How do you personally cope and deal with panic attacks?

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Rum Ham
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As a lot of you know, I've been suffering with panic attacks for about 2 yrs now. Over the last 6 months to a year, they have been the worst. I used to only get them in a certain class at college, now I get them every day, in the house, outside. Basically, any time and anywhere.

I have been to my GP and also to mental health team who taught me relax techniques and all that jazz and for a while it did work. Now, they have came back again with a vengeance.

I can barely leave my house again. I don't want to be this bad again as I was pretty much housebond for months at my worst. I know I am going to need to go back to my GP again and see what can be done.

In the mean time I was just wondering how all of you who have suffered or still suffer from panic attacks do to cope and maybe even prevent them? Better yet, how to stop the completely.

Panic attacks are horrible and a lot of people don't realise how devastating they can be. I wouldn't wish them on my worst enemy, that's saying something!

Anyway, I look forward to hearing from you. Its nice to talk to someone who knows exactly what it is you are going through
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jhadjkura
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i made a video on exactly how i calm down from one and how i stop them from happening in the first place http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtFQKpFPB-Q
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Rum Ham
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Thanks. I'll check it out
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cupcakes87
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(Original post by jhadjkura)
i made a video on exactly how i calm down from one and how i stop them from happening in the first place http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtFQKpFPB-Q
Its a good video!!
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Reeeeyah
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There is a brilliant book I read by Dr Claire Weekes called 'hope and help for your nerves'. It helped me so much with my panic attacks. Also CBT helped me a lot.
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Scorlibran
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I found trying to relax all of your muscles helps sometimes.
Try to slow down your breathing.
Not exactly a way of coping but avoiding caffeine can make them less likely to occur.
I found camomile tea calms me down a bit (again as a way of preventing them).

I know they are slightly different for everyone in terms of how bad, how often and what triggers them but hopefully these might be able to help you. Good luck.
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Rum Ham
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Thanks for your replies everyone. I'll check out the vids and books you recommend

Yeah I feel as though caffeine makes my panics ten times worse but cutting out caffeine doesn't stop them entirely for me
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katiiiiie
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I just take deep breaths and try and face the situation that has made me have a panic attack, even though all my instincts are telling me get away from it as fast as I can I am thinking about going on medication although for years have said no to pills I do seem to be dealing with them a little better by just doing things that make me anxious and seeing that there is nothing to be scared of. I hope things work out for you


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NathanW18
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Not too well. The best thing I ever did was accept the medication. A lot of people don't want to do that, but they do help. You would take the medication if you had any other illness. I don't know why it's seen as such a bad thing to take SSRI's. I was stupid and stopped taking them. I thought I was okay. I relapsed and now I'm pretty much housebound. I can count on one hand the amount of times I've left the house within the last two months. I have gone back to the meds.

The only way I've found that helps to calm me down is to listen to this on YouTube:



I close my eyes and focus on that. It tends to help me to relax and allows me to go to sleep. Obviously this is only for when you're at home. I have no advice for you when you're outside.
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Rum Ham
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I am going to my doctor next week to discuss medication because all the positive thinking and breathing techniques can only do so much for me. I was on Prozac for anxiety for a month a while back but the doc took me off it because it was making me feel even more depressed. If you don't mind me asking, to those who have or are still on meds for panic attacks, what ones are you on and do they actually help? My mum and gran have both been on meds for their panic attacks for years. My mum takes one every day regardless if she feels panicky and my gran takes one at the start of a panic.

I am going away with my mum and our partners in June for our bdays and I am excited and even though its a few months away, I am already starting to panic.

Thanks to everyone who has replied, you don't know how much just talking to people who have been in the same boat helps. None of my friends have had panic attacks so they don't really understand how debilitating they can be

Hope you are all well *hugs*
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Tyrion_Lannister
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(Original post by Yasmin25)
I am going to my doctor next week to discuss medication because all the positive thinking and breathing techniques can only do so much for me. I was on Prozac for anxiety for a month a while back but the doc took me off it because it was making me feel even more depressed. If you don't mind me asking, to those who have or are still on meds for panic attacks, what ones are you on and do they actually help? My mum and gran have both been on meds for their panic attacks for years. My mum takes one every day regardless if she feels panicky and my gran takes one at the start of a panic.

I am going away with my mum and our partners in June for our bdays and I am excited and even though its a few months away, I am already starting to panic.

Thanks to everyone who has replied, you don't know how much just talking to people who have been in the same boat helps. None of my friends have had panic attacks so they don't really understand how debilitating they can be

Hope you are all well *hugs*
Citalopram It's really helpful. I also have diazepam, which I take when I feel a panic attack coming. It really calms me down.

Something I do when I get them is focus on something external. The person in front of me's shoes, the noise of the cars, the busy street, anything that's not in my own head. I also do something sensory. Drink something that tastes cool, touch something nice, smell something, and focus on that rather than the panic.
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Rum Ham
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(Original post by Tyrion_Lannister)
Citalopram It's really helpful. I also have diazepam, which I take when I feel a panic attack coming. It really calms me down.

Something I do when I get them is focus on something external. The person in front of me's shoes, the noise of the cars, the busy street, anything that's not in my own head. I also do something sensory. Drink something that tastes cool, touch something nice, smell something, and focus on that rather than the panic.

My mum used to be on citalopram for depression and anxiety, now its paroxetine and my gran takes diazepam, they seem to really help her

This is gonna sound silly but how do anti-anxiety meds make you feel? When I took the prozac, it made me feel spacey which ultimately made me feel even more panicky.

Ah I try all the distraction techniques, sometimes they work, sometimes they don't. If I have a little panic out of the blue in the house, they'll mostly work but never outside. The thought of going outside, especially during the day (maybe its because its usually busy and crowded outside during the day) fills me with fear which I am sick of because I used to have such a good social life and I miss the little things like going into town with my mum, going out for a few drink etc
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Tyrion_Lannister
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(Original post by Yasmin25)
My mum used to be on citalopram for depression and anxiety, now its paroxetine and my gran takes diazepam, they seem to really help her

This is gonna sound silly but how do anti-anxiety meds make you feel? When I took the prozac, it made me feel spacey which ultimately made me feel even more panicky.

Ah I try all the distraction techniques, sometimes they work, sometimes they don't. If I have a little panic out of the blue in the house, they'll mostly work but never outside. The thought of going outside, especially during the day (maybe its because its usually busy and crowded outside during the day) fills me with fear which I am sick of because I used to have such a good social life and I miss the little things like going into town with my mum, going out for a few drink etc
They make me feel like everything is okay. It's hard to describe, but they just take away the anxiety. They make me feel...no longer worried. I don't feel too spaced. I do if I combine them with pain meds (only did this when I had to do a situation that makes me terrified, so that I'd be too spaced out too care).

Yeah sometimes they don't help, which is annoying.
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doodle_333
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(Original post by Yasmin25)
I am going to my doctor next week to discuss medication because all the positive thinking and breathing techniques can only do so much for me. I was on Prozac for anxiety for a month a while back but the doc took me off it because it was making me feel even more depressed. If you don't mind me asking, to those who have or are still on meds for panic attacks, what ones are you on and do they actually help? My mum and gran have both been on meds for their panic attacks for years. My mum takes one every day regardless if she feels panicky and my gran takes one at the start of a panic.

I am going away with my mum and our partners in June for our bdays and I am excited and even though its a few months away, I am already starting to panic.

Thanks to everyone who has replied, you don't know how much just talking to people who have been in the same boat helps. None of my friends have had panic attacks so they don't really understand how debilitating they can be

Hope you are all well *hugs*
I would keep trying for as long as you can to do it without meds bc learning to cope for yourself will keep you well in a much more long term way

personally I used to suffer horrendously with panic attacks, several a day, literally coudln't function at all, my school said I wasn't allowed to go in anymore... I think the most important thing is recognise when the panic is starting and deal with it then and there to prevent it becoming a full blown attack as I dont know about you but I cannot calm down or think rationally while having a full blown attack, try and focus on breathing as slow as you can, I close my eyes (and block my ears if I can - if I'm at home I turn off all the lights/shut the curtains and lie on the floor) to block out whatever the distressing stimulus is, try and find something to focus on, either a positive thought/image or something which will take some brain power, if I need to I leave the situation and go outside - its all very well me saying that but it took years to learn how to stop them, and part of it was as another person has said forcing myself to face the tough situations even if it meant sort of semi hyperventilating while presenting and looking like a fool

one other thing I do if I'm losing control of my breathing is hold my breath for as long as I can, I don't know anyone else who does it and I wouldn't do it unless someone else is around (as I think hyperventilating means you can hold you breath longer and pass out suddenly) but it does sometimes help
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Rum Ham
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(Original post by NathanW18)
Not too well. The best thing I ever did was accept the medication. A lot of people don't want to do that, but they do help. You would take the medication if you had any other illness. I don't know why it's seen as such a bad thing to take SSRI's. I was stupid and stopped taking them. I thought I was okay. I relapsed and now I'm pretty much housebound. I can count on one hand the amount of times I've left the house within the last two months. I have gone back to the meds.

The only way I've found that helps to calm me down is to listen to this on YouTube:



I close my eyes and focus on that. It tends to help me to relax and allows me to go to sleep. Obviously this is only for when you're at home. I have no advice for you when you're outside.
Sorry to hear you are pretty much the same as me, more or less housebound Pretty much the only time I leave the house is to go to the docs across the road from me or going over to my mum's or gran's in a taxi and the entire time I am in the taxi, I am hyperventilating and feeling nauseous. Ever since the panics started, I get travel sickness the minute I step inside a car, bus or train which obviously makes me panic more and then I feel worse and it feels never ending. How long after taking the SSRIs did your panics stop or at least ease up a bit? Yeah the same thing happened when my mum stopped taking her pills, hers came back with a vengeance.
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Rum Ham
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(Original post by doodle_333)
I would keep trying for as long as you can to do it without meds bc learning to cope for yourself will keep you well in a much more long term way

personally I used to suffer horrendously with panic attacks, several a day, literally coudln't function at all, my school said I wasn't allowed to go in anymore... I think the most important thing is recognise when the panic is starting and deal with it then and there to prevent it becoming a full blown attack as I dont know about you but I cannot calm down or think rationally while having a full blown attack, try and focus on breathing as slow as you can, I close my eyes (and block my ears if I can - if I'm at home I turn off all the lights/shut the curtains and lie on the floor) to block out whatever the distressing stimulus is, try and find something to focus on, either a positive thought/image or something which will take some brain power, if I need to I leave the situation and go outside - its all very well me saying that but it took years to learn how to stop them, and part of it was as another person has said forcing myself to face the tough situations even if it meant sort of semi hyperventilating while presenting and looking like a fool

one other thing I do if I'm losing control of my breathing is hold my breath for as long as I can, I don't know anyone else who does it and I wouldn't do it unless someone else is around (as I think hyperventilating means you can hold you breath longer and pass out suddenly) but it does sometimes help
I find that holding my breath helps too sometimes, only if I'm in the house though. If I do outside or in public, it seems to make me worse. I was reluctant at the start to try meds but I am getting to the end of my tether, I'm willing to try new options.

Sorry to hear your panics affected your time at school. I had to quit college because of mine and now have to study my degree through The Open Uni due to being housebound. I love Open Uni but its annoying that I had basically no choice of whether to do distant learning or go to a brick uni because of my anxiety.

This is gonna sound weird but do you or anyone else on this thread have a weird sensation in your vision before or during a panic? I always feel my vision go funny like its suddenly gonna cut out and go all black. I also get a horrible out of control feeling all over my body, like I am gonna have a fit or something.
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Tyrion_Lannister
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(Original post by Yasmin25)

This is gonna sound weird but do you or anyone else on this thread have a weird sensation in your vision before or during a panic? I always feel my vision go funny like its suddenly gonna cut out and go all black. I also get a horrible out of control feeling all over my body, like I am gonna have a fit or something.
Yes. I had what I thought were seizures at one time because I couldn't stop shaking and it felt like my body was moving on it's own but it was just a panic attack
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NathanW18
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(Original post by Yasmin25)
Sorry to hear you are pretty much the same as me, more or less housebound Pretty much the only time I leave the house is to go to the docs across the road from me or going over to my mum's or gran's in a taxi and the entire time I am in the taxi, I am hyperventilating and feeling nauseous. Ever since the panics started, I get travel sickness the minute I step inside a car, bus or train which obviously makes me panic more and then I feel worse and it feels never ending. How long after taking the SSRIs did your panics stop or at least ease up a bit? Yeah the same thing happened when my mum stopped taking her pills, hers came back with a vengeance.
Pretty much like me. The only time I've gone out is to go to the doctors and I went to the shop to buy a few things. I also ran my car a couple times. Didn't want to leave it idle for too long. I know exactly how you feel. I used to get the same experience as you when I went on buses. Before I started on my meds, my nausea would go up a level and I'd start hyperventilating. The more sick you feel, the more you panic. I had so many panic attacks on buses.

Well, I started on Citalopram a good 4 years ago now. It's tough to remember how long it took to start getting better. It was within the 2-6 week time period. I will say that when you first start on them, the side effects aren't great. It helps if you don't have to go out much over the first 2 weeks. It will settle down and it'll be worth it. I was finally able to go out and not feel any nausea. I still avoided certain things, but going out wasn't a problem any more.

I actually went cold turkey and stopped taking mine for 8 months. **** happened at work and I started to go back to my pre-med anxiety days. I had to go back on the meds and quit my job. Over the last week, I changed Citalopram to Sertraline. I felt like the Citalopram wasn't helping me so much any more and my doctor gave me Sertraline to try. The first week has been a little rough, but I hope that it'll settle down.

(Original post by Yasmin25)
This is gonna sound weird but do you or anyone else on this thread have a weird sensation in your vision before or during a panic? I always feel my vision go funny like its suddenly gonna cut out and go all black. I also get a horrible out of control feeling all over my body, like I am gonna have a fit or something.
Yup. My nausea goes up a level when I'm about to have a panic attack. My heart starts beating at 100mph and my vision goes weird. I start to feel a pins and needles like sensation through my hands. Then I start to dry heave. Definitely the worst part. Means that I can't hide it.
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Rum Ham
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(Original post by NathanW18)
Pretty much like me. The only time I've gone out is to go to the doctors and I went to the shop to buy a few things. I also ran my car a couple times. Didn't want to leave it idle for too long. I know exactly how you feel. I used to get the same experience as you when I went on buses. Before I started on my meds, my nausea would go up a level and I'd start hyperventilating. The more sick you feel, the more you panic. I had so many panic attacks on buses.

Well, I started on Citalopram a good 4 years ago now. It's tough to remember how long it took to start getting better. It was within the 2-6 week time period. I will say that when you first start on them, the side effects aren't great. It helps if you don't have to go out much over the first 2 weeks. It will settle down and it'll be worth it. I was finally able to go out and not feel any nausea. I still avoided certain things, but going out wasn't a problem any more.

I actually went cold turkey and stopped taking mine for 8 months. **** happened at work and I started to go back to my pre-med anxiety days. I had to go back on the meds and quit my job. Over the last week, I changed Citalopram to Sertraline. I felt like the Citalopram wasn't helping me so much any more and my doctor gave me Sertraline to try. The first week has been a little rough, but I hope that it'll settle down.


Yup. My nausea goes up a level when I'm about to have a panic attack. My heart starts beating at 100mph and my vision goes weird. I start to feel a pins and needles like sensation through my hands. Then I start to dry heave. Definitely the worst part. Means that I can't hide it.
What side effects did you experience when you first started citalopram? I have a feeling that'll be the pill my doc puts me on. She suggested it after I was worse on Prozac but I was put off of meds at that point though.

Good luck with sertaline. A friend of mine was on that for depression. Didn't know it was for anxiety as well. In fact before I started suffering from anxiety, I didn't know anti-depressants were used in anxiety treatment.

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NathanW18
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(Original post by Yasmin25)
What side effects did you experience when you first started citalopram? I have a feeling that'll be the pill my doc puts me on. She suggested it after I was worse on Prozac but I was put off of meds at that point though.

Good luck with sertaline. A friend of mine was on that for depression. Didn't know it was for anxiety as well. In fact before I started suffering from anxiety, I didn't know anti-depressants were used in anxiety treatment.

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Some of the feelings were hard to describe, but i definitely felt strange. Kind of like an out of body experience. I also had heart palpitations and I felt drowsy. To be honest, these meds make me feel drowsy quite a lot of the time. I see that as being better than constant nausea and panic attacks. I felt a little shaky as well. It sounds awful to read that, but not everybody suffers from the side effects. Even if you do, they will pass over a couple weeks. Citalopram does seem like one that a lot of doctors start with. If it doesn't work for you, you can try another one.

Thank you. It does help with both. I think it does tend to be given to people that are suffering with depression, but it can also be used to treat anxiety. I suffer with both, so hopefully it can help to reduce them.

Good luck with your meds. Just remember that if you get any side effects at the beginning, they will pass. It'll be worth it in the end.
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