Panic Attack Recovery: Managing Symptoms & Finding Relief

by | Feb 22, 2024 | Anxiety, Blogs

Clinically Reviewed By Dr Dubey Shiva

Recovering from a panic attack means understanding what triggers it and using methods to handle and stop future ones. Recovery can vary and usually takes about 30 minutes.

Effective ways to manage a panic attack include controlled breathing, relaxing your muscles, and focusing on the present moment. Long-term help might involve treatments like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), gradually facing what scares you, and sometimes using medication. It’s important to notice early signs of panic, like feeling short of breath or tight in the chest, to act quickly and prevent a full panic attack.

Keeping a healthy lifestyle with good eating habits, staying hydrated, and regular exercise also helps manage panic attacks. If these attacks frequently upset your daily life or if simple methods don’t work, seeking professional help or trying online therapy can offer the necessary support.


  • Recovering from a panic attack involves steps to prevent future ones and facing the fear head-on. This process is different for everyone because things like health conditions, daily habits, and what’s happening around you can all play a part. On average, it may take about 30 minutes to feel better after a panic attack.
  • Recognizing what personally sets off your panic attacks, such as specific situations or feelings, and noticing early signs in your body, is key to controlling and possibly avoiding future episodes.
  • To recover from a panic attack effectively, simple strategies such as controlled breathing, muscle relaxation, and staying mindful are recommended. For ongoing management, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), gradual exposure to feared situations, and sometimes medication, can help.

Understanding Panic Attack Recovery

Recovering from a panic attack is not just about dealing with a single incident; it’s an ongoing process that includes two main stages. The initial stage focuses on preventing the onset of anxiety and panic. The second stage involves confronting and mastering the fear, which is important for recovery. Symptoms you might experience during this recovery include:

  • Lethargy
  • Sleepiness
  • Muscle soreness
  • Difficulty concentrating

The good news? The average recovery time from a panic attack is approximately 30 minutes.

Panic attack recovery can vary, influenced by multiple factors like:

  • Medical conditions
  • Side effects of medication
  • Recreational drug use
  • Lack of sleep
  • Consumption of stimulants

Understanding your symptoms and the factors that contribute to your panic attacks can simplify the recovery process. Think of it as a clear guide to help you navigate through the challenges of panic disorder.

Identifying Your Panic Attack Triggers

Getting to know the triggers of your panic attacks is crucial, as they can vary widely from stress and health conditions to substance use and traumatic events. Environmental influences, including your family situation and cultural expectations, also play a big part. The phrase “panic attack hangover” refers to the lasting effects after a panic attack, which is important to recognize for better management.

Noticing early symptoms like breathlessness or chest tightness can warn you of an approaching panic attack. To handle and prevent future incidents, it’s important to be aware of these early warning signs. Let’s explore how to recognize them.

Personal Reflection

Personal reflection is like being your detective in the journey to overcome panic attacks. It involves self-awareness and looking inward to pinpoint what emotionally and mentally provokes your panic. Reflecting on these aspects has several advantages: it brings insight, lessens stress, and enhances your ability to cope.

By taking the time for this thoughtful self-examination, you can learn to tell the difference between a looming panic attack and a brief surge of intense anxiety, which could help you sidestep a full-blown panic episode or serious anxiety condition.

Environmental Factors

The environment around us, social relationships, and situational stressors play a significant role in triggering panic attacks. Some common environmental triggers include:

  • Family composition
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Work stress
  • Negative life events

Understanding these factors is crucial for handling panic attacks effectively.

Recognizing these triggers helps you not only understand your panic attacks but also equips you with a strategy to work through them.

Physical Cues

Physical symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, chest discomfort, or lightheadedness, can signal you to an upcoming panic attack. By recognizing these signs early, along with being aware of potential emotional symptoms, you can take action sooner to lessen the severity of the attack.

Understanding these physical signs is important to managing your response to the signals of distress your body is giving you.

Navigating the Aftermath of a Panic Attack

The period following a panic attack can often leave you feeling tired, with a mix of emotional and physical symptoms. However, you don’t have to deal with the aftermath alone. Techniques such as breathing regulation, progressive muscle relaxation, and mindfulness can assist in regaining control and speeding up the recovery process.

Let’s take a look at each of these techniques in more detail.

Regulating Breathing

Controlling your breathing during and after a panic attack can make a significant difference. Practicing controlled breathing exercises can help to calm your body, reduce any remaining anxiety, and restore a sense of peace.

By focusing on your breathing, you can help to stabilize the feelings of panic and return to a calmer state of mind.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Progressive muscle relaxation is a method that helps relieve the muscle tension that often comes with panic attacks. By tightening and then releasing each muscle group in your body, you can reduce physical tension and anxiety. This technique is similar to a self-guided massage that helps to relax your muscles and promote a feeling of calm.

Mindfulness Practices

Mindfulness is about staying focused on the present and not getting overwhelmed by the chaos of a panic attack. Practicing mindfulness techniques such as meditation and deep breathing can help you manage ongoing anxiety and lower stress levels.

Think of it as a method to quiet your worried thoughts and bring peace to your mind.

The Role of Diet in Panic Attack Recovery

Your diet and hydration levels can have a significant impact on how quickly you recover from panic attacks. Staying hydrated and keeping your blood sugar stable is essential, as well as eating foods that provide the vitamins and minerals your nervous system needs. This can help both in recovering from and preventing future panic attacks.

Now, let’s explore the specific ways in which your diet can affect your recovery from panic attacks.

Hydration and Blood Sugar Balance

Proper hydration and stable blood sugar levels are essential for your body’s functioning. Not drinking enough water can worsen anxiety symptoms, and low blood sugar can cause adrenaline to spike, increasing anxiety.

It’s important to drink enough water and eat foods with complex carbohydrates to ensure your body functions properly.

Nutrients for Nervous System Support

Your nervous system requires the right nutrients to function effectively. Eating foods that are rich in B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, and magnesium can support your nervous system health and increase your mental well-being. This means providing your body with essential nutrients to help in managing panic attacks more effectively.

Establishing a Supportive Routine

Establishing a supportive routine is essential for managing anxiety and reducing the frequency of panic attacks. Maintaining healthy sleep patterns and engaging in regular physical activity are key components of this routine.

We will look at why proper sleep and consistent exercise are important for handling panic attacks and their lasting effects.

Sleep Hygiene

Quality sleep can significantly impact anxiety management. Establishing a consistent sleep routine and prioritizing quality sleep can improve mental health and reduce anxiety. Think of it as recharging your body’s batteries, providing it with the energy to combat anxiety and panic attacks.

Regular Exercise

Engaging in regular physical activity can effectively relieve stress. It helps release endorphins, the body’s natural mood lifters, reduces stress, and improves mental well-being. It’s like hitting the refresh button on your mental state, providing clarity and reducing anxiety.

Long-Term Management Strategies for Panic Disorder

The process of managing panic disorder is similar to a marathon rather than a sprint. Long-term strategies like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Exposure Therapy, and medication options can help manage panic disorder and reduce the frequency of panic attacks, making them effective panic disorder treatment options.

Let’s discuss each of these strategies in detail.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Visualize possessing a toolbox packed with strategies to handle panic attacks. That’s what Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) provides. It helps individuals identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to their anxiety.

Armed with these tools, you can tackle panic attacks head-on, replacing fear with understanding.

Exposure Therapy

Exposure therapy is facing your fears. It involves gradual exposure to anxiety-provoking situations, helping individuals build tolerance and reduce panic attack frequency. It’s like facing your fears head-on, learning that they are not as scary as they seem, and building resilience.

Medication Options

Besides therapy’s important role in managing panic disorder, medication can also serve as an effective instrument. Certain drugs, such as antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications, can help manage panic disorder symptoms and improve overall mental health. It’s like having an extra line of defense, providing additional support in managing panic disorder.

When to Seek Professional Help

Recognizing the right time to seek professional help is essential. If panic attacks or panic disorders are causing significant distress, interfering with your daily life, or if self-help strategies are not providing relief, it’s time to seek professional help. It’s like admitting you need a helping hand; there’s no shame in seeking assistance.

Leveraging Online Therapy for Recovery

In the current digital era, assistance is just a click away. Online therapy platforms offer convenient and secure access to mental health professionals, providing support and treatment for panic disorder and panic attack recovery. It’s like having a therapist in your pocket, providing support whenever needed.


Managing and recovering from panic attacks may seem overwhelming, but with the right knowledge, strategies, and support, it is entirely possible. Remember, it’s not about eliminating panic attacks overnight but about taking small steps each day toward recovery. You have the strength to overcome this; we hope this guide has given you the tools to do so.

Frequently Asked Questions

What to do after a panic attack?

After a panic attack, it’s important to focus on your breathing and relax. Find a comfortable, quiet place and engage in slow, purposeful breathing to relieve symptoms and calm yourself down.

How to get out of a panic attack?

Remember that it will pass. To regain control and reduce the symptoms of a panic attack, try taking deep breaths, smelling lavender, finding a peaceful spot, and using the 5-4-3-2-1 method.

What is the difference between a panic attack and an anxiety attack?

The main difference between a panic attack and an anxiety attack is that specific stressors often trigger anxiety attacks and may build up gradually, while panic attacks occur suddenly and unexpectedly.

What role does diet play in managing panic attacks?

Eating a well-balanced diet that supports hydration, blood sugar levels, and the nervous system can help manage and prevent panic attacks.

What are some long-term strategies for managing panic disorder?

Consider incorporating Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Exposure Therapy, and medication options for long-term management of panic disorder. These strategies have shown effectiveness in managing the condition.

Anastasiya Palopoli

Written by Anastasiya Palopoli

Anastasiya Palopoli, a board-certified Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, has extensive experience in nursing and psychiatric care, with degrees in Nursing from UCF and Psychiatric Mental Health from the University of Cincinnati. Following a residency in General and Child Psychiatry in Florida, she specializes in treating Dementia, psychosis, depression, and anxiety through holistic approaches. Beyond her professional life, she enjoys hiking, tennis, and traveling with her family.