Panic attacks. How to deal with an attack of fear?

Probably everyone has experienced panic attacks at least once in their life, when they are covered by an inexplicable and excruciating feeling of fear and anxiety. That being said, few people know how to deal with a panic attack and why it occurs. 

In this article, we’ll talk about what panic attacks are and how to treat them. Find out the causes and symptoms of panic attacks. Will we tell you what to do in case of a panic attack if it suddenly overtook it? 


Panic attacks are more than just a sudden deterioration in mood. A panic attack is a period during which a person is seized by intense terror, anxiety and fear for their life for no apparent reason. He lacks control over his feelings, thoughts and body. This unpleasant experience of helplessness is accompanied by various physical symptoms. They intensify and reach a maximum after 10 minutes. Most panic attacks last at least 10 minutes, but rarely more than an hour.


The exact causes of panic attacks, unfortunately, have not yet been clarified. However, scientists agree that this is a complex of biological, psychological and social factors that affect a person.
Panic attacks usually occur after a series of severe stressors. 

Biological factors

If your family has a tendency to be nervous about every issue and without it, then you are more likely to inherit this trait. There is no single gene that predisposes to anxiety. Instead, this condition is a consequence of the inheritance of a whole set of genes. In addition, these genes will influence the development of anxiety when you experience a range of psychological, environmental, and social factors.
Panic attacks often occur, the causes of which lie in the current state of health: 

  • Consuming excessive amounts of drugs or drugs;
  • Problems due to excessive smoking and alcohol consumption;
  • Inner ear problems leading to balance problems;
  • Hyperthyroidism;
  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar);
  • A postponed heart attack or a dangerous illness that threatened death in the past.

Psychological factors According to this factor, the syndrome of panic attack is formed in childhood by parents, who lay in them to see fear in any unknown situation and the inability to control it. It is the feeling of lack of control that is most conducive to panic disorder. 

Social factors The need to excel at work or school can also contribute to the development of panic attack syndrome. Various life circumstances, such as exams, divorce or death of a loved one, problems in personal life, moving, act as severe stressors that can cause headaches and anxiety.  


  • Heart palpitations;
  • Chest pain, especially in the solar plexus;
  • Labored breathing;
  • Weakness;
  • Light-headedness;
  • Nausea;
  • Disorientation;
  • Tremors in the body;
  • Cold sweat;
  • Dizziness;
  • Fear of death or insanity.

The symptoms of a panic attack are not harmful to the body, but they can cause intense feelings of fear.
An attack of panic is accompanied by an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, and this, in turn, physiologically will not allow you to lose consciousness. Fainting, in fact, occurs only when these indicators fall. Therefore, a light-headed state in this situation does not threaten with loss of consciousness. 

Panic attack: what happens in the body?

The cause of panic attacks is the activation of the survival system in the human body (and all animals), inherited from our ancient ancestors. This complex system prepares the body for a stressful situation: fight, escape or freezing. During its activation, hormones (especially adrenaline) are rapidly produced, creating a state of heightened alertness and readiness. Sweat is used to cool the body, speed up the heart rate to rush blood to the muscles and prepare for injury, faster breathing prepares for physical exertion, contraction of the pupils improves vision, etc. In extreme cases, the brain also reacts, and the person experiences a kind of detachment from himself and the reality experienced at that moment. All these symptoms are paralyzing.  

This system effectively prepares the body for the danger of the surrounding world, however, during a panic attack, it is activated without a real threat. Sometimes the nature of the symptoms can make a person think they are having a heart attack.
Remember that a panic attack is usually not a one-off attack. People who suffer from anxiety can experience recurrent bouts of anxiety of varying intensity. This can happen once a week or once a month. The feeling of anxiety is constantly accompanied by anxiety attacks, arising from the accumulation of stress factors. 

How to deal with panic attack on your own?

Anxiety attacks negatively affect the quality of life, it is more difficult to carry out daily tasks. If this condition lasts for a long time, it can lead to depression and suicidal thoughts. 

  • Exploring Panic Attacks. Knowing the causes of your fear can lead to fewer symptoms and an increased sense of control. By writing down your thoughts during a seizure, you will learn that the feelings you are experiencing are normal and not insane. 

The key to calming a panic attack is to learn more about the causes of your panic attacks and practice the skills you need to overcome them.

  • Avoid caffeine and smoking. In sensitive individuals, nicotine and caffeine can trigger anxiety attacks. 
  • Learn to control your breathing. Deep breathing can reduce impending attack symptoms. 
  • Relaxation techniques. Yoga and meditation stimulate the body’s response to relaxation, the opposite of panic and anxiety.
  • Ask your family for support and help.
  • Listen to your favorite music or watch a movie.
  • Go in for sports. Physical activity reduces stress levels, improves mood and self-confidence.
  • Find thematic forums. Make sure you are not alone with this problem and ask how others deal with it. 

A panic attack at night is as possible as it is during the day. A nocturnal attack is usually stronger than a daytime attack. The person wakes up with increased sweating, palpitations, confusion and intense fear. 

Since it is quite difficult to cure panic attacks on your own, it is best to seek psychological help from a specialist.

Panic attacks: treatment. How to Get Rid of Panic Attacks?

The treatment of panic attacks should be entrusted to a neurologist, psychologist and psychotherapist. Unfortunately, there is no universal cure for panic attacks. The therapy is based on a complex combination of psychocorrectional methods and drugs for panic attacks.

So, along with working with a psychologist, drugs are prescribed for panic attacks:

  • Sedatives: Persen , Novo- Passit , valerian extract, Relaxil ;
  • Antidepressants;
  • Anxolytic drugs;
  • Tranquilizers;
  • Antipsychotics;
  • Nootropic drugs: Glycine.

Medications can relieve anxiety attacks in a few minutes, but are suitable for continuous use. All of these drugs are sold strictly by prescription, and their use must be supervised by a doctor.

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