I just posted this as a response to another topic, but I realized how many people are suffering from panic attacks because of our sh*tty spouses and the pain we're feeling. I thought I'd copy and paste it here, just as a help. A lot of us don't have health insurance thanks to divorce and other messy things, so antidepressants and anxiolytics aren't always an option. Sooo here goes:
IT IS THE FEAR OF HAVING A PANIC ATTACK THAT CAUSES A PANIC ATTACK.
You have the ability to stop an attack at the onset. When you start to feel dizzy, or afraid, or nervous, take really deep breaths for a full minute. Many panic attacks actually start because we STOP BREATHING and the lack of oxygen puts our bodies into survival (panic) mode.
Basically, your body feels like it's drowning on dry land and it gets scared that these are its last minutes on Earth. Your body is physically preparing itself for death. How you handle the mental aspect of that instinctive fear of dying is all up to you.
You have to tell yourself, when you feel that first bout of intense dizziness, "I'm not afraid of panic attacks. Panic attacks don't kill me and they don't hurt me. They just go away. I'm not going to die. This is going to be over by this afternoon. I'm not scared of something that only lasts ten minutes. I am not afraid of my emotions."
Once you understand that panic attacks are a cycle that we build upon, it is possible to intervene. We are the only ones in control of our thoughts and we are responsible for our own fears. When we are no longer afraid of having panic attacks, we will no longer have panic attacks.
Try this for a week before trying meds. Nothing is without side effects--the general principles in medication: does the good outweigh the harm?
(I'm a med student and paid thousands of dollars for this information, lol. drugs aren't always the answer!)