Adolescence is filled with a whirlwind of challenges, from bodily changes and social pressures to academic stress. For some teenagers, panic attacks might be a new reaction to these issues. A panic attack is a sudden and sharp rise in anxiety accompanied by physical symptoms, such as a racing heart or queasy stomach. The visceral symptoms are an adaptive response to the perception of danger. As an educator or parent, it is critical to understand this anxiety so you can help an adolescent cope with the experience. Read on to learn about the reactions that accompany a panic attack and how to manage them.
Anxiety is a sense of nervousness, uneasiness, fear or dread of what is about to happen or what might transpire. It can be mild or intense, depending on the teen and the situation. For minors having a panic attack for the first time, it can feel strange, scary and confusing. The experience may start with a tightening in the chest, which can make it hard to breathe. In addition, the entire body might begin to shake, and excessive sweating or blurred vision may follow.
Comforting a teen during or after an attack could help him or her ward off future episodes, especially as he or she understands more about the physical manifestations of anxiety. Have the adolescent take long, deep breaths by inhaling and exhaling for about four seconds each. Deep breathing techniques can relax the body and should pull attention away from anxious or negative thoughts. You can also encourage the teen to practice regular exercise, such as yoga. Physical activity can decrease stress, boost confidence and encourage the body to release endorphins that are vital to overall well-being.
The contributing author for this blog article was Dr. Ram Pardeshi. Dr. Pardeshi is the medical director and psychiatrist at Mindful Urgent Care.
A Positive Approach to Teen Health (P.A.T.H) is a 501(c)3 organization that reaches seven counties throughout Northwest Indiana. Since 1993, A Positive Approach to Teen Health has been working to empower teens to make healthy choices regarding drugs, sex, alcohol, and violence.