How Long Can Panic Attacks Last? Can I Make Them Stop

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How Long Can Panic Attacks Last? Can I Make Them Stop

If you suffer from panic attacks, you are probably quite scared by them. Unexpected panic attacks can be really horrible, can’t they? It can feel like you are having a heart attack As a matter of fact, they can scare you so much that you begin to withdraw from daily activities where you think you are likely to have a panic attack. In this article we are going to de-bunk some of the myths about panic attacks and help you to understand them better so that you can calm down your fear of panic attacks.

A panic attack is simply a triggering of your natural fight or flight response. When your fight or flight response is triggered, it is totally natural to have shortness of breath, elevated heart rate and maybe even chest pain. In most cases of panic, these symptoms of anxiety are not dangerous, or a sign of impending death. As a matter of fact, most people who suffer panic attacks have no negative health outcome as a result.

Can Panic Attacks Last For Days?

In some, extremely rare, cases, the answer is yes. There have been reports of some panic attacks lasting for days, even up to a week. Hang on though! Don’t panic! (sorry about that pun!). The ver reassuring news is that in the vast majority of cases, the physical symptoms of a panic attack are gone in somewhere between 5 and 30 minutes. Even more reassuring is that 30 minutes is a bit unusual and the most common timeframe is 5 to 10 minutes.

Now, of course, those 5 to 10 minutes of extreme fear for no apparent reason can be very unsettling. Typically, after a first panic attack, we are confused as to why it happened. If you visit the emergency room, your health care provider may not be able to tell you exactly why you had a panic attack. This can leave you wondering about if (or when) you’ll experience the next panic attack. In some cases, this can cause a person to live in constant fear of having another one, which, of course, has an impact on your quality of life. 

What Is The Difference Between A Panic Attack And An Anxiety Attack?

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Most experts agree that there is a simple way to diagnose whether you’ve had an anxiety attack or if it is actually a panic attack

  • Anxiety Attack: the main thing that would indicate you might be having an anxiety attack is if there has been a build-up of stress, worry or overthinking over a period of time. Certain mental health conditions can make it more likely for you to suffer from an anxiety attack such as post-traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety disorder, substance use disorders or obsessive-compulsive disorder, to name a few.
  • Panic Attack: the main thing that would indicate it’s actually a panic attack would be where it came “totally out of the blue” wihtout any apparent cause. Sudden episodes of intense fear or intense anxiety that happen with warning, or without any logical reason, can make us believe we are in real danger, which, of course, makes the symptoms even worse, and cause us to be on constant alert. In severe cases, this can lead to lifestyle changes in the hope of avoiding another sudden panic attack.

IMPORTANT NOTE: When people experience panic attacks, and symptoms such as a racing heart, it is important to remember that the most sensible thing you can do is to seek medical advice. Remember that panic attacks can be have similar symptoms to other, much more life threatening medical conditions (such as heart attack). Do not take chances and assume it’s a panic attack. Always do the sensible thing and seek medical care first.

Panic Attack Causes

One of the most common questions people ask is “why did I get a panic attack?” They can seem to make no sense. Maybe that is because we don’t fully appreciate the stress or pressure we are under, or the effect that certain situations, or our own negative mindset, can cause. 

Here are some of the more common risk factors 

  1. Major Life Changes – eg. changing job, moving house, relationship breakup, getting pregnant, etc.
  2. Too Much Coffee – too much coffee can make you hyper-alert and trigger panic
  3. Negativity – regularly engaging in negative self talk, holding on to negative beliefs about yourself
  4. People Pleasing – people who are afraid to have an opinion, or be assertive are more at risk of panic attacks
  5. Drug Abuse – there are long term side effects from the use of certain drugs. For instance, smoking too much weed can give you paranoia, taking too much coke can make you hyper-vigilant and jumpy. All of these make it more likely you’ll have a panic episode.

When thinking logically about why you’ve had a panic attack, it is really important NOT to do the following:

  • Overdramatise the experience. When relating the story to others, don’t use words like “it felt like I was dying”. Your own sense of drama can make it more like that you experience more panic attacks.
  • Worry about going to the same place or being in the same situation again. Instead, tell yourself that where you were at the time was totally coincidental and had nothing to do with it.
  • Plan to avoid certain people or situations. The more you try to avoid panic attacks, the more likely you’ll be to have them.
  • Tell yourself that you don’t know what you’ll do if you have another one. Instead, tell yourself that if another one was to happen, you’ll be calmer and more in control. Tell yourself you don’t fear apnic attacks any more. I even had one client who told me that he now tells himself that panic attacks are “great fun”. As a result he doesn’t fear them any more and because he doesn’t fear them, he doesn’t get them any more.

What Are 3 Types Of Panic Attack?

  1. Derealization: for people who experience this, the most common word they use to describe the experience is “weird”. Typically, it felt they were disconnected from the whole world during the attack.Many people get quited scared by this because they can think they are “going mad” or that they have some “psychiatric problem”. 
  2. Cardiac Panic: some panic attacks are more cardiac in nature then others. This is where you feel like your heart is racing or pounding and the most noticeable symptom may be chest pain that seems as if you might be having a heart attack. 
  3. Respiratory Panic: this is where the predominant symptoms is difficulty breathing. Typical experiences are where you find yourself gasping for air, feeling flushed and dizzy and it feels like you just can’t slow your rapid breathing. Rapid breathing, in turn leads to more anxiety because it changes the level of carbon dioxide in your body leading your mind to panic about not being able to get enough air.

What Are The Symptoms Of A Silent Panic Attack?

Very few people have even heard of a silent panic attack. I think most people associate panic attacks with the typical physical symptoms such as palpitations, breathing fast, sweating, etc. However, there is such a thing as a “silent” panic attack. This can also be known as a quiet panic attack. This is because there are little or no physical symptoms in many cases. Most of the symptoms reported by people who have experienced them tend to be psychological. These can include:

  • a sense of impending danger or fear
  • a heightened awareness of control and fearing losing control
  • feeling like a spectator (in other words, feeling quite detached)
  • feeling quite puzzled about what’s happening

With silent panic attacks, it is always best to consult a doctor who can reassure you that nothing is wrong with you mentally. When you experience some of the symptoms I have mentioned, many people may think they are going “crazy”, or that there is something mentally wrong with them. In most cases, silent panic attacks can be resolved quickly and easily using either a short course of medication, talking therapy, or both. They typically can be resolved quite quickly and leave no long term effects in most cases.

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Self Hypnosis Audio For Panic Attacks

Self hypnosis can be a great tool to use to overcome panic attacks. This powerful audio is 25 minutes long.

What Is A Dissociative Panic Attack?

Dissociation is a protection strategy that the mind uses in situations that it judges are too traumatic for you to handle. So typically, when you are having a dissociative panic attac, here’s what you may experience:

  • feeling no emotion (which may seem strange to you because you expect to feel something).
  • it can feel like you’re not there (even though you know you are).
  • having no sense of time during dissociation
  • feeling as if you have tunnel vision

These are just some of the more common symptoms but there are some more. If you believe that what you’ve had is a dissociative panic attack, the best course of action is to consult a medical professional who will point you in the direction of a therapist, probably one that specialises either in hypnotherapy, or cognitive behavioral therapy. Don’t worry! In most cases, dissociation is just a temporary experience which, with some help, can go away and never recur.

How Do You Cure A Panic Attack Fast?

​Here are a number of ways to cure a panic attack fast

  1. Get Your Breathing Under Control: when you start breathing fast because of a panic attack, the fast breathing causes a change in the normal carbon dioxide / oxygen balance in your lungs which causes you to become more panicky. Force yourself to slow your breathing. You can do something simple such as: close your eyes and breathe in through your nose while you count slowly from one up to five and then breathe out through your mouth while counting slowly from one up to five. Keep going until your breathing is under control.
  2. Sensory Shock: splash cold water on your face (make sure it is quite cold). This will focus your mind away from the symptoms of panic and on to the new experience of cold.
  3. Don’t Run Away: face your fear and your fear goes away. Keep reassuring yourself that everything is ok. 
  4. React Right: how you talk to yourself internally will determine whether you will have another panic attack or not. Try to congratulate yourself for seeing it out and not running away. Tell yourself you have beaten your panic attack! If you tell yourself things like “oh thank God that’s over”, your mind hears that you had a lucky escape and that it could happen again. Instead, tell yourself that because you’ve beaten it, it’ll probably never happen again.

Self Hypnosis For Panic Attacks

In order to stop having panic attacks, I have recorded a powerful self hypnosis recording called “Overcome Panic Attacks” which you can download right now by clicking on the link in the name of the recording. By listening once per day for thirty days, you should feel calmer, the fear of having another panic attack should have faded and you should be having more positive expectations about the future.

On the recording will be a very vivid visualization of remaining calm when a panic attack happens, feeling totally in control of your feelings and dealing with the situation in a way that makes you feel proud of yourself. There are also suggestions on the recording to tell you that it is safe to forget all about panic attacks because they’ll never recur. These suggestions are designed to help you feel safe and secure again, just like you did before you had your first panic attack.

One thing is certain, expecting another panic attack to happen will make it more likely that it will happen. It is also likely that you’ll be no better prepared by worrying about it, that you were in the past when you had no idea it was about to happen. this means that the best course of action mentally, is to forget all about panic attacks. Research has shown that people who can do this rarely have recurrences.

Author: Paul Hunter

Author: Paul Hunter

Although thousands of people read his blog every month, Paul's path to success was not an easy one. Click here to read his amazing story "From Unwanted Baby And Adopted To A Respected Self Help Blogger". If you want to send Paul a quick message, then visit his contact page here

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Paul Hunter

Paul Hunter

Although thousands of people read his blog every month, Paul's path to success was not an easy one. Click here to read his amazing story "From Unwanted Baby And Adopted To A Respected Self Help Blogger". If you want to send Paul a quick message, then visit his contact page here

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