An expert guide to help you deal with panic attacks in public places

If you’re constantly worried about getting a panic attack, especially when you’re in a public place–then this guide is for you.
panic attack
Deal with panic attacks effectively, with this guide. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Dr Samir Parikh Published: 11 Dec 2019, 07:50 pm IST
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Panic attacks can be difficult to manage and cope with. It can almost make you feel like your heart is going to pop out of your chest with the extra work it is doing in beating so fast.

You may feel breathless, nauseous, sweat excessively, your hands and feet may turn cold, and you may feel disconnected from what is happening around you. Lots of thoughts may run through your mind during this time or you might even feel completely blank. It can be quite overwhelming, causing you to feel anxious about the next time something like this may happen to you.

This whole experience of having panic anxiety often translates into avoidance of situations where you may have had a panic attack. You may actively try to refrain from getting into spaces or situations similar to the one in which you previously had a panic attack.

Also read: Anxiety got you down? We got 10 mental health experts to suggest how you can tame that beast

And if this happened in a social setting–at work or at a market place it can make things rather difficult for you. But here are a few things which if you do follow can be rather helpful.

1. Seek expert opinion
First and foremost seek the opinion of an expert if you are experiencing such symptoms. Panic anxiety and attacks often warrant treatment either in the form of medical intervention or psychotherapy. If panic attacks are happening across multiple situations, it is important that you discuss it with an expert.

panic attack
Don’t take panic attacks lightly–seek help from an expert. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

2. Practice before placing yourself in vulnerable situations
If there are specific situations which cause anxiety such as before a presentation or speaking in a group setting, practice to ensure that you feel confident and comfortable with what you are expected to do in it. This would allow your mind to feel a sense of control over the situation you are going to face.

3. Gradually expose yourself to situations you feel anxious about
Do the exposure in a graduated manner. Determine smaller situations where you can test out the same skills that might be needed in larger situations. Doing this would allow your mind to gradually feel comfortable with the situations that make you anxious.

Also read: Winter is here and so is seasonal affective depression. Try these 5 ways to beat it

4. Avoid the avoidance
Avoidance usually increases anxiety about being in situations which cause you to feel anxious. It is important to ensure, without stressing yourself too much, that you place yourself in situations which might be making you anxious to give your mind the message that you can work your way through them.

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panic attack
Don’t avoid situations that make you feel anxious. Rather, try to face them–slowly and steadily. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

5. Take the help of family and friends
Don’t hesitate to rely on your friends and family to gather support in putting yourself in situations which make you feel anxious and panicky. Talking to someone and sharing your experience with them can allow you to feel supported, and take away from the intensity of the thoughts and emotions that you may be feeling in the situation.

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About the Author

Dr. Samir Parikh is a psychiatrist and director of Department of Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences and Fortis National Mental Health Program at Fortis Healthcare ...Read More

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