How to stop a panic attack
Updated: Jun 25
In my previous blog post, I discussed the symptoms of a panic attack, and introduced how to stop a panic attack when it occurs. In this blog post, you’ll learn how to deal with panic attacks in more detail. I’ll start with the short-term solution, and then outline long-term solutions for how to stop a panic attack.
Short-Term Solutions for How to Stop a Panic Attack: What to Do While You’re Having A Panic Attack
The first step to stopping a panic attack is to realise that it is a panic attack you are suffering. While there are thousands of combinations of symptoms that you may suffer during a panic attack, classic signs are that you experience shortness of breath, trembling, and can feel your heartbeat. You may also feel detached from reality, and perhaps sweat profusely.
Whatever your symptoms, several different techniques can be used to put a stop to the panic attack you are suffering. Try one or all of the following:
Recognise that this is a panic attack and that you are safe, nothing bad can happen to you. This is just a wave of emotions taking on physical form, but there’s nothing physically wrong with you.
Be compassionate toward yourself and don’t judge yourself for what you’re going through. When you judge yourself and try to resist what is happening, you create an inner conflict that doesn’t allow the attack to pass. The more you accept the way you feel, the faster that wave will calm down.
Take 3 deep breaths, inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth. Wait for 10 seconds and repeat those breaths.
Stand up and move a little. Rotate your neck, shoulders and arms. Shake your arms and legs a little. Doing this will allow the tension release.
Find a private space and don’t be afraid to cry if you need to. The relief will soon come.
Long-Term Solutions for How to Stop a Panic Attack: How To Stop Panic Attacks from Recurring
The most common treatments the western approach has to offer are either cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or medications. Both can help but should be considered carefully. This is especially true of medications, as some can be addictive.
Another option is acupuncture. Acupuncture releases your body’s natural opioids, including encephalins and serotonin:
· Encephalins have “antidepressant, anticonvulsant, and antianxiety effects”(1)
· Serotonin affects “feeling well, producing happiness, being pleased, producing a normal level of appetite and sexual stimuli, and achieving psychomotor balance”(1)
A course of acupuncture can reduce your anxiety levels significantly, as well as reduce the frequency and intensity of your panic attacks. The research behind this is extensive, including the paper “Acupuncture and electroacupuncture for anxiety disorders: A systematic review of the clinical research” published in ScienceDirect in May 2018(2) and Errington-Evans’ “Acupuncture for anxiety"(3).
Many of my clients also discover that acupuncture has longer-lasting positive effects on their anxiety-related disorders, including panic attacks. Read one of these success stories here: “Acupuncture aids Amy’s anxiety and IBS conditions”.
Don’t let stress and anxiety take over your life. Get in touch with me, and let’s work together to destress your life.
Live life to the fullest
1. Cabýoglu MT, Ergene N, Tan U. The mechanism of acupuncture and clinical applications. Int J Neurosci. 2006;116(2):115–25
2. Amorim D, Amado J, Brito I, Fiuza SM, Amorim N, Costeira C, et al. Acupuncture and electroacupuncture for anxiety disorders: A systematic review of the clinical research. Complement Ther Clin Pract [Internet]. 2018 May 1 [cited 2018 Nov 2];31:31–7. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1744388118300689?via%3Dihub
3. Errington-Evans N. Acupuncture for anxiety. CNS Neurosci Ther. 2012 Apr;18(4):277–84.