By: Nick
June 30, 2023

How to Treat Panic Attacks in Teens

Table of Contents

“Panic attack” is a phrase that has become interchangeably used with anxiousness, but that isn’t a typical panic attack. An actual panic attack is a sudden sharp chest pain that makes breathing challenging. As a result, the heart beats abnormally. Panic or anxiety attacks are prevalent in teens, and they can be incredibly disturbing because they are unaware of how to deal with them. According to the CDC, about 5.8 million toddlers and teenagers have an anxiety disorder.

 A panic attack is spontaneous. It originates from nowhere, making it difficult to cope with. Teens that experience constant attacks develop extreme fear and anxiety about when the next one will come. It becomes all too complicated for them, as they will fear going to certain places with their friends.

Multi Concept Recovery is a comprehensive outpatient recovery center that offers teen treatment in Los Angeles. Contact us today to learn more about how our Burbank rehab centers can help.

How to Treat Teen Panic Attacks

Panic attacks can be destructive and a hindrance to everyday living. Teens may begin to cut down on some exciting activities and avoid places where they have experienced the attacks.

 Treating panic attacks in teens involves medications, therapy, and lifestyle changes. Let’s look at some options below:


Cognitive-behavioral therapy is helpful in treating teen anxiety attacks. Often the first-line treatment, CBT, identifies the symptoms of the attack. The therapist teaches the teenager to practice tolerating these symptoms as unharmful.

 Furthermore, the clinician exposes the teenager to sensations, like climbing the stairs, to increase heart rate and induce an anxiety attack. Then the therapist teaches the patient to do deep breathing to calm themselves down. Once the teenager can conquer that fear of attack, the panic attacks become less severe and reduce significantly.

Help Others

Studies show helping others will give you inner peace and happiness. Selflessness and joy are connected. For teens, you can do good by volunteering for an NGO, serving the homeless, or helping with items at the store.


It is an essential lifestyle activity everyone, including teens, should engage in. Exercising regularly has been proven to reduce anxiety symptoms and increase enthusiasm. Endorphins are released when you exercise, increasing self-esteem and decreasing tension. It also helps with coping with stress better.

Engage in Creative Activities

Sometimes, taking your mind off your thoughts creates calmness, which can help prevent panic attacks. Drawing and painting can keep you occupied. Listening to music and sculpture are other viable options.

 Indulging in creative activities introduces a form of flow. Accumulation of flow can lead to sustainable joy. Teens must find enjoyable activities to sustain the flow.


Antidepressants like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can free the brain from worry so that you can be in the present more. With less worry, the panic attacks will be fewer.

Practice Yoga

Yoga increases one’s resilience to cope with anxiety and stressful situations. Research shows that yoga stimulates the vagus nerve, a major cranial nerve responsible for heart rate, digestive processes, and autonomic functions. Yoga, which involves conscious movement and deep breathing exercises, can relax the body. It can help teenagers prevent anxiety attacks.

Symptoms of Panic Attacks in Teenagers

A panic attack has peculiar symptoms, which may include;

  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Worries about developing another attack
  • Faster heart rate
  • Feelings of dying
  • Nausea

A person with any symptom avoids doing anything that reminds them of the attack. For example, they might stop running if they notice their heart rate beating faster. Anxiety attacks peak at 10 minutes and subside after 20-30 minutes.

 In most cases, a panic attack graduates into a panic disorder. This disorder is recognized by the consistent worry of experiencing another attack. The brain’s arc that assesses the danger may become hyperactive, and the person gets uncomfortable in places where he witnessed the previous panic attack. As a result, they avoid that place altogether.

An anxiety disorder is a serious condition. If you or someone you know has this disorder, the person should seek help.

What Causes Panic Attacks in Teens?

Genetic, environmental, and biological factors cause panic attacks. Other causes are trauma and substance abuse.

  • Teens who grew up in a family with anxiety disorders will be prone to anxiety attacks.
  • Neurotransmitter imbalances can contribute to panic attacks.
  • Extreme stress from school, family disputes, or a significant life change can increase teenagers’ risk of panic attacks.
  • If the teenager witnessed abuse or an accident while growing up, such a traumatic experience might trigger anxiety, leading to a panic attack.
  • Abusing alcohol, caffeine, and drugs can trigger an anxiety attack.

MCR Can Help Teens Manage Panic Attacks

Anxiety attacks can deny teenagers the opportunity to explore and enjoy their lives. With proper management, they can reduce the frequency of attacks. The strategies mentioned above can go a long way in managing anxiety attacks. However, it gets complicated when it becomes a disorder. You need to reach out to a mental healthcare specialist for recommendations. 

Multi Concept Recovery can provide the tools to cope with anxiety disorders and other mental conditions. We work with our clients to create a comprehensive and effective plan. Give us a call today!