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Panic Attacks: What's helpful to know

Panic attacks are a terrifying experience and happen to more people than one might realize.

“Ultimately, panic attacks are just fear of fear,” says Aaronson. In the US alone, at least 1 in 10 Americans experiences a panic attack in any given year — the same number as fall ill during a bad flu season — so if you find yourself having one, know that you have plenty of company.

And just as your body responds to the flu virus by igniting a fever, it can sometimes respond to fear by firing up a panic attack. But with a little help and a few key techniques in your arsenal, you can take the wind out of panic’s sails. “If [you’re] not afraid of it, then who cares if it happens?” says Aaronson. “It passes.”

Here are some helpful tips on understanding panic attacks better and what to do if you find you're experiencing one.

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