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Panic Attacks

Panic attacks are very different for each person; some people might know what triggers them whilst for some, the attack comes randomly and without warning.

A panic attack is when the body exaggerates its normal response to fear, stress or excitement. The response is a rapid build-up of overwhelming physical sensations such as:

Panic attacks are scary whilst they are happening, but often the thought of having an attack is worse than the attack itself. You might feel very afraid that you are losing control, going to faint, have a heart attack or are going to die, so developing good coping strategies will help you.

For more helpful information:

Things that might help

Talking to someone you trust and who will listen to you

Just having someone to listen to you and show they care can really help and lessen your anxiety. They may well have had similar situation and tell you how they coped. Your midwife will listen to you and ask you at each appointment how you are feeling.

Breathing exercises

By doing breathing exercises you may find you manage anxiety and feel calmer.

Listening to music

Music can help make you feel calmer and help your body and mind relax.

Physical exercise

Exercise can help you manage your anxiety and panic attacks. The body releases chemicals called endorphins that trigger positive feelings and these can help you feel better.

Eating healthily and keeping well hydrated

Following a healthy diet can help you manage anxiety better. Evidence suggests that good nutrition and keeping well hydrated is essential for our mental health. Try to avoid stimulates such as coffee, cigarettes and alcohol as you may find it easier to relax.

Distracting techniques

Find something that really distracts you from the anxiety you are feeling, such as colours, smells or sounds, hobbies, colouring books and meditation and you can use these techniques when you begin to feel anxious then next time.

Reassurance techniques

You might find that telling yourself that the symptoms you are feeling are caused by anxiety and are not dangerous may help the feelings pass.

Complementary therapies

Try relaxation techniques such as Yoga, meditation, aromatherapy, massage, reflexology, and hypnotherapy to see if this helps you anxiety levels and reduces your panic attacks.

Treatments for Anxiety

Talking therapies

There are many types of talking therapies including counselling and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) can help you manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave. It is most commonly used to treat anxiety and depression, but can be useful for other mental health and physical health problems. Find local support from the following:

Self-help resources

Prescribed medication

Some women may be prescribed medication when the symptoms of anxiety outweigh potential risks, following an informed discussion with your GP or doctor. (Please see medication section for more information)

Local Resources:

National resources: