Panic attacks

A panic attack at full force is a very overwhelming and scary experience. As it is often a misfiring of one of the body’s most powerful automatic survival reactions – the Fight, Flight or Freeze Response – it involves almost the entire body and can leave you physically and emotionally drained. Given this, it can be hard to relax and reassure yourself when you feel one starting.

As the Fight, Flight or Freeze Response is a natural defence system within us, it does have a natural balancing counter. It may be hard to believe that something as simple as slow gentle breathing is a natural inbuilt counter, yet it is. Learning when and how to do this simple act can be easily done through seeing one of the counsellors at CAPS. Alternatively you may be able to teach your self through our audio files. Another important factor in managing panic attack is to recognise what may ‘set you off’ and how you can reduce your stress level throughout the day. Basically the Fight,Flight or Freeze Response is there for possible physical threats to your safety, unfortunately the brain isn’t always able to distinguish emotional or stress-based upset from physical threat.

External links and resources

  1. What's a Panic Attack?
  2. Tool Kit for Beating Panic Attacks (PDF 107kb)