PEOPLE suffering from panic attacks often struggle to suppress feelings of anxiety when they start to surface.
Now one woman who suffers from the attacks has said that sucking on an ice cube helped her curb the severity of her attacks.
The NHS claims that “everyone suffers from feelings of anxiety and panic at certain times”, and said people with a panic disorder can feel anxious at any time for no apparent reason.
While the NHS suggests that having therapy, being prescribed medication such as antidepressants or epilepsy drugs, or being referred for more specialised treatment may be key, one woman has claimed all she needed to beat her panic attacks is an ice cube.
Writing on Tumblr she said she was about to have a panic attack when she called her boyfriend for help.
Her boyfriend advised her to put an ice cube in her mouth as the cold nature of the ice would shock her body and would bring her out of her state of panic and “back into the real world”.
FIGHT OR FLIGHT
She said the trick worked and that she now uses the ice cube hack regularly.
Others on the social platform thanked her for her advice and said they would try her recommendations.
Anxiety is a normal feeling, also known as the "fight or flight" response.
When presented with stress or danger, the body pumps adrenalin through the body – allowing it to cope with the situation at hand.
However, anxiety can become a problem when this response occurs unnecessarily – either because the danger is not that severe, or there isn't actually any danger at all.
Anxiety disorders can develop as a result of a number of factors, including stress, genetics and childhood environment.
What are the symptoms of anxiety?
According to Anxiety UK, the signs of anxiety can be divided into physical and psychological symptoms.
You may not experience all of them, but physical symptoms include:
- Racing heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness
- Dry mouth
- Butterflies in stomach
- Urge to pass urine/empty bowels
- Pins and needles
Meanwhile, the psychological symptoms include:
- Inner tension
- Fear of losing control
- Dread that something catastrophic is going to happen (such as blackout, seizure, heart attack or death)
- Feelings of detachment
The symptoms of panic attacks can feel similar to a heart attack – as they often involve rapid breathing, chest pains and pins and needles.
John Tsilimparis, MFT, director of the Anxiety and Panic Disorder Center of Los Angeles has previously hailed the ice cube method, but said there were other ways it could be used to distract the patient.
“This technique can help you divert your attention away from a panic attack, especially if you’re in the throes of a particularly intense attack. Take out an ice cube and hold it to your hand for as long as you can (you can put the cube in a paper towel).
“Then, place the ice cube on your other hand. This focuses your mind on the discomfort, de-escalating your symptoms”.
Other experts also hail techniques such as drinking cold water, paying particular attention to how it feels in your mouth, and also using ice cube or frozen vegetables to put on the side of your face.
Specialist Brennan Mallonee also suggests splashing cold water on your face and going outside for fresh air.
She added: "If you have repeated panic attacks, it can be especially helpful to start tracking the signs that let you know your anxiety levels are getting high, even before that anxiety becomes a full blown panic attack".
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