Ben Miller health: Death in Paradise detective struggles with panic attacks – symptoms

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In a candid interview, Ben said he suffers from anxiety. “I do quite a stressful job,” he explained. “There’s a lot of unpredictability and part of me really, really enjoys that, but I think there was part of me that found it quite difficult,” he told HuffPost UK. Talking about his experience with panic attacks, the 54-year-old isn’t clear on his triggers.

“It can happen any time of day, or night, and it can literally happen during a conversation,” he said.

“It doesn’t seem to follow any pattern. I’ve never woken up in the morning and thought, ‘I’m going to have a panic attack today.'”

The actor continued to say that he “always seems to be surprised by [his panic attacks]”.

In order to manage his anxiety, Ben has picked up the daily ritual of meditation.

“I don’t get transported onto clouds of bliss or anything,” he said of the relaxation technique.

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“Most of the time nothing really seems to happen, but where I do notice the difference is in the rest of my day,” he continued.

However, Ben still loses his “rag” on occasions, and can still feel anxious about things

“I suppose it’s now just to a lesser extent,” he concluded.

The signs of a panic attack

Described as “sudden feelings of terror that strike without warning” by WebMD, several symptoms follow, which can include:

  • “Racing” heart
  • Feeling weak, faint, or dizzy
  • Tingling or numbness in the hands and fingers
  • Sense of terror, or impending doom or death
  • Feeling sweaty or having chills
  • Chest pains
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Feeling a loss of control

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Usually brief, a panic attack tends to be over with in 10 minutes, although symptoms may persist for a longer amount of time.

Those who’ve experience one panic attack are more susceptible to further attacks than those who haven’t experienced one before.

If panic attacks occur repeatedly, and there is concern about more attacks, then a person is considered to have a panic disorder.

For those with a panic disorder, anti-anxiety medication may be prescribed by your GP.

What to do during a panic attack

The mental health charity Mind recommends “focusing on your breathing” during a panic attack.

“It can help to concentrate on breathing slowly in and out while counting to five,” said Mind.

Another technique can be to “stamp on the spot”, or to “focus on your senses” by tasting mint-flavoured sweets or gum, or cuddling something soft.

Following a panic attack, Mind recommends paying attention to what your body needs.

Do you feel you need to rest somewhere quietly? Do you need to eat or drink something?

Peer support, keeping a journal, breathing exercises and looking after your physical health are all self-care management tools to address anxiety.

If you’d like more support with your mental health challenges, please visit Mind.

BBC One’s Death in Paradise returns for its 10th season on Thursday, January 14, at 9pm.

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