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Why Would Family Caregivers Have Panic Attacks?

May 10th, 2019

By: Linda Kunicki

Panic attacks are a form of anxiety that can be alarming. They affect up to 3 percent of the men and women in the U.S. While everyone experiences different symptoms, a panic attack often hits out of the blue and can make you feel like you're having a heart attack or going crazy. 

One woman found her panic attacks could hit at any time of the day or night. She could be in bed or cooking a meal. It started with a rush of dizziness and a heart rate that would soon top 130 beats a minute. She'd gasp for air and feel her hands and feet get tingly. Her chest would start to ache. After 10 minutes, those symptoms would ease and turn to nausea and diarrhea.

That's just one example of a panic attack. When they happen to family caregivers, it's frustrating. Doctors won't find anything wrong. Some will offer anxiety medications. Others will say just to start taking it easier. When you're a family caregiver, taking it easy isn't as simple as it may sound.

Steps That Can Help Ease Panic Attacks

Stress is a leading factor in panic disorder. There are three key treatments specialists in panic disorder recommend for de-stressing.

One is to learn deep breathing techniques. Deep breathing can help boost endorphins that ease stress. The easiest way to master this is by putting one hand on your chest and one on your belly. Take a deep breath that makes the hand on the belly move. You want that hand on the chest to remain still. Breathe in, hold it for a count of five, and exhale through the mouth.

The second is to learn how to identify tension. Clench muscles in different areas of the body. Focus on how those muscles feel. Count to five and fully relax the muscles. Learn to identify when the muscles are tense and when you have them fully relaxed.

Finally, your third step is to identify triggers and learn how to use positive self-talk to avoid feeling panicky. If you notice you have panic attacks after your parent gets agitated, kick in relaxation techniques before you become overly stressed.

Hire Respite Care to Ensure You Have Time to Unwind

There's a thing experts refer to as “me time” that is essential when you're a family caregiver. You need to have an hour or two to yourself every day. If you can't get at least one hour alone, you need to adjust your caregiver schedule.

Respite care ensures you have time to yourself. Caregivers can give you time alone. Use that free time to take a walk alone, hop in a warm bath, or go out with friends. It's essential to managing stress. Call a home care agency to arrange it.

Sources:
https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/panic-disorder

IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED ONE ARE CONSIDERING CAREGIVERS IN FOREST PARK, IL, PLEASE CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT BRIGHTSTAR CARE LA GRANGE. CALL TODAY: 708-551-2500.