Tips for managing panic attacks
The first step to effectively managing panic attacks is identifying triggers and planning out strategies to get through the episodes when they occur.
Panic attacks are typically not dangerous, although the physical symptoms can feel severe, which leads people to avoid places they know may trigger an attack.
If fear of having a panic attack in public keeps you from doing things that you want or need to do, one technique for managing is to write down the worst things that could occur during a panic attack and then plan a way to cope if it does happen. For example, if you’re afraid to go out because you’re worried about having no one to help you through a potential panic attack, plan to take someone you trust with you. Suppose you’re afraid of being stuck somewhere in the middle of a panic attack, scope out places before, and plan where you can make a hasty exit if you feel a panic attack coming on.
If you can’t find an easy exit, it’s always a good idea to get to the most private, safe space you can find and focus on breathing when an attack occurs. Another helpful technique is to find a focus object. Pick any single item nearby and focus all of your attention on it, noting all the details about it. Concentrating hard on something besides the panic attack will help slow down your heart rate and breathing and help bring you back to baseline faster.