Has your daughter ever had a panic attack? Have you felt helpless and unclear on how to support her through it? You are not alone and neither is your daughter. In an event of a panic attack it is important to arm yourself with as much information as possible to help your daughter.
Battling a panic attack: know the enemy
Helpguide.org defines a panic attack (also known as an anxiety attack) as an event of sudden overwhelming feeling of anxiety and fear. Panic attacks can strike anytime and anyplace, without warning or as a reaction to a specific situation or trigger. Most often the situations that trigger a panic attack are those that make the individual feel fearful or as though they cannot escape. They can occur to a happy and healthy person or as a result to a disorder such as depression or social phobia.
Symptoms vary in severity and combination, including but not limited to:
- Shortness of breath
- Increased heart rates
- Cold/hot flashes
- Chest pain/discomfort
Tools, tips and techniques
There are many tools and techniques you can utilize and teach your daughter to help her prevent the onset of a panic attack or minimize the severity of the symptoms. Here are some tips to add to your tool box:
- Understand your panic attack: Can you identify the triggers or factors that are similar with each attack? If so, what can you do to prevent these factors from affecting you so negatively?
Tip in action: Prepare yourself to deal with these situations. Make a list of all things that help you calm down in stressful situations such as: reading, writing, petting dogs, or smelling essential oils.
- Assess lifestyle choices and modify: Substances, such as caffeine or cigarette smoke, have been known to contribute to the onset panic attacks. A healthy diet and regular exercise have also been identified to lower level of stress and anxiety.
Tip in action: Keep a journal and record all the food you eat, medication you take, and exercise and your mood throughout the day. Do this for a week to see if there is a correlation between certain foods and increased anxiety. Consult your doctor before developing an exercise plan or making any medication changes.
- Practice relaxation techniques: Research different techniques and test out each until you find one that works for you. Examples are yoga, meditation, breathing control exercises, and visualization.
Tip in action: When feeling increased anxiety try counting while breathing. How many seconds does it take to inhale and exhale? Try counting to a higher number on every inhale and exhale until your breathing slows down. Focus as much as you can on your breath.
Get help for your daughter at Asheville Academy
At Asheville Academy for Girls, girls ages 10 to 14 years old can get help with their anxiety in a residential, social and academic setting. This allows them to face their fears and learn to manage their reactions so as to improve daily functioning. With AAG, your daughter can be happier and healthier!
Call us today at 800-264-8709 for more information on how we can help your daughter overcome anxiety and panic attacks.