What Should I Do During a Panic Attack?


It is not unusual to become stressed when making significant changes in your life, with unknown challenges lying ahead. As you work with your counselor or therapist, it is essential to talk about your stress levels, including any anxiety you are having. When discussing past trauma and events, experiencing asthma-like symptoms or difficulty swallowing is not unusual. These are all physical signs of stress. As you talk with your support counselor, you can develop a strategy to help you work through these episodes. 

Getting a Grip on Panic

Learning the techniques below may help you deal with panic attacks or moments of intense anxiety until you can follow up with professional help: 

  • Think About the Cause

When you are feeling overly anxious, ask yourself, “Is this true?” Ask yourself what the facts are. If you think that you cannot cope or handle the changes in your life, ask for proof that you cannot. Imagine your thoughts are no more than a breeze blowing through your head; they will soon go away. You don’t have to become attached to them. 

Remind yourself that although you might be worried about the future, people in your life want you to succeed. If it helps, name those people in your mind as you take deep breaths. By focusing on the present moment, you can re-establish control over your wandering thoughts. 

  •  Breathe

Get away from looping negative thoughts and focus instead on your breathing. Rather than breathing from just the top half of your lungs and creating tension in your chest and throat, inhale slowly through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth. This type of breathing will really help you focus. Just the act of breathing this way can take your mind away from the problem.

  • Connect to the Present Moment 

Bringing attention to each of your senses helps create distance between yourself and negative thoughts. Focus on your surroundings and take notice of what you see. After that, think about any sounds you may have heard or any particular scent you may have smelled. Finally, if possible, touch the ground where you are and be aware of how that feels: warm, cold, or smooth. By refocusing yourself away from a disruptive thought, you create a distance between yourself and it. 

  •  Release

Take a deep breath and release negative thoughts into the air. Imagine watching them disappear into nothing. As you inhale deeply, look at the world around you; take everything in, and release negativity from your thoughts.

When discussing past trauma and events, experiencing asthma-like symptoms or difficulty swallowing is not unusual. These are physical signs of stress and will eventually pass. Talking with your support counselor and developing a strategy can help you work through these episodes. Taking control of stressful moments can help you focus on your surroundings and your breath; you can then consider the cause of the stressful moment. Surrounded by the Rocky Mountains’ inspiring landscape, the Detox Center of Colorado offers a solution-based transitional residence program aimed at accountability and recovery. No matter how far you’ve traveled on your journey to substance abuse or mental health recovery, we look forward to helping you explore the range of supportive treatment and aftercare options available to you. We treat you with the dignity your life deserves. Call the Detox Center of Colorado at (303) 952-5035. It may be the best thing you do for yourself today.


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