Dr. Johan Cloete
Psychology & Neurofeedback Practitioner

Contact Me:

073 458 4079 (Bookings)

078 308 3070 (Whatsapp)

Trauma-related panic attacks can be terrifying and overwhelming. They usually strike suddenly and leave you feeling powerless, helpless, and out of control. The good news is that you can learn to manage and overcome these attacks with learned coping strategies. These strategies will provide you with valuable tools and insights to cope with the challenges of panic attacks and achieve a greater sense of calm within the panic storm.

What do you need to understand about panic attacks and trauma triggers?

Panic attacks usually occur suddenly with intense fear or discomfort- especially in people who have experienced trauma. Trauma-related panic attacks can be triggered by a specific event, such as a car accident or a physical assault, or they can be triggered by everyday situations that remind you of the trauma. The symptoms can include rapid heartbeat, sweating, trembling, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, and a feeling of impending doom.

Panic attacks can also have a range of effects on you as a person. They can cause you to be isolated, feel anxious, and depressed. You may feel constantly on edge, waiting for the next panic attack. These feelings can affect your relationships, work, and overall quality of life.

It is essential to understand that these panic attacks are a natural response to stress and fear. They are neither signs of weakness nor mental illness. But, if left untreated, trauma-related panic attacks can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

It is, therefore, essential to seek help if you are struggling with trauma-related panic attacks.

If you want to cope with these attacks, it is also essential to identify your triggers and understand how they affect you. Doing this allows you to develop a plan to manage the symptoms and thus reduce the occurrence of panic attacks in your life.

Different ways to cope with panic attacks

  1. Deep breathing exercises involve taking slow, deep, long breaths and focusing on your breath as it enters and leaves your body. Exercises like this can help you relax and reduce your anxiety.
  2. Grounding techniques involve focusing on your senses and your surroundings. For example, you might focus on the feel of your feet on the ground, the sound of a nearby bird, or the smell of fresh flowers. Doing this can help you feel more connected to the present moment and reduce your feelings of panic.
  3. Mindfulness involves focusing on the present moment and accepting your thoughts and feelings without judgment. Practicing mindfulness can help you increase your self-awareness and thus reduce your anxiety.
  4. Adequate sleep, regular exercise, and a healthy diet can reduce anxiety and improve mental health.
  5. A support network can be an essential part of coping with trauma-related panic attacks. Sharing your difficulties with trusted friends and family members could help you feel less alone and more supported. Support groups are another helpful way to connect with others who have experienced trauma and are struggling with panic attacks.
  6. Self-care is an integral part of managing trauma-related panic attacks. It includes taking care of your emotional, physical, and spiritual needs.
  7. Taking care of yourself. Self-care activities include taking a warm bath, reading a book, spending time in nature, practicing a hobby, and resting; that is, activities that help you relax and bring you joy.

There are specific modes of treatment that your therapist can use that could help you manage the symptoms of panic attacks and effectively reduce the impact of trauma-related panic attacks.:

  1. CBT is a therapy that helps you change and identify negative thought patterns and behaviors. It can be effective in treating trauma-related panic attacks.
  2. EMDR and Brainspotting are brain-based therapies. EMDR uses eye movements to assist you in processing traumatic memories. Brainspotting therapy uses spots in a person’s visual field to help them process trauma. Both types of treatment access trauma trapped in the part of your brain that is responsible for motion, consciousness, emotions, and learning. Both EMDR and Brainspootting can