Panic is best defined as ‘an uncontrollable feeling of acute and disabling anxiety’ and can lead to unpleasant symptoms such as trembling, sweating, increased heart rate and fast, difficult breathing. In turn these sensations may give rise to overwhelming feelings of fear, sometimes described as a ‘panic attack’. These physical symptoms are caused by chemicals produced in response to shock, stress or other triggers.
It is normal to feel anxious and stressed when dealing with difficult or uncertain situations and it is only necessary to take action to control such feelings if they are overwhelming and adding to your distress or limiting your activity in any way.
There are many things which can help you to manage panic attacks and often a combination of approaches gives the best results:
• Understand what is happening so that the symptoms become less frightening • It may help you share your worries with a trusted friend or family member • Speak to your GP who will be able to prescribe medication and/or talking therapies as appropriate • There are techniques of breathing control and relaxation which can help you deal with the panic when it occurs.
Patients of Dorothy House who need help coping with feelings pf panic can be taught breathing and relaxation techniques by Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists or the Family Support team and can also have the opportunity to explore the feelings that are provoking it.
Remember; panic attacks do not have to be endured. They can be managed with the right help.
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