A panic attack is a frightening experience where the heart races and breathing is desperate. A sweat breaks out, then dizziness and nausea take over and then there is such a pain in the chest that the sufferer thinks they are having a major heart attack and death is imminent.
When the panic attack is over, there is such a dread of it happening again that they worry about it all the time and even change their normal routine in an effort to avoid whatever triggered it in the first place. If left untreated, this cycle of anxiety-panic attack-anxiety-avoidance behavior develops into a panic disorder which can seriously affect quality of life.
Millions of people worldwide suffer from panic attacks and because of the economic recession, this number is increasing all the time. However, no-one knows exactly why they occur. While there are common denominators in many cases, the slippery slope which led to the condition is unique to the person suffering from it. This is why there is no panacea and individual therapy is the only way to rid oneself on panic attacks, especially if they have developed into a panic disorder.
That said, there are some tips to stop panic attacks which may be sufficient in the early stages to nip a disorder in the bud. The earlier action is taken and lifestyle changes are made, the more likely panic attacks can be stopped.
Panic attacks are the body’s way of saying that it can’t cope. The great majority of panic attacks are preceded by stress overloads often bought about by the modern lifestyle that leaves us short of quality time for ourselves. Lack of leisure time and exercise as well as work pressure are major stressors that take their toll on us mentally and physically.
While it may be difficult to change your job, look for ways to delegate some of your responsibilities. Studies have shown that there are certain personality types which are prone to anxiety disorders and they are the perfectionists who aim high but are very critical of themselves. These type of people find it hard to delegate work to others even when it is not necessary that they do it themselves.
Exercise has also been shown to help in the prevention of panic attacks. Feel good chemicals called pheromones are released during physical exercise which calm the mind and engender happier thoughts and less stress.
Too many people are falling into the habit of consuming fast pre-packaged food filled with additives and salt and lacking in nutrients and vitamins. The tendency nowadays is to rely on these kinds of food instead of home-cooked meals using fresh ingredients. Particularly important for the nervous system is vitamin B which is water soluble and so not stored in the body. This means that foods rich in vitamin B like fresh leafy green vegetables, whole grains, fish and animal products need to be consumed every day.
Modern diets tend to be more acidic and less alkaline whereas an 80% alkaline 20% acidic diet is considered optimum for good health. Acid producing foods include refined sugar, processed food, meat and dairy while fruit and vegetables are alkaline.
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Alcohol, drugs, caffeine and smoking are all factors implicated in the development of panic attacks. Research has found that while one person may be able to tolerate these substances, another may have a sensitivity to them and so are more likely to suffer adverse consequences like panic attacks. Of course, long term abuse will result in many other health costs. Cutting them out will go a long way to boosting physical and mental health and decreasing vulnerability to anxiety.
Sometimes, rapid shallow breathing or over breathing can cause a panic attack and other times it may be the result of a panic attack but whatever the case, breathing exercises are crucial to circumventing a full blown attack. Breathing slowly from the abdominals rather than the chest and breathing out longer through pursed lips than breathing in through the nose is the best technique for dealing with shortness of breath.
Help yourself to overcome panic and anxiety through common sense changes in lifestyle, diet and work habits. These are changes which benefit the body and mind in many other ways as well so when the panic attacks do subside, a brand new life awaits.
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Dr. Vikram Tarugu, M.D, is the CEO of Detox of South Florida, Inc and medical professional focused on addiction. A veteran in the medical field with over 25 years of professional experience. He is a consultant for many South Florida Rehab centers. Patients travel from allover the US to seek his help with addiction and Hepatitis C treatment.
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