How can I avoid the triggers that cause me to have a Panic Attack?
Last Updated: 01/25/2021 at 8:55am
Maryna Svitasheva, PhD. RP
Licensed Professional Counselor
Psychotherapy I provide is based on a dialog and your active intention to look for a solution with the therapist's assistance
Top Rated Answers
Go and be alone, and calm down. I personally go outside and calm myself down, and tell myself to not worry, and keep telling myself not to worry. Keep breathing, that has really helped me personally deal with my Panic Attacks
When dealing with Panic Attacks, its not about avoiding your triggers but rather teaching yourself to not get triggered when faced with them. By avoiding your triggers, your panic attacks will only get worse and triggers are not always easy if at all possible to avoid. To deal with panic attacks takes a lot of work and effort on your part, but can be done. It is about learning and exploring the cause of your panic attacks with the specific triggers and then changing your thought processes to condition yourself to not react with an attack when faced with the trigger. It is also about slow and gradual desensisation to your trigger. Most importantly you need to talk to someone about your attacks and really understand the root of them.
I dealt with panic feelings on and off for many years and finally I realized that they never got worse - just built up and up to the same point. This was a point of fear that I SO dreaded experiencing that I would do most ANYTHING to make them go away and many times avoid the places that seemed to induce them. Being on this other side from fear gives you the strength that comes from understanding. An understanding that you want to LOSE this fight. THIS IS IMPORTANT: You cannot CONSCIOUSLY make a panic attack WORSE by yourself. It IS as worse as it gets. That's why when I say, "Go with it, have the worst attack possible", there isn't anything that can happen! You have already experienced the worst many times over, yet you want to run away from it each time, wanting it to go away by thinking, "please, please go away...I am losing my mind, losing control, I'm going to die (or whatever)." The intensity of the fear is fooling you! You have to turn the table and "approach" it with as much belief as you can muster in that moment of fear and panic (only takes a tiny bit). Let it come all over you and do whatever it wants to AND (when you feel ready) BE DETERMINED TO TRY AND MAKE THE FEAR WORSE!!!! It's not possible.You should understand and believe that your mind and body are solid and stable like a rock. When you "think" you will die or "lose it" from your anxious thoughts, all your body is doing is WAITING for you to quit the fight within so it can return to normal. That is the natural process inside you.This abandonment to your fears is very hard to accept. In fact, I'll bet you will just try to passively "ride it out" thinking that that's as much as you can take! That's a good START! But the answer lies further ahead in the UNKNOWN! That place that seems too terrible to go to. Actively going TOWARDS your fear center rather than shying away from it is an "unknown territory" and believe me I waited too many years before I did it.
This can be hard and not everyone is the same. If you know your triggers already, then do your best to stay clear of them if that is something that you can do. If you can't, then you could try seeking the advice of a therapist or counselor to help you deal with your feelings and get coping skills that can help you when you are placed in that situation.
Avoidance isn't as important as coping, find a way to deal with the trigger in small increments steadily increasing until you know how to cope with the real trigger without any serious problems.
Sometimes it's not possible to avoid them completely, but one thing that helps me personally is mentally preparing myself for the trigger if I can anticipate it before I encounter it. Going over it in my mind and practicing deep breathing makes me feel a little more prepared to face my triggers.
Could a better question be, what can I do to mitigate triggers when I encounter them, or have a specific strategy for a specific trigger?
I find it very helpful to set clear boundaries. In a comfortable, safe environment with the possible help of a professional, or someone you trust work through what your triggers are and where you most commonly encounter them. This can be uncomfortable, but it may also be very useful. By solidifying what you're on the lookout for you may be better able to self advocate and communicate to others your triggers. It's important to remember that your triggers aren't wrong, they're tied to personal experiences.
The thing is... you shouldn't. Because the more you avoid situations that cause panic attacks, the harder it will be to get used to these situations again. So what I'd advise you to do is to still confront yourself to these situations when you feel strong enough to do so (just for a small amount of time, when you're with someone you trust etc.). You have to learn how to deal with panic attacks, not how to avoid them.
It really depends on the triggers. I would recommend telling your friends what they are, even though it may be difficult it will make life so much easier in the long run. Then I would be careful when reading articles and watching videos, if the title makes you think that it could go in a direction that might trigger you then I wouldn't watch it, at least not until you are in a better place. Be careful on the internet and don't afraid to block accounts that frequently cause you attacks, it not mean it's just looking out for you. I would also keep in mind that there are moments where you won't be able to avoid a trigger, in which case I would use the coping strategies you have learned/will learn.
Try to refrain from talking about those topics and, if you are comfortable, inform your friends/family and tell them to do the same. Cut out people who intentionally trigger you and only talk to those who understand your struggle. There are always people who are willing to listen to you here. Try to distract yourself when you feel yourself staring to think about triggering topics. Associate your self with people you feel comfortable to be around. Be sure to be in a safe environment. Try to make better memories to associate yourself with at certain things. Hope this helps :)
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