Frightening Symptoms Of Anxiety
Chest tightness is an anxiety symptom that often causes a severe amount of distress. That is because chest tightness has a negative connotation that links it to severe health conditions. This can be very daunting for individuals who do not know much about the physical effects of stress and anxiety in their lives.
What Is Chest Pain Due To Anxiety
An Anxiety Attack can cause many different symptoms in the affected individual, but the most frightening of all the symptoms is the chest pain that occurs as a result of an anxiety attack. It is a frightening pain because chest pain is more often than not considered as an indicator for a cardiac issue, which causes the affected individual to start worrying more about his or her health but the fact of the matter is that chest pain is one of the most common symptoms of an Anxiety Disorder. Chest pain can be caused due to both anxiety as well as panic attacks and is caused due to a phenomenon called hyperventilation as a result of anxiety.
This article will help you differentiate between chest pain caused by anxiety and chest pain caused by cardiac related factors, and how to get rid of anxiety induced chest pain but first let us know its causes.
What Are Some Techniques For Relieving Chest Pain From Anxiety
Overall, anxiety is the type of health condition that is best handled proactively.
Conditions like generalized anxiety disorder or panic disorder are not all-or-nothing conditions. Think of them more as having building blocks.
When you start to experience physical symptoms from your anxiety, thats your body telling you that your stress has built to a point where it needs to be reduced.
Here are some techniques that can help.
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How Can You Tell The Difference
Heart attack symptoms include:
- Racing heart
- Shaking and sweating
Both of these conditions can have at least two overlapping symptoms, and knowing how the symptoms occur can be a lifesaver.
1. The pain severity For a panic attack, the chest pain is sharp and localized to the center of the chest. During a heart attack, you will feel pressure and a squeezing sensation starting from the center of the heart spreading to the arm, jaw, and shoulder blades.
2. Duration of the symptomsAlthough for both heart attack and anxiety the symptoms may appear suddenly, the duration can tell you which is which.
Most anxiety attacks last for 20 to 30 minutes, while for heart attacks the symptoms can last longer and worsen with time.
Theory Vs Practice: Youre Not Always Going To Get Ideal Cbt
Its easy enough to get optimistic about CBT in the abstract, but in my personal experience with several psychologists over the years, and based on a lot of communication with readers well, lets just say not all CBT is created equal. Theres a great range of quality and creativity in its application, a big gap between the best possible CBT and the kind that many people will actually encounter in the wild being sold for a bare minimum of $100/hour.
Good CBT probably gives you a better chance than winging it on your own, but its still not an easy road. And its most common weakness in practice seems to be an unfortunate overemphasis on the thinking part using conscious thought as leverage. Which I cynically assume is an issue simply because thats what is easiest to do in a therapy session.24
Thinking may be what gets us anxious in the first place, and it may be hard to fight fire with fire, hard to use calming thoughts to subdue or replace worried thoughts. Or, worse, worried thoughts may over time become embodied, so entrenched in our behaviour and biology that they are no longer just thoughts and fresh attempts to think less worried thoughts may have little impact, especially at first.
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Treatment Of Panic Disorder In Patients With Chest Pain
Panic disorder, as described above, can have profound effects on social, financial, and occupational function, as well as on elevated rates of cardiovascular disease. Fortunately, PD is highly treatable, as borne out by a number of trials using both pharmacologic and psychotherapeutic treatments. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors , venlafaxine, and tricyclic antidepressants are among the antidepressants with proven efficacy in PD, with rates of response of approximately 50% to 70% over several months. Benzodiazepines, especially alprazolam and clonazepam, have also been proved effective in PD. Furthermore, cognitive-behavioral therapy , the best studied of the psychotherapies for PD, appears to be comparable to medication in the treatment of PD. Treatment of patients with PD can be individualized on the basis of a patient’s preference for medication or psychotherapy, prior history of response, presence of comorbidity, and severity of symptoms.
Symptoms Of Anxiety Disorders
The symptoms of anxiety can vary depending on the specific type of disorder a person has. There are some symptoms, however, which are common in most people. According to WebMD, a few of the main symptoms of anxiety disorders include:
- Feelings of panic
- Problems sleeping – difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
Other symptoms which might be experienced in specific forms of anxiety disorder are:
- Feelings of detachment
- A sense of impending doom
- Chills and sweating
- Feeling like you are being smothered
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Can Anxiety Cause Chest Pain And What To Do About It
Medically Reviewed By: Whitney White, MS. CMHC, NCC., LPC
Do you ever start to get chest pains when you’re feeling anxious? Your chest begins to tighten, and you might have sharp, persistent pain. Not only is it uncomfortable, but it’s also a bit scary. You might even wonder whether or not you have a heart attack. Anxiety can be the cause of chest pain, and this article will help you know what to do to help stop it.
Chest pain should always be taken seriously. If you struggle with anxiety-induced chest pain, we’ll discuss tips in this article that can help you learn how to manage and overcome it. For example, certain types of therapy, such as CBT are 60% effective, among other options.
How Do You Tell The Difference
It can be challenging to distinguish between angina and an anxiety attack, especially because emotional distress can also increase the amount of oxygen the heart requires and trigger angina. Angina can occur at rest or with exertion , so its very difficult to distinguish the two based on symptoms alone.
Experience can also help differentiate them. If youve been diagnosed with either angina or a panic disorder before, you may recognize the discomfort as fitting your diagnosis or what triggers your symptoms.
In the case of chest pain, you should seek medical help right away. Your doctor will run several tests, including an electrocardiogram and a blood test called troponin, to look for signs of heart damage. These tests are the most definitive ways to distinguish the two conditions.
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How Do Heart Attack Symptoms Differ In Women
The classic symptoms of heart attack in men are a heavy central chest ache and squeezing and tightness that can radiate into the jaw or the left arm. Women may experience similar symptoms not only in the chest area but in between the shoulder blades. They can also feel generalized upper back or neck discomfort, says Weeks.
Typical Vs Atypical Chest Pain
Professionals have divided chest pain under the headings of typical and atypical. Typical chest pain is thought to be more likely related to a cardiac event. Atypical chest pain, on the other hand, is thought to decrease the likelihood that the pain has cardiac origins.
But, defining what is typical and what is atypical is not set by clear boundaries. And, although atypical chest pain reduces the likelihood of heart trouble, some people do, indeed, have atypical chest pain with a heart attack or other cardiac episode. This may be even more common in women, as heart disease in women often has different symptoms than heart disease in men.
The following provides a general overview of what is usually considered the characteristics of typical chest pain indicative of heart trouble and atypical chest pain often associated with panic disorder. It is not intended to serve as a tool for self-diagnosis.
All chest pain should be evaluated by a physician for proper diagnosis. Keep this in mind even if you’ve had a panic disorder related chest pain in the past. People with panic disorder may have heart disease just as those who do not have panic disorder, and, as noted later on, may be even more likely to develop heart disease
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Remedies To Get Rid Of Anxiety Chest Pain
Once you realize your chest pain doesnt stem from the heart, there are several techniques you can do to reduce the pain and control your anxiety. These often involve training both mind and body, which will take time some time to master. Learning the following techniques can be a great starting point to aid you in controlling your anxiety.
Deep breathing: Practicing deep breaths can calm both the mind and body. Also, when this technique is mastered, it will help normalize heart rate, which is a contributor to chest pain. It is recommended to find a quiet room or area and inhale for 10 seconds, holding for one second, then exhaling for another 10 seconds.Self-realization: If you suffer from a chronic anxiety disorder, one of the first steps is to recognize you have a disorder. This will help your mind and body fully commit to finding treatments and methods that work for you, helping you better control your anxiety.
Visualize a beautiful scene: Thinking of a place that you have been to that made you calm and relaxed and transporting yourself there mentally can be especially helpful in unavoidable moments of anxiousness.
Take care of your health: By taking good care of your body, getting regular exercise, getting enough sleep, and eating well, your body will regulate hormones and also take good care of your mind. While this may not completely eliminate your risk of suffering from anxiety attacks, it will fight against them.
Self Hypnosis Meditation To Stop Anxiety
ultimate way to break the cycle of anxiety
With this self-hypnosis meditation audio, your brain receives a clear signal that you are safe. if you practice this deep relaxation meditation on a daily basis, your brain gets a chance to realize you are not in danger and is open to re-program new thoughts and ways of behaving.
All this happens without any effort on your side. All you have to do is listen.
You can listen on your computer or device or via the free app which you can access anytime.
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Treating Chest Pain Caused By Anxiety
If you have chest pain caused by anxiety, you have several options.
To treat panic attacks, your doctor may suggest cognitive behavioral therapy. This treatment can help you understand fears or situations that may trigger a panic attack.
You doctor may also recommend medication, such as:
- SSRIs or antidepressants, such as sertraline , paroxetine , and fluoxetine
- SNRIs or antidepressants, such as venlafaxine
- Benzodiazepines or sedatives, such as clonazepam and alprazolam
You doctor may also suggest certain lifestyle changes, such as:
- Learning relaxation and stress management techniques
- Avoiding alcohol, drugs, smoking, and caffeine
- Getting enough slee
- Increasing physical activity
Chest Pain Caused By Anxiety Or Panic Attacks
However, chest pain can also be caused by a number of conditions that have nothing to do with the heart. One of the more common non-cardiac problems that frequently produces chest pain is an anxiety attack.
Laura Porter / Verywell
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Can Stress Cause Chest Pain During Panic Attacks
Your bodys stress responses are activated during a panic attack. These are also known as your fight or flight responses.
Contraction of your muscles is one of these stress responses. Your body does this to protect you from danger, as the tension makes you more resilient. This stiffness in your chest wall muscles and nearby areas can cause chest pain both during and after panic attacks.
Another stress response that can be activated during a panic attack is hyperventilation, where you over-breathe as your body believes it is going to have to move fast. This can cause you to use your chest muscles to expand your rib cage, causing chest pain when your muscles become tired. This hyperventilation can then cause carbon dioxide levels in your blood to decrease, another factor that can lead to chest pain as well as tingling, dizziness, numbness and a dry mouth.
Stomach and digestive functions also alter during a fight or flight response and it is possible for problems with these functions to be experienced as chest pain or tightness.
Difference Between Anxiety Chest Pain Vs Heart Attack Chest Pain
Anxiety chest pain and chest pain due to a heart attack are often confused with each other, as they both present with chest pain. Chest pain in general can be a hard symptom to diagnose. However, there are some key differences between chest pain and anxiety and chest pain from a heart attack.
- Fear of impending doom
- Weakness in the neck
These symptoms, along with anxiety, are often the result of stress hormones that have been released in the bloodstream. They can cause a number of physiological, psychological, and emotional changes in the body that act to get it ready for a perceived danger. This is commonly referred to as a stress response or fight or flight.
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Now Bear In Mind That Anxiety Or Stress Can Trigger Angina
However, angina is a cardiac situationthe result of inadequate blood flow in the heart.
So even though a moment of acute anxiety could set this off, this doesnt mean the situation is all in your head.
An episode of angina could also include shortness of breath and left arm pain, even jaw and back pain.
In fact, angina, though stereotyped by images of people clutching their chest, can also include dizziness, sweating and nausea.
And yes, angina can be triggered by anxiety or angst, and can present as just the two symptoms of chest and left arm pain.