How to Cope with Panic Attacks

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

You will need

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

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.

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.

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.