Impending panic attacks can severely limit our lives

Panic attack: misdirected signals affect quality of life
Fear is one of the oldest primal instincts in human history, warns of dangers and thus ensures survival. But what happens when supposedly life-threatening situations do not endanger your life at all, but still trigger an increased pulse, sweating, dizziness and shortness of breath? In such a situation, experts speak of panic attacks that can affect anyone, whether VIP or normal Otto consumer, because fear knows no social differences. "If left untreated, they restrict the daily lives of those affected more and more, can lead to depression and, in the worst case, even trigger suicidal thoughts," explains Ankathrin Schmidt, psychological advisor and experienced reality creator. In Mallorca, the 52-year-old therapist and emigrant successfully offers prominent and non-prominent advice seekers individual coaching seminars.

Different triggers make the heart race
Panic attacks feel life-threatening in the perception of those affected, without being in a real danger situation. Psychologists see causes, for example, in unresolved conflict situations in which they have not found a solution to their problem, such as an intentional but not carried out job change. So they stay in old habits for years and the frustration grows steadily until it discharges - as aggression or just as a panic attack. Other triggers are classic stressful situations, including mental stress, which is often not consciously perceived by those affected. “They can stand on big stages for years or talk in front of an audience until their psyche suddenly and unexpectedly plays a trick on them.

Combined with the burgeoning thoughts of failure, they suddenly find themselves in a whirlpool that they cannot find out on their own, ”emphasizes Ankathrin Schmidt and knows:“ Crisis situations such as the loss of a loved one, separation from a partner or financial worries and bullying also leave deep marks in the soul. ”Most of them stow these negative life events in the so-called 'drawers in the head'. In some cases, however, the deeply closed thoughts find their way back to the surface and can, among other things, trigger a panic attack. In addition to psychological causes, menopause, certain medications, perfectionism, a lack of self-confidence, but also suppressed emotions such as grief or anger can turn into fear at some point and unexpectedly - the longer they are suppressed. "Whether and when a panic attack arises is always dependent on the respective mental and physical condition of the person and does not have to be connected to the current events," says the psychological counselor.

Recognize and treat symptoms
During an attack, the famous lump in the throat literally constricts the air, breathing becomes shallower and faster, the pulse rises. The hyperventilation and the imbalance between oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange leads to hardening of the muscles, which begins to tremble as a result. “In this situation, simple SOS tips can help you to get the situation under control again. Affected people should concentrate on breathing during an emerging attack, exhale longer than inhale. It is best to count to six when breathing out and four to take a breath, take a short break and repeat everything several times. Tensed muscles relax faster by jumping up and down. In addition, clench your fists and loosen them again or claw your toes into the ground, ”advises Ankathrin Schmidt. Even the thought of a loved one often helps the first time you approach an attack. Yoga, autogenic training, progressive muscle relaxation and sport are also among the preferred instruments and support those affected in their everyday life.

Strengthened into a new life
In order to avoid unpleasant situations, those affected develop a wide variety of "survival strategies". Some of them flee from the situation, resort to alcohol encouragement or no longer go out alone. "If the obsessive-compulsive disorder has progressed so far, those affected should seek professional help," recommends Ankathrin Schmidt. In a confrontation therapy, they face their fears and then learn in behavior therapy how to properly control their perception. Relaxation techniques also help to get a better grip on flaming feelings. The more often you use these methods, the faster the blockages in your head are released. Another effective measure against panic attacks, but also to prevent burnout, which is based on the same symptoms, is the so-called SoulWellFit method. It is based on three pillars: soul healing, wellbeing and fit for life.

The holistic concept is based on the one hand on simple exercises that activate self-healing powers, address physical and mental issues and solve problems. On the other hand, tensions are released and energies released with special massages. "If the causes are identified and resolved, panic attacks often lose their necessity," emphasizes Ankathrin Schmidt.

Author and source information

Video: How to help your friend during a panic attack - BBC (December 2021).