The best way to deal with a panic attack is to prepare for it ahead of time.  We call this creating a Panic Plan:

 

The plan can be tailored to the individual but should include some basic elements:

 

1. Deep Breathing.  Check out my page on Deep Breathing. This is the most effective and simplest treatment for Panic Attacks.  It's been clinically proven to work time and again.  Learn to "Deep Breath."

 

2. Stop Catastrophizing! Panic is not Lethal.  It's uncomfortable, but it's not going to hurt you. So what are the thoughts that you are distorting and that are driving the anxiety? Once we understand what the thoughts are we can debunk them and start to "de-catastrophizing." If there is some past trauma then that needs to be discussed and processed with your therapist. 

 

3. What do you if you panic plan?  We have to acknowledge that sometimes we are going to panic.  So if you are afraid you are going to have a panic attack while driving- where are you going to pull over, what are you going to do while pulled over?  Can you call someone, get out and walk a bit? Essentially you want to review all possible scenarios in prep for a panic attack. Write down the plan and have it with you.

 

Panic Plan