How can you stop a panic attack?


Quick Answer

Stopping a panic attack that has already begun often requires the use of a prescription anti-anxiety medication, such as Xanax, Ativan or Klonopin. These are short-term interventions, according to WebMD, and they are usually provided only at the beginning of a treatment course. Other methods, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and certain relaxation techniques, are also effective in managing the symptoms of panic attacks.

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Full Answer

Long-term management of anxiety can involve the prescribed use of antidepressants, such as Prozac, Paxil, Celexa, Lexapro or Zoloft. These drugs are frequently the first choice for managing anxiety disorders, according to WebMD, though some anticonvulsants may also be used as a part of long-term treatment. Acute attacks can be triggered unpredictably and can even be a side effect of some antidepressants, so a chronic-care plan has to be supplemented with a strategy for managing acute episodes.

In addition to medication to control the symptoms of panic attacks, patients are often advised to employ controlled breathing and muscle relaxation techniques to reduce the severity and duration of an attack, notes WebMD. Psychotherapy is used as an adjunct to medication and focuses on reducing the patients' fear that panic attacks could trigger more serious problems, such as heart attacks and psychotic episodes.

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