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How to Cope with Panic Attacks

You can’t always get rid of panic attacks completely, but you can learn to live with them.


  • Step 1: Accept it Accept the fact that you are having an attack. Facing panic head on reduces its intensity.
  • Step 2: Be realistic Be realistic. Remind yourself that you are not in any real danger.
  • Step 3: Rate it Rate your level of panic on a scale of one to ten. Sufferers find that this simple exercise somehow makes an attack more tolerable.
  • TIP: When you have a calm, quiet moment, think about what triggers your attacks. If you understand what causes them, you might be able to reduce them.
  • Step 4: Breathe Take a few deep breaths. Place one hand on your chest and one on your stomach as you inhale deeply and then exhale slowly. The hand on your chest should barely move; the other should rise up and down.
  • Step 5: Visualize Now picture yourself in a favorite, peaceful place, like in the mountains or on the beach.
  • Step 6: Release tension Release tension by tightening each muscle in your body for approximately five seconds before moving on to the next.
  • TIP: If you begin to hyperventilate, breathe into a paper bag for about ten minutes. This will diminish your symptoms by raising your carbon dioxide levels.
  • Step 7: Join a support group Join a support group, where other sufferers can share their tips and techniques for coping with and conquering panic attacks.
  • Step 8: Consider therapy Consider getting therapy. Cognitive-behavior therapy is especially useful in helping panic attack sufferers learn to cope with their fears.
  • Step 9: Ask about medication Ask your doctor or therapist if you are a good candidate for anti-anxiety medication.
  • FACT: For unknown reasons, women have twice as many panic attacks as men.

You Will Need

  • Acceptance
  • Deep breathing
  • Visualization
  • Muscle-relaxation exercises
  • A support group
  • A cognitive-behavior therapist
  • Anti-anxiety medication
  • A paper bag

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