It seems like this week in my office, I had to deal a lot with panic and people. Panic is not a bad thing, I always say it could be worse. It is important to remember it is JUST a panic attack, it will pass, and recognize what the trigger is that had it come on. Could it had been a thought? Maybe a smell, are you worried?
Your heart is racing and the pain in your chest reminds you of what it would feel like if your heart just blew out of your chest. You are lightheaded and dizzy; you’re sweating and you think you are going to vomit, and for the life of you, no matter how hard you try, you cannot catch your breath. Welcome to an anxiety attack.
Panic attacks seem to be on the rise. In fact, about 19-million Americans suffer from anxiety and panic disorders. With more and more people losing their jobs and growing financial worry, panic and anxiety have people running to their doctors to get fast relief. The problem is, the fastest relief for an anxiety attack cannot be found in a pharmacy or doctor’s office. The quickest way to relieve a panic attack is within your own power. It is called breathing.
What Is a Panic Attack?
Rapid shallow breathing causes hyperventilation and this happens when more carbon dioxide is exhaled than the body is able to manufacture. Symptoms include dizziness, tingling, tightness of the chest with rapid heartbeat, and the inability to think clearly. To top it off, we create a rapid downward spiral as panic spreads, and we start to breathe even quicker causing the symptoms to worsen even further.
For people dealing with panic, feelings of doom or fear can happen for no apparent reason; thus, making them feel scared, and on guard. Constant worries can make a person feel overwhelmed by every little thing. All this can affect someone’s concentration and breathing.
About 60-75 percent of panic attacks are accompanied by hyperventilation. While it feels as though you don’t have enough oxygen, the opposite is true. Hyperventilation is a symptom of too much oxygen. When a person hyperventilates, they do not give their body long enough to retain carbon dioxide, and so the body cannot use the oxygen. This causes people to feel as if they are short of air, when actually they have too much.
Anxiety Breath Work
1) Inhale for eight counts
2) Hold for one count
3) Exhale for eight counts
4) Hold for one count
5) Repeat, until you feel calmer
It is important to remember that panic attacks are not harmful in and of themselves, and do not lead to heart attacks, loss of control, mental illness, or death.(the medication for them can) However, they do impact the quality of life and can be very debilitating to those who suffer from them, severely limiting their activities and enjoyment of life.
This is Dr. Tyler Woods saying live easy breathe easy.