the techniques and provide you with the tools to make positive changes to your thinking and help you accept that the symptoms you experience are your body’s natural response. Work through the course at home or on-the-go and at your own pace.
If you feel that our online service could work for you, why not give our therapy courses a go? Head to https://www.therapyforyou.co.uk/courses/online to see what our free NHS service can do for you.