Panic Attacks

Conservatively, more than one in ten people experience at least one panic attack during their lifetime. Some researchers estimate that about 35% of the general population has a panic attack in the course of a year.

What Can You Do If You Experience A Panic Attack?

  • Don't be frightened; a panic attack cannot harm you.
  • Flow with, rather than fight, the experience. The attack will pass sooner.
  • Tell yourself, "I will not die," "I will not lose control," "I will not faint," "I am not going crazy," "I can breathe," "This will pass." Repeat.
  • Breathe deeply in through your nose, hold it, and forcefully exhale through your mouth (like you are blowing out candles).
  • Be cognizant of muscle tension. Relax your shoulders first, next progressively tense and hold, then relax each of your major muscle groups one by one, working downwards. Re-evaluate and notice where you are still tense; rework those areas.
  • Write down everything you can remember about the attack after it passes. It will help you and your therapist understand the circumstances in which your attacks occur.
  • Watch out for those frightening trigger thoughts. You have a better chance of winning the lottery than having a plane fall from the sky onto your patrol car.
  • Call a hotline: 800-64-PANIC.

By the way, Tony received effective treatment, and will be testing soon for a promotion. He has learned to make physical and mental health a priority in his life. Tony was able to talk to others about his panic attacks, and is now on the department's peer support team.

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