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Offlineenotake2
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Tips for dealing with panic attacks & -ve thoughts strategy
    #1347494 - 03/02/03 07:28 PM (14 years, 2 months ago)

Thought I would make a post about panic and negative thoughts from some useful information that I have gained while doing my psychologist internship.

What is it: a sudden heightening of physiological arousal that occurs out of the blue or in response to a phobic situation. Physical symptoms include rapid heartbeat, dizziness, blurred vision, numbness, muscle tension, sweating, shaking, feelings of breathlessness and choking.

Panic is caused by a rush of adrenalin that activates the autonomic nervous system. People with panic become frightened of their physical sensations. External sources of danger are usually absent so the person looks inwards for the cause and invents a danger - "I am dieing, losing control, etc." Since this is frightening, it is understandable that fear and panic result, producing more symptoms, more fear, and a cycle.

Panic may be caused by stress or overbreathing. In the case of panic which is not an isolated incident, the physical symptoms may become associated with the trauma of panic, so you can become highly sensitive to the sensations as conditioned signals of threat or danger, and react fearfully simply because of past panic experiences.

Dealing with panic

Deflate the danger

* A panic attack cannot cause a heart failure: Your heart can beat at 200 bpm for days without causing heart failure. Any pain in your chest is transient in a panic attack, as compared with a crushing prolonged pain that occurs with heart attack.

* A panic attack will not cause you to stop breathing or suffocate: Chest and neck muscles tighten with panic, however, the tightening sensations will pass. Your brain has a built in reflex mechanism that will eventually force you to breathe if you are not getting enough oxygen.

* A panic attack cannot cause you to faint. You may feel faint during a panic attack because blood circulation to your brain is slightly reduced. Slow breathing from the abdomen will reduce this.

* A panic attack cannot cause you to lose your balance. Tension can affect the semicircular canal system in your ear which regulates balance. Though this effect is only weak and is very unlikely to make you lose your balance.

* You won't fall over or cease to walk when you feel "weak in the knees" during a panic attack. Adrenaline can dilate the blood vessels in your legs producing a sensation of "jelly legs". It is just a sensation however - your legs are strong and able to carry you as ever.

* You can't go crazy during a panic attack. Disorientation and the sense of unreality that occurs with panic is due to a slight and temporary reduction of arterial circulation to your brain and does not have anything to do with 'going crazy'. No one has ever gone crazy from a panic attack. People do not go crazy in a sudden or spontaneous way, as mental disorders develop gradually.

* A panic attack cannot cause you to lose control of yourself. You can imagine that you will 'completely lose it' during a panic attack. But there are no instances of eg. running amok or becoming paralysed that have been reported. If anything, you are more heightened to escape.


Don?t fight the symptoms. This is a way of telling yourself you can't handle the panic attack and is likely to make your anxiety worse. Just let go and observe your body?s state of physiological arousal.

Float with the wave of a panic attack. You have just had an adrenalin rush. The adrenalin takes 3-5 minutes to reabsorb. You have to give it time to dissipate. Flow with the rise and fall in arousal.

Coping statements

Use positive statements to help you get through the panic attack eg:

"I've survived this before, I will survive this time, too"

"I'll just let my body do its thing. This will pass"

"This anxiety won't hurt me even if it doesn't feel good"

"So what"

Other strategies

Retreat. Leave the situation you are in. In most cases you can find a way to leave. Come back again when the panic has decreased or gone.

Talk to another person. This will take your mind off your panic.

Move around or engage in physical activity. This will dissipate the extra energy or adrenalin you have from the panic.

Stay in the present and focus on external objects. Distract yourself by eg. counting things, feeling things, singing.

Do an activity - write, play a game or an instrument, read something, whatever.

From
The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Edmund Bourne
Mastery of your Anxiety and Panic by David Barlow and Michelle Craske


Strategy for dealing with negative thoughts

This strategy is useful for depression or when you are just feeling down.

Writing on a bit of paper -

i) identify the negative thought
eg. "I'll never get a bluddy job"
ii) identify more explicitly, the situation that lead to the thought, the thought and the feeling that followed.
eg. I went for my 6th job interview in 2 months and was rejected AGAIN. I thought "I'll never get a bluddy job" and felt worthless.
iii) Challenge the thought by arguing the situation is not necessarily personal, pervasive or permanent.
eg - personal. Its hard to get a job after just graduating from university. Most people have some difficulty because of lack of work experience. Some jobs have already been filled by people in the organisation and advertising is just a formality.
- pervasive. I've been offered many jobs in the past.
- permanent. My interview skills improve every time I go for an interview. I am doing some volunteer work which with time will much improve my chances for getting a job. I have some work experience which should give me an advantage over other applicants when the right job comes up.
iv) put off thinking about the negative situation. eg. I can think about this situation for 20 minutes at 9-00 this evening.
v) distract yourself with other activities.

Sometimes the negative mood associated with the thoughts doesn't go away straight away but pretty much guaranteed it will in a few hours. If it hasn't there may be other negative thoughts associated with the situation that you may need to also challenge.
For this to work you need to accept that you have thousands of experiences in your life, and often we think in absolute terms when there are probably many examples of situations which provide evidence that things aren't as bad as we might otherwise think.

From Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman.


--------------------
Computer games don't affect kids. I mean if Pacman affected our generation as kids, we'd all be running around in a darkened room, munching pills and listening to repetitive electronic music.

"Being bitter and hateful is like drinking a vial of poison and hoping the other person gets sick" FreakQLibrium

"My motto from here on out is: If someone or something (including me) in my life is conducting themselves in such a way that they can be seen on Jerry Springer, it's time to take out the garbage!!! When you stop taking their behaviour personally and see their antics as a true reflection on their character, it becomes absolutely nauseating." Anon. on abusive relationships.


Edited by enotake2 (03/03/03 06:31 PM)


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OfflineMeph
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Re: Tips for dealing with panic attacks & -ve thoughts strat [Re: enotake2]
    #1347521 - 03/02/03 07:44 PM (14 years, 2 months ago)

Good read. Thanks!

5 shrooms to you  :smirk:


--------------------
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Anonymous #1

Re: Tips for dealing with panic attacks & -ve thoughts strategy [Re: enotake2]
    #1348043 - 03/03/03 05:28 AM (14 years, 2 months ago)

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OfflineDemon
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Re: Tips for dealing with panic attacks & -ve thoughts strategy [Re: enotake2]
    #1348332 - 03/03/03 07:40 AM (14 years, 2 months ago)

I havn't had panic attacks, per se, but I've had panicky nervous breakdowns. For instance, when my dad lost his job last year.


--------------------
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Offlineenotake2
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Re: Tips for dealing with panic attacks & -ve thoughts strategy [Re: Demon]
    #1348627 - 03/03/03 08:24 PM (14 years, 2 months ago)

You had a nervous breakdown when your dad lost his job!?

No problem Mr Mushrooms


--------------------
Computer games don't affect kids. I mean if Pacman affected our generation as kids, we'd all be running around in a darkened room, munching pills and listening to repetitive electronic music.

"Being bitter and hateful is like drinking a vial of poison and hoping the other person gets sick" FreakQLibrium

"My motto from here on out is: If someone or something (including me) in my life is conducting themselves in such a way that they can be seen on Jerry Springer, it's time to take out the garbage!!! When you stop taking their behaviour personally and see their antics as a true reflection on their character, it becomes absolutely nauseating." Anon. on abusive relationships.


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Offlinejuicemonkey
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Re: Tips for dealing with panic attacks & -ve thoughts strategy [Re: enotake2]
    #1350456 - 03/04/03 05:23 PM (14 years, 2 months ago)

Good post.  Although, I do not agree with everything.

Mainly, the heart comment.

It IS dangerous for your heart to beat anywhere over 170 bpm or so, for more then a few minutes.  I have heard this from a doctor, and many other people.  And from my own experience.  When my heart has gone up to 200 bpm..after a few minutes....the pains in my chest are VERY real.  When my heart is going 200, it will never do that for more then 10 minutes though.  And the pains aren't all in my head.  The pains are very real...and not healthy by any means.  But it can sit at 170 or so for a good half hour...which is not safe either.

This may have been said....but something else that can slow the heart down is the "cold dive" technique.  Like other mammals, when they dive into cold water...their heart slows right down.  By dunking your head into a bunch of cold water...this can trigger that mechanism in your brain....and slow your heart down



I've made myself suffer through the WORST panic attacks, on drugs....mainly on pot.  And even though I've really had the "shit kicked out of me" by these attacks...I keep doing them under the influence of drugs.  I do have anxiety when sober and stuff.......but since I've done that to myself...handling it when i'm sober is a peice of cake. I don't really think about it that much.  who says drugs don't help :wink: lol j/j


I mainly only get the feeling of not breathing and such....and extremely rapid heart breathing.  It's kind of funny though......I use all those techniques you wrote....and I've figured all of them out on my own....and I've been doing them.  I thought it was just "my thing".  lol kinda cool that I did that all for myself 


--------------------
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Offlineenotake2
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Re: Tips for dealing with panic attacks & -ve thoughts strategy [Re: juicemonkey]
    #1350833 - 03/04/03 08:44 PM (14 years, 2 months ago)

Hi. I was just summarising this document I have. It says "Your heart is made up of very strong and dense muscle fibres and can withstand a lot more than you might think. Accordinng to Claire Weekes, a healthy heart can beat 200 beats per minute for days - even weeks - without stustaining any damage." (Claire Weeks is a Doctor who is interested in panic). It does say a healthy heart. Maybe it is dangerous for an unhealthy heart (?). Though it is common with more intense physical exercise for the heart to reach 200bpm in younger people. This chapter doesn't say that people don't have pains in their chest with panic - just that they are different to the pains experienced in heart attack - they pass quickly are less intense and get better with exercise, rather than worse as during a heart attack.

That's pretty cool that you worked that stuff out for yourself.


--------------------
Computer games don't affect kids. I mean if Pacman affected our generation as kids, we'd all be running around in a darkened room, munching pills and listening to repetitive electronic music.

"Being bitter and hateful is like drinking a vial of poison and hoping the other person gets sick" FreakQLibrium

"My motto from here on out is: If someone or something (including me) in my life is conducting themselves in such a way that they can be seen on Jerry Springer, it's time to take out the garbage!!! When you stop taking their behaviour personally and see their antics as a true reflection on their character, it becomes absolutely nauseating." Anon. on abusive relationships.


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OfflineEarth_Droid
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Re: Tips for dealing with panic attacks & -ve thoughts strategy [Re: enotake2]
    #1350859 - 03/04/03 08:52 PM (14 years, 2 months ago)

I don't know the science behind the heart. I do know that if people have a lot of panick attacks, it isn't good for their health. Too much worry can cause a lot of health problems. I am willing to guess it is not good for your heart, since a panick attack doesn't last long, it probably isn't a big deal, but excessive anxiety or frequent panick attacks certainly can't be good.


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Offlineenotake2
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Re: Tips for dealing with panic attacks & -ve thoughts strategy [Re: Earth_Droid]
    #1351115 - 03/04/03 11:26 PM (14 years, 2 months ago)

Yeah too much anxiety is bad because adrenalin is corrosive. These points are just about the immediate effects of panic - negating the idea that you might be dying while having a panic attack.


--------------------
Computer games don't affect kids. I mean if Pacman affected our generation as kids, we'd all be running around in a darkened room, munching pills and listening to repetitive electronic music.

"Being bitter and hateful is like drinking a vial of poison and hoping the other person gets sick" FreakQLibrium

"My motto from here on out is: If someone or something (including me) in my life is conducting themselves in such a way that they can be seen on Jerry Springer, it's time to take out the garbage!!! When you stop taking their behaviour personally and see their antics as a true reflection on their character, it becomes absolutely nauseating." Anon. on abusive relationships.


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Offlinejuicemonkey
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Re: Tips for dealing with panic attacks & -ve thoughts strategy [Re: enotake2]
    #1351267 - 03/05/03 02:25 AM (14 years, 2 months ago)

The heart thing is the last thing I need to beat. And I was told 200 bpm IS dangerous....but after reading your post...I think that's damn cool. I'll remember that next time. thanks


--------------------
I saw my mind do warp 10, hit the brakes, put it in reverse and back all over me


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Offlinejarby
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Re: Tips for dealing with panic attacks & -ve thoughts strategy [Re: juicemonkey]
    #1358472 - 03/08/03 03:39 PM (14 years, 2 months ago)

Until about two weeks ago, I had no idea what an anxiety attack was. I was lying in my bed one saturday night, and was listening to the radio, and by about 6:30am I still hadn't fallen asleep. Then my breathing slowed down and all of a sudden it was like I was having trouble simply surviving. I got up and walked around the room and it got so bad. This was completely out of the ordinary, and so naturally I thought I was going to die. I woke up my mom and explained what was happening, and from this eventually ended up telling her I smoke weed, which ultimately I am glad has happened. We went to the hospital and it stopped. Had blood tests, urine etc. and they couldn't tell what was wrong. So I went home had a normal day, and then went to see the movie daredevil with a friend. About 3/4 through the movie I felt unable to sit stll and was having difficulty breathing again and a racing heart. It got so bad that I got out and walked around the theatre, and gradually over a minute, my entire body went numb. It was fucking scary. I could hardly walk. Anyway I spent about a whole week having these attacks (spent nights walking around in circles around a coffee table while watching TV as that prevented the attacks I found), and had chest x-rays (I thought that I was having difficulty breathing because I had lung cancer or something - just shows how insane you can get from these attacks), as well as wore a heart monitor for 2 days, and had an ultrasound, but turned out fine. At the end of the week I went to the doctor and he suggested I was having panic (anxiety) attacks. I didn't know what they were, but researched them on the internet and found out exactly what I was experiencing.

Let me tell you that the ultimate way of stopping/preventing these attacks is knowing about them. Since I've known what they are, I haven't had one since, and its been 2 weeks. I guess I always thought I was going to die all my life, and I constantly check my pulse. Kind of insane. But now I'm feeling better having had these tests and turning out fine.


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Anonymous #1

Re: Tips for dealing with panic attacks & -ve thoughts strategy [Re: jarby]
    #1359214 - 03/09/03 12:00 AM (14 years, 2 months ago)

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Re: Tips for dealing with panic attacks & -ve thoughts strategy [Re: ]
    #1359389 - 03/09/03 02:47 AM (14 years, 2 months ago)

wow...i hadn't realized that i was going through panic attacks...i have the same exact symptoms and just normally i told myself that everything will be alright and they've gone...but i was suffering from these about 2 months ago, oddly enough when i was going through the most amount of stress i've ever been trhough in my life...


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Offlinejarby
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Re: Tips for dealing with panic attacks & -ve thoughts strategy [Re: boO]
    #1359470 - 03/09/03 04:28 AM (14 years, 2 months ago)

So, you just experienced them and didn't tell anyone? Didn't you feel like you were going to die? I can tell you I thought during my first one that I was spending the last few minutes I had on earth and that eventually my heart wouldl stop. Its horrifying.

Also, I discovered a goof way to releive yourself while you have panic attacks: get up and walk around. That's why I spent nights walking in circles. I was fighting them off. Also, if you have a dog, walk it.


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OfflineRoKiSdEaD
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Re: Tips for dealing with panic attacks & -ve thoughts strat [Re: ]
    #1360941 - 03/09/03 05:59 PM (14 years, 2 months ago)

I only have panic attacks when I am on drugs, but I have an anxiety disorder all of the time. I didnt know what I had till I started reading here on the shroomery and figured out that not everyone thinks the way II do, and worriesd about thing INSANELY.

The thing that I have realized here recently, even though I knew it was just a panic attack, I was still afraid that I would have a panic attack so bad that I would die. Because soemtimes I just can't control my thinking when Im messed up, and it gets worse and worse. Anyway, I know that didnt make much sense. heh. But the point of the story is, when Im messed up on something and having a panic attack: If things get really bad, im going to pass out before I die, right? While Im passed out, my brain will cease these insane "im dieing" thoughts, and I will start breathing normally and everything will be back to normal.

I never thought about htis before the other night, then I relaized it. THis helped me, if anyone can make any sense out of it, I hope it helpes you also :smile:


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Re: Tips for dealing with panic attacks & -ve thoughts strategy [Re: jarby]
    #1361615 - 03/10/03 01:14 AM (14 years, 2 months ago)

i've told my fiancee but he blames it on my health...there's something i do need to do...and that's to voice out what i feel physically more often. right now i'm going through health problems as in since i was 17 i had symptoms of something and i've ignored it for the past 5 years that now there might be something wrong with my kidneys :frown:


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Re: Tips for dealing with panic attacks & -ve thoughts strategy [Re: boO]
    #1361930 - 03/10/03 06:07 AM (14 years, 2 months ago)

Get it checked out by a doctor. You'll feel so much better after he tells you that it is probably nothing.


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OfflineSparklehorse
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Re: Tips for dealing with panic attacks & -ve thoughts strategy [Re: jarby]
    #1378193 - 03/15/03 12:58 PM (14 years, 2 months ago)

I've found with panic attacks, that even if you know everything there is to do with panic attacks, that when the panic hits, you still think "all the last times I had panic attacks were nothing compared to this, I'm going to die this time for sure."
There seems to be a point during you panic that you lose the ability to rationalise. I often find it too hard to tell myself "it's okay, you're not having a heart attack." The best way for me is to do something physical, such as muscle relaxation, or playing a musical instrument. Taking my mind off the panic attack rather than dwelling on it is the way I best deal with it.
Interestingly, I can visualise music much better during a panic attack than I do when I am "normal", so it's not all bad :laugh:


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InvisibleAlien
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Post deleted by Administrator [Re: enotake2]
    #1380086 - 03/16/03 07:56 AM (14 years, 2 months ago)



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Offlinejarby
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Re: Tips for dealing with panic attacks & -ve thoughts strategy [Re: Alien]
    #1381301 - 03/16/03 02:39 PM (14 years, 2 months ago)

I get them often at night when I'm trying to sleep. Often I'll just think "I'll just check to make sure my heart is beating properly..." (paranoia I seem to have), then I feel my chest, and don't instantly feel the heart beat, and think my heart's stopped, so all of a sudden I'll find it and its racing like mad 'cause I'm so scared. In the past that would lead to panic attacks, but now I've better controlled them and found that walking around and playing gameboy calm me down.

And I agree with Sparklehorse... you do tend to wind yourself up a bit over them, and make them worse.


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