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3 Tips for Coping with Panic Attacks When You Have Heart Disease

Heart disease is already a difficult fight. When you suffer from panic attacks it can become even harder. Panic attack symptoms are entirely mental, with no physical cause, and yet the experience of a panic attack – even in those without heart conditions – can make you feel like you’re dying. Hospitalization is common, especially for those unaware of the disorder.

If you have a heart condition the problem can be much worse. You have reason to monitor how your heart feels. But monitoring your heart can lead to a hypersensitivity to the way your body feels and changes, and that hypersensitivity can cause even the slightest concern to become debilitating panic attack. In the moment it may also be hard to differentiate the two, and it’s not uncommon to feel like something may be seriously wrong.

Coping with These Panic Attacks

I wish I could say there was an easy way to cure these panic attacks or tell the difference between the two conditions, but I can’t. Also, drugs for panic attacks are rarely the best strategy, and anxiety reduction options help, but are usually inadequate at stopping a panic attack recurrence. The truth is that getting into panic attack cycles is common, and unfortunately when you suffer from a heart condition as well, the ability to ignore the panic attack as “just another panic attack” becomes much harder.

Still, the best thing you can do is learn as much as possible about panic attacks and then use that information to start to differentiate between the two, so that you can tell when you’re suffering from a panic attack. It’s also important that you start expecting panic attacks – if you have panic disorder, trying not to get a panic attack rarely works, so waiting for it and expecting it can lessen some of the surprise and the blow. Also try the following coping tips.

Have Someone to Call – Find a great friend that will take your call. Tell them you have panic disorder and that you need someone to be on the phone with to make sure you’re okay. Then call them any time you’re suffering from a panic attack so that you can feel confident they’ll get help if it’s something more.
Cue a Habit – When I used to get panic attacks I’d tap the table and count each tap until they went away. Find some sort of habit to distract your mind from the attack until it’s over.
Face the Problem – Finally, if you find yourself getting panic attacks in specific situations or locations, don’t avoid them. Go there expecting a panic attack to occur and wait until it’s over. That way you won’t have to worry that you’re suffering from a heart-related problem.

I lived with panic attacks for years, and I can only imagine the difficulties it must be to suffer from both panic attacks and heart conditions. The best thing you can do is accept your panic disorder for what it is, and focus on your heart health separately.

Ryan Rivera
Guest Author
Founder and Publisher
Calm Clinic

About the Author: Ryan Rivera was a frequent panic attack sufferer that needed multiple hospitalizations before he came to terms with his panic disorder. He writes about panic and anxiety causes at the Calm Clinic

The informational content of this article is intended to convey general educational
information and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.

This article is intended to convey general educational information and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.

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