How To Cope With Panic Attacks – Insights From A Psychologist


A Psychologist is a professional with in-depth knowledge and expertise in understanding and managing mental health issues such as panic attacks.

In this blog post, you will gain valuable insights and practical tips from a psychologist on how to cope with panic attacks effectively.

Panic attacks can be overwhelming and distressing, but with the right strategies and techniques, you can learn to navigate through them and regain a sense of control.

Key Takeaways:

  • Recognize the Symptoms: Understanding the physical and emotional symptoms of panic attacks is the first step in coping with them effectively.
  • Breathing Techniques: Deep breathing exercises can help calm and regulate your body during a panic attack, promoting relaxation and reducing anxiety.
  • Grounding Techniques: Techniques like mindfulness, focusing on your senses, or repeating a calming phrase can help keep you grounded during a panic attack.
  • Seek Professional Help: If panic attacks are significantly impacting your life, it’s important to seek help from a mental health professional for therapy or medication.
  • Practice Self-Care: Engage in activities that promote relaxation, such as exercise, meditation, or hobbies, to manage stress and reduce the frequency of panic attacks.

Recognizing the Signs of a Panic Attack

Physical Symptoms

Little do we realize that our bodies often provide us with the first indications of an impending panic attack. These physical symptoms can include a racing heart, chest tightness, shortness of breath, dizziness, sweating, and trembling.

It is common for individuals experiencing a panic attack to feel as though they are having a heart attack due to the intensity of these physical sensations.

Emotional and Cognitive Indicators

An individual going through a panic attack may also exhibit emotional and cognitive indicators. These can manifest as overwhelming feelings of fear, impending doom, or a sense of losing control.

In addition, they may experience racing thoughts, confusion, difficulty concentrating, and a heightened sense of alertness. These emotional and cognitive symptoms can exacerbate the physical sensations, creating a cyclical pattern of escalating panic.

This combination of physical, emotional, and cognitive symptoms can be incredibly distressing and frightening for the individual experiencing a panic attack.

It is important for both individuals suffering from panic attacks and those around them to recognize these signs early on to provide appropriate support and intervention.

Immediate Responses: How to Handle a Panic Attack

There’s no denying that experiencing a panic attack can be overwhelming and frightening.

When faced with the intense symptoms of a panic attack, it’s crucial to have coping strategies in place to help you navigate through these challenging moments.

One effective way to manage and reduce the symptoms of a panic attack is through the practice of breathing techniques.

Breathing Techniques

One popular technique is known as diaphragmatic breathing, where you focus on taking slow, deep breaths from your diaphragm rather than shallow breaths from your chest.

This helps to regulate your breathing and can calm your body’s physiological response to stress.

Another technique is box breathing, where you inhale for a count of four, hold for four, exhale for four, and hold for four, repeating this pattern several times.

Grounding Exercises

Attack grounding exercises involve using your senses to connect with the present moment and bring your focus away from the overwhelming feelings of a panic attack.

One simple grounding technique is the 5-4-3-2-1 method, where you name five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste.

This exercise helps to anchor you in the present reality and can reduce the intensity of your panic symptoms.

Understanding the power of these grounding exercises can provide a sense of control and stability during a panic attack.

Practicing these techniques regularly, you can equip yourself with effective tools to manage and alleviate the distressing symptoms of panic attacks.

Long-Term Strategies

Lifestyle Factors That Influence Panic Attacks

All individuals experience panic attacks differently, and identifying triggers specific to your lifestyle can help manage and prevent panic attacks.

Factors such as stress, poor sleep habits, unhealthy eating patterns, and lack of exercise can contribute to the frequency and intensity of panic attacks.

Engaging in regular physical activity, practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation, maintaining a balanced diet, and ensuring an adequate amount of sleep are vital in regulating your body’s response to stress and anxiety.

  • Engage in regular physical activity
  • Practice relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation
  • Maintain a balanced diet
  • Ensure an adequate amount of sleep

Assume that making positive changes in these areas can have a significant impact on reducing the occurrence of panic attacks over time.

Therapy Options: CBT and Other Modalities

Other than lifestyle modifications, seeking professional help through therapy is a crucial component in the long-term management of panic attacks.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one of the most effective forms of therapy for individuals dealing with panic attacks. Through CBT, individuals can learn to identify and challenge negative thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to their panic attacks, ultimately replacing them with healthier coping strategies.

Additionally, other modalities such as exposure therapy, mindfulness-based therapies, and medication management under the guidance of a mental health professional can also be beneficial in treating panic attacks.

Understanding the various therapy options available and working with a therapist to tailor a treatment plan that suits your specific needs is crucial in addressing the root causes of panic attacks and developing effective coping mechanisms for long-term relief.

Tips for Building a Support System

Now, one crucial aspect of managing panic attacks is having a strong support system in place. This can make a significant difference in how you cope with and recover from these challenging moments. Here are some key strategies to help you build an effective support system:

Communicating Your Needs

With communicating your needs, it’s crucial to be open and honest with your loved ones about what you require during a panic attack.

Whether it’s reassurance, space, or specific actions that help you feel more secure, clear communication is key.

Letting your support system know how they can best assist you can lead to more effective support and understanding in your time of need.

Knowing that you have people who understand your needs and are willing to help can provide a sense of comfort and security during difficult moments.

Finding the Right Support Group

Assuming you are looking to expand your support system, finding the right support group can be incredibly beneficial.

Support groups offer a safe space to share experiences, learn coping strategies, and connect with others who truly understand what you are going through.

Your psychologist or mental health professional may be able to recommend local support groups that cater to individuals dealing with panic attacks.

Attending these groups can provide you with additional resources, strategies, and a sense of community that can be invaluable in your journey towards managing panic attacks effectively.

Prevention: Reducing the Risk of Future Panic Attacks

Stress Management Techniques

For individuals looking to reduce the risk of future panic attacks, stress management techniques can be invaluable.

Some effective methods include deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, meditation, and yoga. These techniques help lower overall stress levels, making it less likely for panic attacks to occur.

Importance of Routine and Predictability

While stress management techniques are crucial, establishing a routine and predictability in daily life can also significantly reduce the risk of panic attacks.

Predictability provides a sense of security and control, reducing the likelihood of triggering anxiety and panic symptoms.

Having a daily schedule and structure can help individuals feel more grounded and less prone to unexpected triggers.

Another benefit of routine and predictability is that it can regulate sleep patterns, which are crucial for overall mental health.

Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, individuals can improve their sleep quality, which plays a vital role in preventing panic attacks.

Medication and Alternative Treatments

When to Consider Medication

Some individuals dealing with severe panic attacks may benefit from medication.

If you are experiencing frequent panic attacks that significantly disrupt your daily life and are accompanied by other mental health issues such as depression, medication may be a suitable option.

It’s important to consult with a mental health professional who can assess your symptoms and recommend the most appropriate medication for your condition.

Exploring Holistic Approaches

Little is known about the long-term effects of medication on panic attacks, and some individuals may prefer to explore holistic approaches before considering medication.

Holistic treatments such as mindfulness meditation, yoga, acupuncture, and aromatherapy have shown promising results in reducing anxiety and panic symptoms for some individuals.

These approaches focus on treating the whole person – mind, body, and spirit – and can provide valuable tools for managing panic attacks without relying on medication.


Understanding the potential benefits and limitations of medication and alternative treatments for panic attacks is crucial in developing a comprehensive coping strategy.

Whether you choose medication, holistic approaches, or a combination of both, it’s necessary to work closely with a mental health professional to find the best approach for managing your panic attacks effectively.

Final Words

Taking this into account, it is important to remember that panic attacks can be overwhelming, but they are manageable.

Understanding the root causes and triggers of panic attacks, individuals can begin to take proactive steps towards managing their anxiety and fear.

It is crucial to seek support from a therapist or psychologist who can provide techniques and coping strategies tailored to each individual’s needs.

Be mindful of, you are not alone in this journey. With the right guidance and support, you can learn to cope with panic attacks and improve your overall mental well-being.

Be patient with yourself, practice self-care, and never hesitate to reach out for help when needed. You have the strength within you to overcome panic attacks and live a more fulfilling life.


Q: What is a panic attack?

A: A panic attack is a sudden episode of intense fear or anxiety that triggers severe physical and emotional reactions. It can be overwhelming and may feel like you are losing control.

Q: What are the common symptoms of a panic attack?

A: Common symptoms of a panic attack include rapid heartbeat, sweating, trembling, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, dizziness, and feeling detached from reality.

Q: How can I cope with panic attacks?

A: Coping with panic attacks involves deep breathing exercises, practicing mindfulness, challenging negative thoughts, seeking support from loved ones, and considering therapy or medication if needed.

Q: What should I do if I’m having a panic attack in public?

A: If you experience a panic attack in public, find a quiet and safe space, practice grounding techniques like focusing on your senses, take slow deep breaths, and remind yourself that the panic attack will pass.

Q: When should I seek professional help for my panic attacks?

A: It’s important to seek professional help for your panic attacks if they are frequent, intense, interfere with your daily life, or if you have other mental health concerns. A psychologist or psychiatrist can help you develop coping strategies and provide appropriate treatment.