What Causes Hospital Anxiety
Hospital anxiety primarily crops up in adults for three reasons: a feeling of guilt, a loss of control, and a reminder of mortality.
Guilt occurs when a person understands that they havent been maintaining their health properly. Be honest: when was the last time you sought medical attention that wasnt immediately necessary? Do you get regular check-ups? If not, even if subconsciously, you might see hospital anxiety because you fear that you havent been properly taking care of yourself.
This goes hand-in-hand with the feeling you have lost control of your own health. When a person enters a hospital, they are leaving themselves in the hands of doctors. In many ways, this forces us to admit that we are not entirely invulnerable. As much as we consciously know that we arent, some part of us wants to believe that we are a superhero. Its hard to remember that its okay to be human.
Finally, and similarly, hospitals remind us of our own mortality. Unfortunately, death cannot be stopped only postponed. The fear of that moment encroaches on the lives of many, constantly lurking in the back of their minds. To live a healthy life, mortality must be embraced. Death is always a possibility, which should only be a reason to live as fulfilled as we can. Luckily, if mortality scares you, a hospital might be the most comforting place in the world.
The Cause of Hospital Anxiety in Children
Hospital anxiety occurs in children for an entirely different reason: children often fear pain.
What Does The Er Give You For A Panic Attack
If you decide to head to the emergency room for a panic attack, you should expect a full-service checkup. This will usually start with an evaluation of your medical history and previous experiences with panic attacks or other types of stress- or anxiety-related disorders. Theyll also want to determine if any medication, supplements, drugs, or alcohol could be responsible for the physical symptoms youre feeling.
Your doctor may also want to perform an X-ray, run an EKG, and gather a urine and blood sample. This is all done in an effort to write off other issues that could be causing physical symptoms similar to a panic attack. In other words, be prepared to stay awhile.
If everything checks out and the doctor believes that you were, in fact, experiencing a panic attack, then theyll determine how best to treat you. They may recommend therapy or breathing exercises, and they may also recommend that you limit your intake of caffeine, supplements, and certain drugs. On top of this, they might prescribe medication that helps with anxiety, depression, and/or an irregular heartbeat.
Coping Support And Resources
In addition to your prescribed treatment, you may want to join a support group. It can be very helpful to talk with other people who are experiencing symptoms similar to yours. Its good to know that you are not alone. Someone else with similar symptoms can understand what youre going through and offer support and encouragement. Being part of a group can also help you develop new social skills.
Your community will likely have several support groups, either for your specific disorder or for anxiety in general. Check with your medical professionals to learn what resources are available in your area. You might ask your:
- mental health provider
- primary doctor
- county mental health services agency
You can also participate in support groups online. This may be a good way to start if you have social anxiety disorder or feel uncomfortable in a face-to-face group setting.
Treatment of diagnosed anxiety is often multi-disciplinary. This means you may see one or all of the following medical practitioners:
- primary care physician
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Which Medications Are Prescribed To Treat Anxiety
Several types of medications may be used to treat anxiety disorders. Talk with your doctor about the benefits, risks, and possible side effects before starting a medication.
- Antidepressants: Including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors are typically the first in line for medication treatments. These drugs include escitalopram , duloxetine , venlafaxine , and paroxetine .
- Buspirone: An anti-anxiety medication that may be used on an ongoing basis. It typically takes up to a several weeks to become fully effective.
- Benzodiazepines: These sedatives are generally used only for relieving acute anxiety symptoms on a short-term basis. Because they can be habit-forming, these medications arent recommended for individuals who have had challenges with alcohol or substance use.
Is Anxiety An Emergency
Going to the ER for anxiety is not uncommon, but is unneeded in most situations. Typically anxiety or panic episodes only last 30 minutes and can be remedied by lying down and with rigorous breathing exercises. It is recommended to take deep and slow breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth. An anxiety emergency or extreme panic attack may require an ER visit if the sufferer is unable to get it under control. Extreme cases of hyperventilation can lead to tachycardia, an occurrence where the heart is beating so fast that it is unable to properly pump blood throughout the body.
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Ways To Reduce Your Patients Anxiety
Have an anxious patient in your waiting room? Here are some tips that medical assistants can use to reduce their patients anxiety and make them feel better.
Start by getting to know them, and make some notes about things that are safe to discuss. A medical assistant can build trust this way and put the patient at ease.
Give the patient a distraction from the anxiety. A good magazine or some elevator music might do the trick. The medical assistant can preview the pain with the patient, associating something the patient is already familiar with to judge how painful the procedure will be.
The patient can bring a friend to the doctors office, or the medical assistant can remind patients that they are not alone. Let them know that others also have anxiety about going to the doctors office.
When To Go To The Emergency Room For A Panic Attack
Stress & Anxiety
If you are wondering whether you can get ER treatment for a panic attack or if you can even go to the emergency room for a panic attack, rest assured that ERs are here to help. In fact, going to the ER for a panic attack is highly recommended in many situations.
Lets dig a little deeper and discuss a few different examples of when you should go to an emergency room for a panic attack and review how ERs typically provide emergency anxiety relief
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When Should I Go To The Emergency Room For An Anxiety Disorder
Symptoms of an anxiety disorder can resemble symptoms of a heart attack or another health emergency. If youre experiencing an anxiety attack for the first time, or youre concerned in any way about your health, call 911 or head to the nearest ER. A healthcare provider will check you for serious or life-threatening conditions.
If youre having an anxiety attack and unsure whether you should head to an ER or not, its better to go. Healthcare professionals can make sure youre OK and give you any necessary treatment.
How Does Psychotherapy Treat Anxiety Disorders
Psychotherapy, or counseling, helps you deal with your emotional response to the illness. A mental health provider talks through strategies to help you better understand and manage the disorder. Approaches include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy is the most common type of psychotherapy used with anxiety disorders. CBT for anxiety teaches you to recognize thought patterns and behaviors that lead to troublesome feelings. You then work on changing them.
- Exposure therapy focuses on dealing with the fears behind the anxiety disorder. It helps you engage with activities or situations you may have been avoiding. Your provider may also use relaxation exercises and imagery with exposure therapy.
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Let Patients Know Theyre Not Alone
One reason that patients get anxious about going to the doctor is that they think they are the only ones who react with fear. Or they think their health is in extremely bad shape, and theyre afraid the doctor and staff will judge them.
Let nervous patients know that people with anxiety visit the office every day. The doctor treats people with all types of medical conditions, and the patient doesnt have to worry about being judged. This knowledge can sometimes be enough to help a patient relax.
Er Or Not: Panic Attacks
For those who are experiencing a panic attack, a trip to the emergency room might feel necessary. And while ER doctors can give medication to help calm you down, most panic attacks are probably not something you absolutely need to go to the ER for. Emergency physician Dr. Troy Madsen talks about the reasons for when a trip to the ER is a must in the case of panic attacks.
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What Are The Side Effects Of Antidepressants
Most antidepressants are safe, however the Food and Drug Administration requires all antidepressants to carry a black box warning, the strictest warning for prescriptions. In some cases, patients, especially children, teenagers, and adults under 25, may have an increase in suicidal thoughts immediately after starting an antidepressant or changing the dose. Typically, suicidal thoughts will subside as the body adjusts to the medication. Keep in mind that antidepressants are more likely to reduce suicide risk long term.
If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts while taking an antidepressant, please seek help. You can contact your doctor or emergency help, or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK .
Its important to remember, both therapy and medication can take time to work. It may take some trial and error to learn which treatments work best for you. Dont give up on treatment too early. A healthy lifestyle will also help combat anxiety. Make sure you get enough sleep and exercise, eat a healthy diet, and turn to family and friends for support.
Your Anxiety Is Harming Your Physical Well
Occasional anxious thoughts may cause more mental stress than physical symptoms. However, if you have an anxiety disorder, you will likely experience physical symptoms that sap your energy and interfere with your daily functioning. These signs could include sleeping troubles, unexplained muscle aches and digestive issues.
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Drug Interventions In Anxious Medical Patients
Limited evidence for effectiveness from randomised controlled trials, few clinicians are convinced
Causes some nausea and dizziness
Preparation for unpleasant procedures can remove the additional burden of facing the unknown. It may also allow planning of short term tactics for dealing with anxiety provoking circumstances. Anxious patients are highly vigilant and overaware of threatening stimuli. They often use quick fix techniques based on avoidance of threat to reduce anxiety such strategies are generally maladaptive and result in increasing disability. In some medical situations, however, such avoidance may not be a bad thing if the threat is temporary. A similar effect is seen with use of benzodiazepine to provide temporary relief from anxiety symptoms that will not recur because the stressor is not persistent.
Drug treatmentsSeveral drugs can be used to treat anxiety, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Long term benzodiazepine dependence and misuse are considered by many to be a problem in medical practice. Although the evidence for this is conflicting, the use of benzodiazepines may be reserved for the short term treatment of anxiety and for emergencies.
What A Mental Health Professional Looks For
Your mental health professional can diagnose you by evaluating your symptoms on specific criteria in the DSM-5, including whether:
- Youve experienced significant life changes recently
- Youve had anxiety and worry for at least six months
- Youve had trouble control your worries
- Your anxiety involves at least three of the most common symptoms of anxiety
- Your symptoms cause significant impairment in your everyday life
- Your symptoms are better explained by a different mental condition
Your mental health professional will work with you to uncover the root of your anxiety, make a diagnosis whether its generalized anxiety disorder or another anxiety disorder and find the best treatment for your unique symptoms.
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You Dont Use Medication Or Have Any Diagnosed Medical Conditions
Sometimes, medication use or an underlying physical health condition is the reason why you have anxiety. If thats the case, you wont be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Instead, your medical professional will help you overcome the underlying illness thats causing your anxiety. If you dont consume prescription or illicit drugs, and youve never been diagnosed with a health condition, your symptoms may be linked to an anxiety disorder.
What Happens If You Need Additional Help
If your ER team believes youre a threat to yourself or others, they may keep you in the hospital. This may be followed by inpatient treatment, intensive outpatient treatment, or outpatient treatment.
If the hospital doesnt have an inpatient unit, you might be referred to a different hospital that does have one.
If youve been taken to the ER involuntarily and your medical team believes you may self-harm or harm others you may have to stay in the hospital for 72 hours. Any additional time will require a court hearing.
Thomas Pederson, emergency room tech, says: Many of our patients actually go home at the end of the day with a referral to a regular therapist they can see 2 times a week.
This is generally at the discretion of the caseworker for that patient, but many patients say things they dont mean and pose no threat to others after theyve been talked to, he adds.
In other words, how long you stay in the ER depends completely on your situation and the amount of care you need.
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What Other Options Do I Have
A hospital stay can be helpful in many situations, but it also has its drawbacks. Its not the best long-term solutionyoure not likely to walk away from the hospital completely cured. But it can be a great first step. In the United States, a hospital stay can also be expensive. Fortunately, there are ways to get financial assistance, so you shouldnt let this prevent you from keeping yourself safe if its your best option.
Whether you decide to go to the hospital or not, its important to know that you have lots of options. If youre in crisis, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK or text MHA to 741-741 to talk to a trained counselor from Crisis Text Line. For a longer-term solution, you can schedule an appointment with a therapist or talk to your doctor about trying a medication. Joining a support group can be helpful. You can also improve your mental health on your own by learning more about mental illness, opening up to someone you trust, and making lifestyle changes.