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Can you Stop a Panic Attack? - Infographic

By Ellie B. Graphic Designer  Friday 26th February, 2016
Can you Stop a Panic Attack? - Infographic

Can you stop a panic attack?

Panic attacks are usually harmless but can be a terrifying and frightening ordeal. It is estimated that around 1 in 10 people in the UK are affected by a panic disorder at some point during their life, while 1 in 70 experience regular panic attacks triggered by stressful events. Since the start of the credit crunch and recession, the number of people diagnosed with anxiety disorders and panic attacks has risen dramatically in the UK from 3,754 in 2007 to 17,470 in 2011. Use this informative panic attack infographic to help you identify potential triggers and reduce their occurrence. 
 

Why are some people more anxious than others?

The causes of panic attacks are not yet fully understood. We do know that anxiety can be genetically passed from parent to child and that women are twice as likely to suffer from panic attacks as men. In certain cases, panic attacks may be caused by a previous stressful or traumatic experience. There is also a growing body of thought that panic attacks can be caused by a lack of serotonin and 5HTP in the brain. 5HTP is an amino acid that works by boosting the production of the feel-good hormone serotonin. Low levels of these can increase feelings of low mood or anxiety.
 

Common triggers of panic attacks

Panic attack triggers can also vary from person to person. When triggers are not easy to identify, panic attacks can occur out of the blue for no apparent reason. Triggers that are easier to identify include phobias, fears, stressful situations, accidents or financial worries. Panic attacks can also occur at night if the brain is alert and hypersensitive to small body changes during sleep.
 

What happens during a panic attack?

A panic attack typically lasts between 5 to 20 minutes, with symptoms peaking after 10 minutes. The first signs to appear are paralysing fear, heart palpitations and sweating, which may be accompanied by shaking or trembling, chest pains, shortness of breath, and nausea. It is not uncommon for people to also feel confused and disorientated, and they may fear losing control. Some sufferers have likened the symptoms of a panic attack to those of a heart attack.
 

How to prevent a heart attack

Try to identify your personal panic attack triggers, if possible, and take steps to reduce your exposure to them. However, if avoiding triggers simply isn’t practical, try to make your exposure to them more comfortable. For example, if large social gatherings often trigger an attack, take a friend to make you feel more at ease. You should also practice deep breathing techniques and exercise regularly to manage everyday anxiety and feel calmer.

Kick off each day with a nutritious breakfast and make sure you consume at least five portions of fruit and vegetables throughout the day to maintain a good mood. You should also limit your intake of sugary or fatty foods that cause blood sugar levels to quickly rise and fall, and stimulants such as coffee, alcohol, and cigarettes that increase the heart rate.

It’s also important to talk about your anxiety. Simply getting your worries off your chest can make the situation seem more manageable and help you to find a realistic solution. If you don’t feel comfortable speaking to your family and friends, try an online forum for people suffering from anxiety.
 

Supplements for panic attacks

5HTP: Heightened anxiety and panic attacks can be caused by a lack of serotonin in the brain. 5HTP is an amino acid that boosts serotonin production and may reduce the risk of a panic attack striking. Studies have found 5HTP supplements effective at relieving depression by 50% to 60%. Another study has found 5HTP supplements to be as effective of Prozac at relieving depression and anxiety, without any of the unwanted side effects.
 

Vitamin B Complex: A deficiency in any of the B vitamins can increase feelings of mental confusion and anxiety. Folic acid (B9) and B12 are crucial for healthy brain function and have been shown to reduce feelings of depression and anxiety. Pantothenic acid (B5) also plays an important role adrenal function and regulating stress. Take a complete Vitamin B Complex daily to ensure you receive the right balance of all eight B vitamins.
 

Magnesium: Magnesium is often referred to as a ‘calming’ mineral. It promotes a healthy nervous system and reduces feelings of anxiety, fear, nervousness, and irritability. There appears to be a link between magnesium deficiency and an increased risk of anxiety and panic disorders. 
 

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