Tips For Dealing With Panic Attacks At Night

 

Panic and anxiety are most likely to hit in the evening or when you wake up in the middle of the night. This is large because you are no longer occupied with day-to-day tasks and it feels eerily quiet thanks to the majority of people being asleep.

 

It can feel ten times as scary when a panic attack strikes in the dead of night. You may feel isolated, afraid, and possibly have some kind of dread of something bad happening. It can also be made worse by being alone in the house.

 

So, when one strikes, what should you do to stop it in its tracks?

 

1) Get out of bed

Getting up and moving around can be a distraction from the panic building in your chest and give your heart a reason to beat faster, rather than letting it spiral out of control with anxiety.

 

2) Get ice or cold water

Ice or a cold sensation can shock your body out of a panicked state. Either get an ice tray/ice pack, something frozen that isn’t perishable e.g. peas, or a bottle of very cold water. Next, place it against the back of your neck or your inner wrist. If this isn’t effective, hold it to the center of your chest.

 

3) Call someone to help

Even though most people are in bed, it is worth reaching out to either someone physically in the house with you or texting someone to see if they’re awake. If you have someone with you, don’t be afraid to wake them up if necessary.

 

If you text someone and they respond, see if they can call you to distract you and make you feel less alone. If not, carry on texting with them. Alternatively, there are helplines available 24/7 such as Shout in the UK which is a text service for mental health issues.

 

If you’d rather speak to someone, call Samaritans for help and guidance.

 

4) Breathing techniques

Breathing techniques encourage your body to calm down out of the panic, slowing your heartbeat and stopping you from feeling dizzy or lightheaded through hyperventilating. Count for 4 seconds breathing in, hold for 4, then exhale for 8.

 

5) Self-care apps

Self-care apps often have features that can help you get through a panic attack. One such app is Finch, where you take care of a bird by taking care of yourself. It has a first aid feature that has a breathing graphic to follow, helpline numbers to call, a space to type and get your thoughts written down, and uses other techniques such as the color test to help you through.

 

6) Remember that panic attacks don’t last forever

No matter how intense the feelings become, never forget that emotions are fleeting things. The feeling will pass. You are not alone in how you feel, and you will recover. Emotions have a lifespan of approximately 90 seconds, so if you keep that in mind, it will feel more manageable to deal with the peak of the attack.

 

7) Seek long-term professional help

If panic attacks are a reoccurring feature of your life, consider reaching out to the local mental health team or your doctor for a referral to therapy. Being able to talk about things with a professional can help you get to the root cause of your panic and find effective ways of coping with it.

 

 

Hopefully, these tips will help the next time you find yourself on the edge of a panic attack at night. We hope they’ve helped, and that you feel better soon.

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