What To Do With Pandemic-induced Panic Attacks

Locum Tenens News >> What To Do With Pandemic-induced Panic Attacks

If you are already living with a panic disorder, fears about the coronavirus can take a great toll on your emotional health. But, there are ways to overcome this.

The pandemic caused by COVID-19 is affecting the world in many ways. It not only negatively affects the global economy, but this pandemic also causes damage to our mental and emotional health. The uncertainty surrounding it is one of the hardest things to handle for a lot of people and can cause overwhelming panic.

Understanding What a Panic Attack is

Also referred to as anxiety attacks, panic attacks are real episodes that are uncomfortable, discreet yet overwhelming, and sometimes, scary. It is the sudden surge of intense discomfort or extreme fear that reaches a peak in a short time.

Often, the anxiety around the Coronavirus or other factors can be manifested through increased irritability, trouble concentrating, or difficulty sleeping. Those experiencing pandemic-induced panic attacks may also find themselves becoming more unmotivated or unwilling to do anything, have low mood, and are often tearful.

How do you know if you’re having a panic attack?

Symptoms of panic attacks may vary and they sometimes feel similar to a heart attack. They usually happen very suddenly, with symptoms peaking within ten minutes. For doctors to diagnose a panic attack, at least four of the following signs below should be manifested.

  • Chest pain
  • Nausea
  • Excessive sweating
  • Numbness or tingling sensation
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • A choking sensation
  • Pounding heart or palpitations
  • Shaking or trembling
  • Feeling as though you’re choking
  • Feeling unusually detached from yourself or are not living in reality
  • Feeling like you’re going to die
  • Fear of dying or going crazy

Panic attacks can affect many people, and they strike at random times. In this frightening time where cities and even countries are shutting down, many are becoming more susceptive to having panic attacks. Although panic attacks are difficult to get under control, thankfully, it is something that can be managed.

Dealing with Pandemic-induced Panic Attacks

Indeed, it is not easy (and for some, nearly impossible) to dispel all anxious feelings that we may have, especially in this difficult time. Nonetheless, there are several things that you can do to manage fears and anxiety even in the face of this unique crisis.

Do breathing exercises to reduce anxiety

Improper breathing can upset the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide within our bodies. This can contribute to fatigue, panic attacks, anxiety, and other emotional and physical instabilities. When anxious, it’s common to take rapid and shallow breaths that are coming directly from the chest. This can cause upset in the levels of carbon dioxide and oxygen that lead to muscle tension, dizziness, increased heart rate, and other physical sensations.

Therefore, if you are feeling anxious, practice simple breathing exercises. To do this, inhale slowly and deeply through your nose while keeping your shoulders relaxed. Your chest should rise a bit and your abdomen should expand. Then, slowly exhale through your mouth and repeat this exercise for several minutes until you start feeling better.

Reduce your overall stress levels

Right now, many of us are dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic on top of the personal issues that we might have – not to mention any daily struggles that we go through. It is easy to be overwhelmed with our current situation, making us more at risk of panic attacks. It has already been established that panic attacks are more likely to happen if you have elevated anxiety or stress levels. So, it makes sense to reduce your stress levels to lead a happier and healthier life.

There are many things that you can do to help keep stress at bay. Exercising daily to maintain your health and good mood is a perfect example, as well as eating well-balanced meals and getting enough sleep. Try to maintain an effort to replace any negative and concerning thoughts with positive ones. This can be a bit challenging with the way the world is now, but maintaining a positive attitude can go a long way towards a joyful life.

Seek professional help

If the stress of the Coronavirus is affecting your mental and emotional health a little too much, then don’t think twice about contacting a mental health professional. Those who have frequent panic attacks and whose activities are limited by it may benefit greatly from speaking to a professional.

There’s a wide variety of treatment options available for those who suffer from panic attacks, including psychiatric medications and psychotherapy. A licensed mental health expert can help you manage your fears and empowers you to make the right decision.

It’s important to note that with appropriate treatment, panic attacks can be prevented and controlled. This will allow you to better cope with your day-to-day challenges and take the necessary steps towards resuming the fulfilling and healthy life you deserve.

Have a time out

It is easy to be overwhelmed with everything that is happening around us. While it is important to deal with our issues head-on, stepping back from our problems can help clear our minds. So, have some moments to take some time out for activities you enjoy like playing a video game, watching a movie, cooking, or reading a book. You will find that changing your environment might be all that you need. Fresh air is known to be one of the most helpful ways for people to feel calm and the exposure of sunshine is believed to burn away any negative feelings.


Panic attacks may be triggered by news about the pandemic and the situations people or countries are in. Experiencing a panic attack can be frightening as it can mimic other life-threatening events like heart attacks or more serious conditions. It can happen to anyone and at any time. Fortunately, help is available and there are certain things that you can do to cope with an attack. Most of all, do not wait too long to seek professional help.

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