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What should you do if you have a panic attack?

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Panic attacks are episodes of extreme fear often happen without warning. If it happens to you, try to take control of your breathing first. Find a place where you can sit or be comfortable. Concentrate on making your breath slow and even. Try to inhale through your nose for 4 seconds, hold it for 2 seconds, then exhale through your mouth for 6 seconds. Tell yourself that you’re not in danger and that the attack will pass.

If you’re not sure if you’re having a panic attack, it’s a good idea to go to the hospital to rule out any other health problems.

Panic disorder is one of the most treatable types of anxiety disorders. Medication and a type of talk therapy called cognitive behavioral therapy can help. See your doctor if you have panic attacks often.

SOURCES:

Harvard Health Publications: “Understanding the Stress Response.”

Robertson, D. , Elsevier Academic Press, 2004. Primer on the Autonomic Nervous System, Second Edition

The BMJ : “Panic Disorder.”

Biological Psychiatry : “Do Unexpected Panic Attacks Occur Spontaneously?” “Functional t1ρ Imaging in Panic Disorder.”

Psychological Medicine : “Distinct Phasic and Sustained Brain Responses and Connectivity of Amygdala and Bed Nucleus of the Stria Terminalis During Threat Anticipation in Panic Disorder.”

The Journal of Neuroscience: “Reduced Serotonin Type 1A Receptor Binding in Panic Disorder.”

Mayo Clinic: “Panic Attacks and Panic Disorder.”

American Academy of Family Physicians: “Panic Disorder.”

Centre for Clinical Interventions (Government of Western Australia): “Panic Stations.”

National Institute of Mental Health: “Anxiety Disorders.”

Reviewed by Smitha Bhandari on June 15, 2017

SOURCES:

Harvard Health Publications: “Understanding the Stress Response.”

Robertson, D. , Elsevier Academic Press, 2004. Primer on the Autonomic Nervous System, Second Edition

The BMJ : “Panic Disorder.”

Biological Psychiatry : “Do Unexpected Panic Attacks Occur Spontaneously?” “Functional t1ρ Imaging in Panic Disorder.”

Psychological Medicine : “Distinct Phasic and Sustained Brain Responses and Connectivity of Amygdala and Bed Nucleus of the Stria Terminalis During Threat Anticipation in Panic Disorder.”

The Journal of Neuroscience: “Reduced Serotonin Type 1A Receptor Binding in Panic Disorder.”

Mayo Clinic: “Panic Attacks and Panic Disorder.”

American Academy of Family Physicians: “Panic Disorder.”

Centre for Clinical Interventions (Government of Western Australia): “Panic Stations.”

National Institute of Mental Health: “Anxiety Disorders.”

Reviewed by Smitha Bhandari on June 15, 2017

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