Panic attacks are found in the more extreme cases of social anxiety disorder. They are not just a state of extreme stress, they can feel like a heart attack or some life threatening condition when you feel them coming on. They are a total breakdown of control that gives you mind and our body over to the fears and phobias we have and escalate them to the point where some people can even find them selves hospitalised. What is worse is that the hospital staff will find no physical problem that caused chat with random people this and the more unkind ones will just tell you “it is all in your head”. Have you heard that one before? It is not most humiliating thing and makes social phobia sufferers feel like they are mad – or over reacting. This does nothing to help self esteem and knowledge of this condition and is not very good social anxiety disorder help!
If you have never experienced a panic attack but you do know you are extremely shy, or definitely have social anxiety disorder, then this post may still be important to you because SAnD without panic disorder can very easily acquire one. The more your condition goes untreated the more chance you might get into a situation where you do have a panic attack or get close to one. The fear of just having a panic attack is then added into the volatile mix of fear of social situations and humiliation to produce something far worse. Rather than just fearing social embarrassment you will also fear losing control which may edge you closer to a panic attack via catastrophic thinking.
Social Anxiety Disorder Help to End Panic Attacks
So what someone who is in fear of having a panic attack in social situations needs before anything further can be done to help their social anxiety disorder is to be able to stop and control the panic attacks. This is important for some pretty obvious reasons – to stop social anxiety panic attacks in their tracks – but also has some additional side effects that are incredibly beneficial.
Self Esteem Boost – Being able to stop yourself from losing control and descending into panic not only stops a bad situation from happening, it can make you feel that you are in control of your mind and body again even under trying circumstances. This is a huge boost to your self esteem which is lacking in people with social phobias.
Repeatable – Once you learn how to end a panic attack underway, or stoping one before it starts, you can repeat this the next time it happens. Just like learning any skill it becomes better with repeated use if you know what you are doing!
Stopping Anxiety – Once you master stopping panic attacks, you can use the same skills to be able to stop anxious and intrusive thoughts as well. They are all linked to the same processes so have transferable applications.
So the question still remains on just how to do stop a panic attack from social anxiety. Let’s look first at stopping a panic attack that is happening – that is, before it has gone too far and you are too far out of control to get it back.
You have probably heard this one before but it is really important to understand it, and be able to master proper breathing methods to control anxiety and panic. One of the key contributors to increasing panic is your speed of breathing, depth of breathing, and your heart rate. All of these are linked together.
When you breathe in too shallow and too fast this speed up your heart rate and acts on your already overstimulated adrenal glands. Your fight or flight response goes into overdrive and your heart rate speed up in response to this in preparation to do something. This in turn leaves you light headed and for many feeling like they are having a heart attack!
The response is deep breathing. However a warning first. Rapid deep breathing or holding your breath actually has the opposite effect by flooding the body full of oxygen which can lead to your heart going nuts as well. Proper deep breathing techniques are as follows:
Breathe in deeply but also in a steady intake not a rushed gasp.
Keep your body and head relaxed as you do it, no overblown movements to breathe in – this just makes it more dramatic to you and those around you and will increase anxiety.
Do not hold your breathe longer than a second, breathe it back out almost straight away keeping the outflow of air steady.
Keep your mind focused on your breathing during this procedure and continue to breathe like this for a minute or so and you will feel your heart rate slow and your panic ease.
Breaking Catastrophic Thinking
This is actually a technique that is useful during a panic attack, but is MORE useful from preventing them so covers both bases. Catastrophic thinking is the worsening train of thoughts that drag you down into anxiety and panic. Each thought leading to worse thoughts until you imagine terrible events unfolding that could appear ridiculous when you are rational and in control – but when you are panicking they seem totally valid.
As your train of thought gets more and more scary it affects your breathing and heart rate and your mental state to a huge extent. When you are in a panic attack being able to break this and begin to rationalise again will help you calm down along with the proper breathing mechanisms.
Before you have a panic attack the trick is to realise that you are descending into catastrophic thinking and stop it. This is not easy because when you are in its grips you do not often realise it. The most important thing is for you to be aware of the symptoms of this and then act on it. If you are feeling anxious and panicky then this might be normal to you as it happens a lot, but when you feel that fear starting to get worse and worse you have to stop and analyse your thoughts and what they are. This might not stop the anxiety but if you can arrest the problematic thoughts there you may not go any further and can be more rational and at least retreat from the problem if not face and overcome it.
There is a lot more you can do to overcome social anxiety disorder, but social anxiety disorder help to end panic attacks are what you need before you can tackle the core social phobias that plague you. Once you can stop the panic problem it becomes easier to discover new ways to deal with fear and anxiety – and will make you more efficient and successful in implementing these strategies.