How to Deal With Panic Attacks

Women having panic attack.

Photo courtesy of Helpguide

Women having panic attack.

Alice Mancilla , Wellness Editor

Mental health awareness is becoming more significant and the effects of mental illnesses can be felt by teens and youth all over the world. It is not uncommon for many high schoolers and teens to feel an enormous amount(s) of stress, whether it is from family, friends, school, or other obligations. This may cause panic or anxiety attacks, which are described as “sudden feelings of fear and anxiety that cause physical symptoms like a racing heart, fast breathing and sweating” according to Cleveland Clinic.  

There are multiple causes for panic attacks and they are most common in children, teens, and young adults ranging from the ages twenty to thirty-five. Although panic attacks are twice as common with women than men, it is likely that people who have experienced a traumatic event will have panic attacks more frequently than the random, at one point in their life. According to Nimh.nih. Gov, some symptoms can be a sudden rush of fast heart beating, excessive sweating, trembling, shaking, dizziness, and chest or stomach pain. These symptoms can last from 5 to 20 minutes when having a panic attack. Panic disorder can be caused by long periods of stress, excessive exercise or caffeine intake, having a sudden change in environment, or real or perceived loss of control.  

Though having a panic attack is already stressful, having to experience it in public may add to the anxiety. There are various different ways to calm yourself down in order to relax and stop a panic attack, especially in stressful situations. First, take the time to assess, recognize  that you are having a panic attack and focus on trying to discover why or what is causing your stress. According to Professor Paul Salkovskis, Professor of Clinical Psychology and Applied Science at the University of Bath “it can be helpful to have someone with you, reassuring you that it will pass and the symptoms are nothing to worry about”. One way to calm yourself down during a panic attack is by focusing on your breath. Each inhale and exhale should last around 5 seconds, so that your focus remains on your breathing and not on your symptoms. 

Overall, panic disorder is not uncommon with teens and hiding it from others isn’t the best thing to do. Saugus High School provides many mental health resources for its students including social worker Ira Rounasville. If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health or panic attacks, please tell a trusted adult, teacher, or office administrator.