How Can I Stop My Panic Attack From Coming Back?

The biggest problem with panic attacks is the fear of having another one!

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Q I had a massive panic attack out of the blue a few months ago. I was under a lot of stress at the time.

I haven’t felt able to spend a day alone since the panic attack and it’s such a strain on my family. If I am not with one family member I am with another. They have all changed their life and schedule around because of me and I hate it.

I use to love my time on my own but because I am terrified of the panic happening again I won’t stay alone. I am seeing a CBT counsellor. Life is so difficult I hope you have some ideas that may help me thanks.

A I had a panic attack myself many years ago – so I know how horrible they feel. The big thing to remember is that although they ‘feel’ life-threatening at the time they’re NOT fatal.

The biggest problem with panic attacks is the fear of having another one!

I see them as being like a volcano erupting. It’s been rumbling and growling for a long time until the final thing that causes the ‘explosion’ of emotion (e.g. fear/dread/terror).

The body and mind can’t cope with this big build up of emotion – which will have been ignored or denied for a long time. When the big blow out then happens it feels very scary.

The good news is that you’ve had your blow out now – and you survived it!

Imagine if it was your own little daughter who was panicking. What would you do to soothe, reassure and comfort her, and most of all to keep her feeling ‘safe’?

Now…you need to do that to and for yourself.

The grown-up you still has a scared little kid inside (we all do) who needs the loving ‘adult’ part of you to take care of her emotional needs. Then you won’t have to rely upon, or expect, others to do that for you.

Thinking that you can’t cope, and relying on other people to help you to feel safe only re-enforces your sense of helplessness – which makes matters worse..

You CAN do this on your own…just as you would if it was your own child who needed that help and support from you. Your brain (or rather the Amygdala in the middle of your brain) needs to feel ‘safe’ and calm again, and for you to be back in control of your life and have a firm hold of ‘the reins’.

One step at at time..start with exploring what caused the volcano to build up… and for how long this has been going on.

Then have this ‘motherly’ chat with the terrified little girl inside you and find the grown up courage to take good care of her and keep her safe from harm.

Learn to breath slowly and deeply (extending the outgoing breath) when you need to calm down your body’s adrenalin response.

Remember – the brain doesn’t know the difference between a REAL threat and an imagined keep reassuring your brain that things are OK, and you’ll be fine now that YOU are in charge.

When we are worrying or panicking our brainwaves are too fast and we must slow them down… and slow down our pulse rate too.

The best way to do this is by controlling the breath. Really notice your breathing and slow it down, and keep your focus on your brainwaves slowing down too.

CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) deals with your thoughts and not the underlying emotional turmoil…which needs to be understood before you can chill down that volcano and not let it build up to another eruption!

If you were to have repeated panic attacks you might need to seek different professional one-to-one help and get the extra emotional support you need to unearth the psychological and emotional causes that have been deeply buried.

You would also need to ensure that there were no additional factors involved such as irregular blood sugar and hormonal imbalances - and your GP should be able to check this for you.

Maxine Harley (MSc Psychotherapy)


Where you will also find a page of FREE resources - including videos to help you to balance your emotional state.

Maxine Harley



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over 5 years ago
Thanks for this Maxine.