Los Angeles Christian Counseling
Panic anxiety disorders describe a condition that is long-term, where severe panic attacks take place on a consistent basis for a person.
Common Signs of a Severe Anxiety Attack
According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common signs of a severe anxiety attack include the following:
- The sense of destruction, danger, or doom.
- Fear of death or loss of control
- Pounding, rapid heartbeat, and rate
- Shaking or trembling
- Tightness in the throat/hyperventilation/shortness of breath
- Stomach upset/cramps/pain
- Numbness and/or tingling in different areas of the body
- Hot flashes
- Lightheadedness, dizziness
- Feelings of being outside of the body, detachment
- Chest Pain
- Chills or flushes
- Feelings of weakness
- Pain that is intense
- Body is tight
- Feeling like you are falling from a high cliff
- Concentration problems including visually or mentally
Overcoming a Severe Anxiety Attack with Treatment Options
According to well-known psychologist Dr. Archibald Hart, 12 steps will help you to recover from an anxiety attack.
Here are the principles:
- Find your strength in Christ. God’s promises for you are in His everlasting Word.
- Experience the power Christ gives you. Feel the works of the Almighty God in your life.
- Let the Holy Spirit calm fear. The individual that has experienced a severe panic attack knows that victory is imaginable through allowing God into grips of fear.
- Getting the “what-ifs” out of your life for good. Changing the mindset to “so what” to win over stress, worry, and anxiety. “If God is for us who can be against us” (Romans 8:31b: NIV).
- Defeat internalized stress and passivity. Do not believe the myth that anxiety robs you of self-control. By surrendering control to God and seeking the help of a Christian Counselor who has a deep understanding of severe panic attacks and will construct a way for you to overcome the panic attack.
- Take control by researching all you can concerning your disorder. Understanding and knowledge are your friends. This holds true for the medications you are prescribed too. Using the knowledge, you have over your own body will lead you to discover solutions. You need to become an expert on your condition so that you can speak with those you will be working with to overcome the attacks.
- Adapt the attitude that you can progress up and out of panic attacks.
- Have compassion for yourself. Do not give the enemy control by self-doubting. The Lord does not love you any less because you experience panic attacks. You are no more to blame for experiencing panic attacks than a person who has cancer is to blame for the disease.
- Do not allow your attacks to take over your life. These attacks do not define who you are as a person but do warrant treatment.
- No pity party allowed. Instead, ask yourself what you can do about the situation.
- Find and join a good support group. Christian peers can help you work through issues and it helps when others are experiencing the same thing.
Tips to remember when having a severe anxiety attack:
- Do not run from your symptoms; face those fears. If you flee from your attack symptoms, it can aggravate them because you experience a fight, flight, and freeze response. Trying to flee from the panic attack can make things worse for you. Have a plan in place to head off an attack before it starts.
- Accept what your body is saying to you while a panic attack is happening. Have faith that these symptoms will subside, and you will manage to get the control back over your body again. Do not allow more fear to take control. These symptoms are telling you that something is wrong, and you need to work to reduce stressors in your life.
- Give the attack plenty of room to move through so that you do not cause the problem to grow. Use relaxing/breathing exercises during the severe panic attack as much as you can.
Manage a Severe Panic Attack Using Breathing Techniques
There are two types of meditation or prayer that have been used by Christians for about two millennia.
The first type of prayer or meditation incorporates concentrative meditation, where a person focuses on thoughts or an object which creates deeper thinking. By restricting the senses, you are keeping the attack under control.
The second type of prayer consists of listening to the Word of God in the environment. This can be current events analysis, listening to nature, and Biblical archeological analysis.Practicing mindfulness is a form of Christian reflection that focuses on understanding and accepting God’s work in our external world. This involves more listening prayer with the Lord.
It is important for Christians to know that there is nothing un-Christian about breathing exercises that induce calmness and serenity. One well-known technique while meditating is to combine breathing exercises and focusing on the goodness of Christ while praying.
The ancient texts of Ayurveda and Ayuryoga have demonstrated that these methods of meditation and breathing are quite effective in curing many physical and mental health ailments. A lot of ancient science and detail has been used in developing these exercises.
Four Indian Breathing Techniques to Use
1. Sohum Meditation (Ocean Wave/Abdominal Breathing
Everyone can enjoy this “ocean wave” breathing. This is also a great exercise for a beginner. Just visualize an ocean hitting the shore and retracting.
Method: Put one hand on the chest and the other on the belly, breathe in deeply through the nose, make sure the diaphragm fills up to stretch your lungs.
Wait 2-3 seconds after exhalation and inhalation.
Perform a round of 8-10 breaths per minute. Perform a minimum of 5 rounds daily to help reduce stress and lower blood pressure. This type of breathing also helps with digestion and enlarges lung capacity.
When: This breathing technique works wonders when used before stressful events like tests and interviews. Though it may seem difficult in the beginning, have patience and your mind and body will help in the training.
2. Anuloma Viloma (Middle Level of Nadi Shodhana)
This breathing technique resembles alternate nostril breathing. The air is pushed in; this is not a slow-paced breathing exercise. Your breathing needs to be heard aloud.
According to the ancient texts, this will help to heal all types of internal diseases without the use of dangerous medications. When practiced regularly, great benefits can be seen.
Method: To start, begin with a comfortable seated posture.
Before beginning, blow your nose to remove mucous.
Close the right nostril with your right thumb. Lift the elbow in line with your shoulder. When you force (inhale) air into the left nostril, a gush of noisy air is pushed in right away.Close your left nostril with your finger so you exhale out of the right nostril, then follow-up with an inhale. This is a quick-paced nadi-shodhana. In this breathing technique, the breath is forced to clear and clean your lungs. It may cause some to feel lightheaded.
When: This breathing exercise should always be performed when the stomach is empty, either at dawn or mid-afternoon before reaching for your cup of tea. This breathing will help boost your energy throughout the day.
Research has proven that deep breathing exercises help when a panic attack is taking place. It is recommended that these techniques be used as preventative care during those times when severe panic attacks are not happening.
3. Sama Vritti (Equal Breathing Technique)
Equal means Sama. The state of being is Vritti. At this moment, our bodies have become used to shallow breathing. This technique lessons anxiety and stress increases focus and calm the nervous system.
Method: This step is perfect for beginners who desire relaxation. A focused count of 10-15 breaths is a great way to stop and refocus and add energy to your day.
To begin sama vritti, inhale to a count of 4.
Then push the air out to a count of 4.
As you become accustomed to this technique, increase the breaths to the count of 8.
Always inhale through your nose. This allows for resistance to the breathing and is a basic form of pranayama.
This breathing technique can be performed anywhere at any time. This breathing technique allows you to slow your breathing and thought process even when the stress begins to climb. Reducing racing thoughts and calming yourself through natural breathing allows you to be in control.
The combination of Christian prayer and contemplation make these exercises much more fulfilling. Listening to God is just as necessary whether He speaks to you through people, life circumstances, or his written word.
Find a professional Christian counselor if you are experiencing severe panic attacks. For those suffering from severe symptoms, it is important to seek the help of both a psychiatrist and a Christian counselor. Having a team to work towards wholeness and healing will add to the joy in life.
“Fearful Girl Hugging Teddy”, Courtesy of Ryan McGuire, Gratisography.com, Public Domain; “Breathe In”, Courtesy of Valentina Aleksandrovna, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Contemplation”, Courtesy of Ben White, nsplash.com, CC0 License; “Breathe”, Courtesy of Tim Goedhart, Unsplash.com, CC0 License