Panic Attacks and How to Tame Them

It happened to me

I was standing in line waiting for my lunch on a beautiful Friday, when it hit me. Out of nowhere my heart started racing, my breathing shallowed, I felt dizzy and nauseous. I thought, what in the world is happening to me? Is my blood sugar low? I grabbed my lunch and walked back to my office. I went for a cookie first thinking if it was my blood sugar that would solve the problem. It wasn’t helping. I still felt fluttering in my chest, lightheaded and nauseous. I grabbed a Ginger Ale hoping it would calm the storm in my stomach. I sipped Ginger Ale and ate my lunch on the floor of my office. Trying to take deep breaths between bites. Am I having a panic attack? Can a panic attack make you feel nauseous?

What are panic attacks?

According to the Mayo Clinic, a panic attack is an incident of intense fear that causes severe physical reactions when there isn’t a real danger or obvious cause. Panic attacks happen suddenly and can be nerve racking. When panic attacks occur you might think you are having a heart attack. Most people have just one or two panic attacks in their lifetime and they go away when the problem or stressful situation ends. People who have frequent, unexpected panic attacks and live in constant fear of another attack may have a condition called panic disorder.

Symptoms of panic attacks

Panic attacks being without warning. They can happen at any time, even while you are sound asleep. Panic attacks are different for different people, but symptoms usually peak within minutes. Panic attacks typically include some of these symptoms: sense of impending doom or danger, fear of loss of control, rapid heart rate, sweating or chills, shortness of breath, nausea, abdominal cramping, chest pain, headache, dizziness or faintness, numbness, and feelings of detachment. You may feel fatigued and worn out after the panic attack subsides. One of the worst things about panic attacks is the intense fear that you’ll have another one. You may fear having them so much that you avoid situations where they may occur.

What to do during the attack

When a panic attack strikes there are multiple things you can do to subside the effects of the attack. Deep breathing with closed eyes can calm down your senses. Visualizing a vacation or memories of the past will get your mind on happier times. Light exercise or taking a walk can divert the mind and boost your mood. Talking to a friend or family member can reduce the feeling of isolation. Massaging your scalp can relive muscle tension. Eating a healthy diet and getting enough sleep will help keep your stress levels under control. Be sure to give yourself proper time to rebound from a panic attack. They can last anywhere from 5-60 minutes.

Sitting on the floor, eyes shut, laptop closed, and breathing deeply through my nose is what really helped me get through my panic attack. I tried to get back to work after 10 minutes, and the symptoms came right back. It took about 40 minutes for me to feel back to normal and ready for work again.

When to see a doctor

If you have frequent panic attacks, make an appointment with your doctor. Panic attack symptoms are similar symptoms of other serious health problems, such as a heart attack, so it’s important to talk to your doctor.

So when panic attacks threaten to sideline your day, remember to stay calm, breathe, and think happy thoughts.

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At Office Evolution Cedar Rapids, we provide virtual office, coworking, and private office solutions at our shared office center. We offer meeting rooms, offices for rent, hot desking in a shared workspace coworking lounge, a shared reception, a business address, and virtual receptionist services. We have many options and price points, and all terms are flexible. Plus, you become part of a community of like-minded professionals.

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