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Ltryptophan's avatar

Any suggestions about nipping panic attack causing anxiety in the bud?

Asked by Ltryptophan (10269points) April 12th, 2010

I had two panic attacks in july and august of 2008. They were caused by caffeine, guaranteed. I have had none since. That said, I still get the tiniest tinge of anxiety sometimes, in normal anxious situations. Should I just shrug this off? I will not be taking any medications, as I do not believe in pharmaceuticals of the sort. I can handle the feeling, but it would be nice to get rid of it for good. Any ideas?

Exercise seems to help.

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30 Answers

Ltryptophan's avatar

I am so nervous to hear what you might say…>faint<

njnyjobs's avatar

You have to get a hold of any situation that may cause you to panic. If you have the opportunity to think things through, by all means step back, take a deep breath and clear your mind of the negative vibes. Instead, you think of possible ways to cope. Consistent practice helps one develop the confidence to face the unexpected, so make it a daily habit. Go easy on yourself, don’t get over critical of the things you do or didn’t do.

Ltryptophan's avatar

Gambling really brings it to the forefront. Should I start gambling more for practice? That is where the panic attack happened by the way.

kevbo's avatar

I saw my new favorite bumper sticker yesterday. It said “Don’t believe everything that you think.”

Not an expert opinion, but I would bet money that learning and practicing cognitive behavioral techniques (which essentially have you observe your thought chain in order to change the outcome) would help you manage this. Desensitization therapy (as part of cognitive behavioral therapy) will help if your panic and anxiety are triggered by specific stimuli.

njnyjobs's avatar

@Ltryptophan I wouldn’t recommend developing a resilience to panic attack caused by gambling. Simply stay away from gambling. By itself, gambling can become an addiction.

CaptainHarley's avatar

What @njnyjobs said. If that is the only source of your anxeity, consider it a gift!

philosopher's avatar

Yoga helps and deep breathing. All exercise helps.

MissAnthrope's avatar

It depends on the source of the anxiety. Sometimes you can reframe anxiety as excitement (positive) because the physiological responses are similar. Another thing that was recommended by my therapist is visualization, if you can take a moment to close your eyes, breathe, and picture yourself in a place you find safe/happy/fun, and imagine every detail of the scene.

Panic attacks way suck. :(

evandad's avatar

Since you’re so set against drugs, try a shot of Jack when you feel one coming on.

MissAnthrope's avatar

Um.. alcohol is a drug.

zophu's avatar

Marijuana might help. Though it is a drug. And mostly illegal.

MissAnthrope's avatar

Marijuana is a double-edged sword for my anxiety. One one hand, it is very helpful at times, much in the way people use Xanax for acute, serious axiety. It calms me down, relaxes me, and allows that knot in my stomach to unravel.

Other times, especially if I have to be in a social environment, it can cause anxiety, from very mild up to a panic attack. Now, I get serious, acute anxiety sometimes and get to the point where I can’t breathe, eat, think, or function normally. I tried to get Xanax for this because the only other things that work are pot and alcohol, but the psychiatrist wouldn’t prescribe it despite my therapist’s notes of severe anxiety and panic attacks (one she witnessed during a session, triggered by talking about having panic attacks, lulz).

The pot I have to use judiciously and not when I think it will cause more anxiety, the alcohol also works pretty well, but I feel like that’s a slippery slope since my father is an alcoholic.

So, I self-medicate somewhat and try to tamp the anxiety down on my own. I’m sure breathing and exercise are much healthier methods, though. :P

philosopher's avatar

@MissAnthrope
I have not smoked Pot since college.
A good Yoga Teacher can really help you. If you have the time and patience.
Pot will make you paranoid when you are with up tight morons. LOL that is because most of us only tolerant them when we are straight.
I don’t use alcohol or drugs.
When I practiced Yoga the way I should. Under the advice of a good teacher I was more mellow.

SeventhSense's avatar

The best course is not to resist it. You create the anxiety by your thoughts. Observe it if it happens and realize it won’t kill you. Resisting the thought of anxiety or trying to avoid it is the surest way to court it. We attract what we fear like a magnet. Drugs especially pot is a risky bet because it may just exacerbate your feelings. Breathe.

Ltryptophan's avatar

@SeventhSense I have been good about controlling the anxiety….I don’t want it there though. I guess I have to live with it. Anyway, I just want to tell anyone who is about to have a panic attack, go ahead and breathe, but try to time breaths every 20 seconds. Otherwise you hyperventilate! lol… I just look @ my watch and wait for a good ten seconds or longer before taking a little normal breath. When exhale inhale a bunch it becomes alot harder for me to stop.

philosopher's avatar

PS 100 has helped me. It is a supplement.
If you have a very stressful life they happen.
I had not had any panic attacks in many years; but my son was diagnosed Autistic.
He is now a young Adult and I still have them.
I can not always avoid intense stress.

Disc2021's avatar

Keep up with the exercise. If I can’t seem to calm down, I go for a 3–5 mile jog until I feel too fatigued to go any further. The “feel good” endorphins release and you feel a sense of “high”, chill and relaxed. At that point really feel like whatever it was that was bothering me has gotten itself out of my system.

If I’m angry or frustrated, I go to the gym and lift. It really does feel good – and I usually lift a good amount more than I usually do, ha. I guess it’s a good place to let out your aggression in a productive way.

Try just taking a break from it all. Sit down at a park, go for a ride, turn your phone on silent and dont tell anyone where you’re going. Read a book somewhere quiet and free of distraction. When you’re done, dont dwell, just remind yourself that you’re doing the best you can as a person and that sometimes there isn’t anymore good you could do.

You’re never not going to ever be stressed out – It’s okay to be anxious sometimes. We’re not always supposed to be happy and up in the clouds. Reality bites and it bites hard to remind us that we’ve got decisions to make at the end of the day and sometimes any possible outcome might not be good.

When all else fails, sometimes ya just got to go and get drunk.

YARNLADY's avatar

If a specific activity triggers your anxiety attack, than try to avoid that activity.

Ltryptophan's avatar

@Disc2021 I’ll have a beer to that…

MissAnthrope's avatar

@YARNLADY – I don’t want to contradict you, but I feel it’s important to note that avoidance is not recommended. What happens with a lot of anxious people is that gradually they avoid more and more situations, creating a potentially bigger problem. So, like, if I get anxious during social situations, I shouldn’t use avoidance because I’ll never get any better at being social. Instead, I’d avoid going out, going to places with lots of people, talking to strangers, etc. and the anxiety will persist.

It’s much better to treat anxiety head-on rather than to feed it, because it can be a voracious monster. It’s better to use CBT, maybe work with a therapist if it’s severe, but either way, figure out ways to either no longer find the situation anxiety-provoking, or at the very least to learn how to soldier through it.

(I am not an expert, but I did date a Psych PhD for over two years and her specialty was anxiety disorders)

Ltryptophan's avatar

After the panic attacks they told me that if I didn’t take some meds I’d become a recluse, and it would only get worse. I rejected that. I immediately tried to get it to reoccur, and never felt the same. I think my strong extroverted response put down my internal insurrection.

I didn’t want to backtalk yarnlady either, but since missanthrope mentioned it…ditto.

YARNLADY's avatar

@MissAnthrope You make some good points. I was specifically referring to gambling, I should have made it more clear.

MissAnthrope's avatar

I’ve had this article bookmarked for a long time and finally got around to reading it tonight. It’s long, but I found it really interesting.

evandad's avatar

@MissAnthrope – Yes alcohol is a drug, but you indicated your personal ban was on pharmaceuticals.

MissAnthrope's avatar

@evandad – I did not indicate anything.. the OP did. :D

SeventhSense's avatar

@Disc2021 You had me until the last line.

thriftymaid's avatar

Since you haven’t had a panic attach in two years, I don’t see why you are still dwelling on it. A tinge of anxiety is hardly a disorder that needs attention. If you never feel any anxiety I would think of you as being comatose.

zophu's avatar

Constant anxiety is normal, now. Side effect of our unnatural social structures.

Disc2021's avatar

@SeventhSense Cheers. Takes a swig…

Hey, sometimes there isn’t much else you can do. Sometimes you try getting proactive with life, try “righting” all of your wrongs, try all of the feel-good methods and nothing seems to work. I’m not promoting alcoholism – but most of the time things just dont get any better by sitting around and dwelling. You have to go just go out, have fun and forget about both yesterday and tomorrow and live in the moment.

SeventhSense's avatar

@Disc2021
Some of us don’t have that luxury.
We might not get up again

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