Most people that try to stop panic attacks fail. The episodes of apprehension and intense fear come back along with all the associated symptoms. Elevated heart rates, profuse sweating, hyperventilation and the sense of "dying" or "losing one's mind" always come back. Repeated failures lead to a sense of helplessness that only work to perpetuate the cycle of fear.

What people that suffer from anxiety and fear want is to live a "normal" life. Simple things that most people take for granted like driving, socializing, going to work and even sleeping can be agonizing. To stop panic attacks would be a return to normalcy or even the experience of normalcy for the first time.

So what has been stopping panic and anxiety suffers from overcoming this condition? Before answering this question, let us look at what methods and programs have been, and still are, popular. Most programs to stop panic attacks are based on principles of relaxation and breathing. In one way, shape or form, they attempt to calm the body down. Some use deep breathing techniques that are effective in lowering heart rates and controlling hyperventilation. Others used meditation, yoga-like exercises or hypnosis to force the body to achieve a state of relaxation and calm.

The truth of the matter is that some of these techniques are very effective at some things. The problem is they are not effective at stopping panic attacks. Let us look at the breathing technique mentioned earlier. There is one in particular which works wonders at stopping hyperventilation and rapid heart rates. The method is known as the 7-11 breathing technique. When you are suffering from an anxiety attack and your symptoms are in full swing, you take a long deep breath, breathing through your nose deep into your belly for around 7 seconds. Once you have inhaled, you hold your breath for a brief second and then release the air through pursed lips if you have to for 11 seconds. Repeat this breathing technique for a few minutes and it will literally force your body to recover from panic and anxiety symptoms.

At first glance, it may seem like I am contradicting myself here. Did I not say that breathing techniques and such are not effective ways at stopping panic attacks while I just admitted that the 7-11 method works? There is an important difference. Breathing techniques can be effective at stopping panic attack symptoms. They cannot stop panic attacks from occurring in the first place and this is the difference. People don't want to just cope with this terrible condition; they want to prevent it from happening. Some of the techniques mentioned above are effective at controlling the symptoms of anxiety and when they are sold or presented as ways to stop the condition patients end up disappointed when the attacks occur again

Medication, relaxation and breathing all have a place in fighting anxiety. But we need a fundamental change in the way we approach this condition. We have to move beyond symptom control and start to focus on anxiety prevention. Only then will the quality of life of millions of panic sufferers be elevated to what most other people consider "normal."

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