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Overreacting to Panic Attacks

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I have such a low tolerance for anxiety and panic. Last night I had a 2 1/2 hour panic attack and I was creeping towards the edge. I couldn't take a deep breath, my chest hurt, I was just freaking out. I haven't found any good skills to help me during a panic attack, but I want to steer cleaer of the hospital, which sounds good in theory but last night I felt incredibly depressed and was going to take a bunch of extra pills to try to sleep and make it go away.

What do you do when your panic attacks affect you so strongly? Anyone?

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I take Ambien all most all the time to sleep so that part is similar but I've gotten all revved up right before bed and took Ambien with Valium *Which is not (I'm told) a good idea. Both have similar actions and taking both is like doubling your dose (Or whatever)

I've got a really great 2 page thing on dealing with Anxiety without drugs which I've managed to loose. I got it at my last TDoc visit and I remember thinking how great this was. Now, I'm looking high and low and its really starting to bug me as to where I left it. I don't really want the kids to pick it up and start quizzing me on my mental health issues.

One of the older suggestions was to count to 100 by 3's (or 7's whatever) to redirect your attention. Another idea was to start thinking about exactly what you were doing. To the level of "I am typing on the computer" I'm walking into the bedroom. I'm cleaning off the table. I'm looking out a window. The idea again is to put yourself HARD into the current world.

I hope that helps you - It has helped me.

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I found that finding someone to talk to me about THEIR life and goings-on helps me get out of my own head and calm down. I have one friend who understands that. My other friends try to "talk me down" which doesn't help at all. The point is I want to STOP focusing on me, not have me and someone else focusing on me.

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I found that finding someone to talk to me about THEIR life and goings-on helps me get out of my own head and calm down. I have one friend who understands that. My other friends try to "talk me down" which doesn't help at all. The point is I want to STOP focusing on me, not have me and someone else focusing on me.

I, too, suffer from anxiety and agree with this.

Distraction really is the best form of medication, ive had anxiety issues for years but was never lucky enough to get a prescription for Valium or Xanax (as its "too addictive") but suffer from gallstones as well so used to occasionally abuse my dihydrocodiene pills until I discovered I could get diazepam via the web.

That was before moving countries a week ago, since then im currently on a low dose of Clonazepam ( 0.5 mg twice daily) to weed me off the diaz, but found keeping busy, seeing friends, and talking to family is really helping the most, along with yoga (any form of exercise is good as it tires you out and also releases endorphins to make you happy, I found yoga also really calming) and acupunture.

Surprisingly, the acupunture calmed me down much more than pill popping but understand this is controversial so everyone might not agree.

May I ask what "extra pills" you were considering taking?

In any case, I would advise seeing friends and keeping active, or doing something creative, even reading a book can be the best form of medication :)

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What do you do when your panic attacks affect you so strongly? Anyone?

Fill a basin with icy cold water, hold my breath, and plunge my face and head into it. Sometimes once is enough, sometimes it takes three or four tries. The face-in-cold-water triggers the mammalian dive reflex, bringing about lowered heart rate and effectively breaking the anxiety cycle.

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What do you do when your panic attacks affect you so strongly? Anyone?

I have found there is a profound difference in my anxiety attacks and my panic attacks. Anxiety attacks build up for me over a definite period of time - maybe an hour, maybe days - and I can directly relate those to a specific subject I am upset about. Those are far more easy for me to deal with. Talking to someone almost always helps. As another member mentioned, it helps to talk about other stuff. Particularly things that are going on in THEIR lives so that I come out of my own head a bit and as a bonus I am reminded that I am not alone in having problems.

My panic attacks are an entirely different animal. They sneak up and most often happen when I am calm and doing something fairly stress-free. In fact, when I first started having them, they only happened as I was falling asleep. So I would drift off only to be shocked awake with chest pain and that horrid certainty that I was dying. I have to take xanax for those. I practice self-talk and remind myself that I am not dying, that I will be ok but honestly, it is the meds that make them stop.

I wish I had more advice for you! I know how terrible it can be. Being on here and talking about it is an awesome step in the right direction and I know we are all happy you did not take any extra pills. :)

Edited by horkusbear

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Sometimes when I have a particularly bad anxiety or panic attack I have an ice cold bath after taking 0.5mg of Xanax. I stay in the bath until the Xanax kicks in.

Sometimes I don't take the Xanax, I just sit in the bath. When I lived with my parents I would jump into the pool fully clothed and submerge myself for a bit.

Some other suggestions, from WinterRosie, are to freeze a grapefruit and roll it over your body. Or freeze a towel and wrap yourself in it. I find the cold helps a lot.

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What do you do when your panic attacks affect you so strongly? Anyone?

I grab a notebook, pick a subject (Music, Movies, TV shows, names etc...) and make an ABC list.

EX: Movies

A. Airbender

B. Butterfly Effect

Etc...

This helps me focus on something else entirely, especially when you get to the harder letters (U, X, Y, Z)

Edited by fallinguphill

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Ohh... falling... I haven't seen that trick before. I like it.

There's also the name 5 things you see, 5 things you hear, 5 things you sense with your skin, 5 things you smell...

4 things you see, 4 things you hear, 4 things you sense with your skin, 4 things you smell...

3 things you see, 3 things you hear, 3 things you sense with your skin, 3 things you smell...

2 things you see, 2 things you hear, 2 things you sense with your skin, 2 things you smell...

1 thing you see, 1 thing you hear, 1 thing you sense with your skin, 1 thing you smell...

The trick with this is to be deliberate as well as detailed. So instead of saying "I see the floor," really look and see if you can see the texture of the floor or the way the light bounces off it in a particular place. Can you feel your feet contacting your shoes, or where your hip bones contact whatever you are sitting on? Or the air moving across your eyes?

Also seconding the dive reflex, as well as adding intense exercise. Both of those things change your physiology.

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