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Cheshire's Mental Health Hub

Managing Panic Attacks in Public

If you suffer from anxiety or panic disorders, you may find yourself faced with a sudden feeling of dread or nervousness at any time. Panic disorder symptoms can be very difficult to manage and they may surprise you, too. A lot of people that suffer from anxiety or panic disorders often face panic attacks in public.

If you have faced a panic attack in public, or are worried about it possibly happening in future, it’s good to be prepared for the worst.

As somebody that has experienced an anxiety attack in public, I know first-hand that the following tips will be extremely beneficial to anyone that has anxiety or a panic disorder.

Practice breathing techniques.

Many people that are struck with a panic attack in public find themselves hyperventilating, or suffering from a shortness in breath. It is one of the most common symptoms of a panic attack and experiencing this in public can be very frightening.

That’s why it is important to practice breathing techniques. Deep breathing techniques can help calm your body and make you feel relaxed. It can also slow down your rapid heartbeat and elate your feelings of anxiety. Practicing breathing techniques when you’re feeling fine, such as in the comfort in your own home, will better prepare you for when you do have a panic attack.

Understand your mind.

Panic attacks can be extremely distressing and sometimes can feel like something worse, such as a heart attack. Once the panic attack has passed, it is only then that you realise that what happened is due to negative feelings or your fears.

Because of this, you need to know your mind. Practicing mindfulness exercises and meditation can improve how you deal with negative thoughts. Dealing with your negative thoughts can stop them escalating into something worse. The last thing you want is for your negative thoughts to take control of your emotions and your actions.

Recognise the problem.

When I’ve had anxiety attacks in the past, it’s because of the situation rather than the place. I now know to remove myself from those situations when possible. Because of this, the amount of anxiety attacks I’ve had in the past year have lowered by more than half.

Identify what is causing your panic attacks in public. Think about whether it’s a situation, a place or just the idea of being out in public. Then think about how you can avoid the panic attack – would it help having a friend with you, or do you just need to go somewhere else? Find a solution that fits your concerns.

If you’re looking to meet others in a similar situation, you can always do a search on for a local community support group. Finding like-minded people that also suffer from anxiety and panic disorders could help you realise the best solution for your problem, too.