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How to Calm an Anxiety Attack

How to Calm an Anxiety Attack

Anxiety attacks can be frightening. Some people who experience an anxiety attack even worry that they are having a medical crisis and seek treatment at an emergency room. Despite how severe the symptoms might feel, anxiety attacks are not dangerous and will not hurt you. If you know some tips and techniques to calm an anxiety attack, you can usually calm yourself at home. In order to react effectively, it can be helpful to learn the signs of an anxiety attack. In some cases, seeking help from an anxiety treatment program can be beneficial. In any case, knowing some ways to calm an anxiety attack can be a useful tool for those who experience them.

What Is an Anxiety Attack?

Anxiety attacks, also sometimes called panic attacks, are episodes of sudden and intense anxiety. They can happen to anyone, sometimes as the result of an anxiety-triggering situation and other times seemingly without a reason. Some of the symptoms of anxiety attacks are:

  • Confusion or feeling disoriented
  • Heart racing and rapid breathing
  • An intense feeling of fear or panic
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling as if something terrible is about to happen, such as dying or having a heart attack

Tips and Techniques to Help Calm an Anxiety Attack

Most anxiety attacks do not need emergency treatment. In fact, treating the incident as if it were an emergency may only make the attack intensify or last longer. The best thing to do if you or someone you care about is experiencing an anxiety attack is to calmly go about normal activities as much as possible. Some tips and techniques to help calm an anxiety attack are:

  • Breathing exercises – Breathing calmly and slowly, in through the nose and out through the mouth, is an excellent way to help bring down the energy of an anxiety attack. In fact, some studies suggest that daily calm/mindful breathing practices can even prevent anxiety attacks from happening.
  • Have a script ready to use if an anxiety attack happens – It can be challenging to focus and think clearly during an anxiety attack, so come up with some phrases you can repeat in case one occurs. For example, “I know this feels bad, but nothing dangerous is happening. I can handle this feeling, and soon it will pass.”
  • 5-4-3-2-1 technique – This technique helps you reconnect with your body and its senses. In order to reorient yourself to your surroundings, look for the following:
    • 5 things you can see
    • 4 things you can feel
    • 3 things you can hear
    • 2 things you can smell
    • 1 thing you can taste.
  • Instead of looking for something to distract yourself, try to continue doing what you were doing before, if possible. It is important to note that anxiety can get more intense if you keep giving it attention.

How to Know if You Need Help for Anxiety Attacks

An anxiety attack can be a standalone experience; a single occurrence in a person’s lifetime doesn’t necessarily mean that person will have another. However, if you or someone you know experiences them regularly, or if they become so intense that they require intervention, it might be wise to seek help from an anxiety treatment program.

Greater Boston Recovery Centers Can Help with Anxiety Attacks

At our treatment centers, we offer a variety of programming designed to help clients heal from anxiety and panic attacks. Our staff of highly trained clinicians has the knowledge and understanding to help you or your loved one regain control and recover from anxiety disorders. If you or someone you love has been struggling with panic attacks or anxiety, reach out to us today at 877.920.6583 or contact us online.

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