ZocdocAnswersHow can I control my heart rate during a panic attack?

Question

How can I control my heart rate during a panic attack?

I get panic attacks every so often. When I do my heart rate gets really fast and I can't figure out how to slow it down. What is a way I can control my heart rate during a panic attack?

Answer

I am very sorry to hear that you are suffering from recurrent panic attacks. As you have experienced, these attacks can be quite overwhelming, with a lot of physical symptoms including racing heart rate and palpitations. Some people with panic attacks can learn breathing and other biofeedback strategies that they can use when they feel a panic attack coming on, to either prevent the attack or make it less severe. These are technique that a counselor or psychologist could begin to introduce you to, and you should make an appointment with one of these if you are interested in pursuing the matter further. It would also be a good idea to talk with your psychiatrist or primary care doctor some about your persistent symptoms. I say this because many people with panic attacks do well with a daily medication to reduce the frequency and severity of the attacks. Additionally, it is sometimes helpful to have a fast acting medication on hand that you can take in the middle of an attack to relieve the symptoms. Your doctor can discuss these various medication options with you and help you decide if this would be a good approach in your case. Good luck!

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