When Should You Seek Out Professional Help For Anxiety Attacks
Touroni reminds us that anxiety is a basic, human emotion that we all experience when our bodies anticipate threat or danger. But she notes that if feeling anxious and worried has become a daily occurrence for you, and it’s been happening for a long period of time, you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder. There are all kinds of treatments available that can help you better manage your symptoms so it’s really important that you seek the right support as soon as possible, she explains.
An individual should seek professional help for anxiety, when anxiety causes problems with an individual’s daily functioning, adds Barlow. She explains that once a diagnoses has been made that an anxiety attack is caused by anxiety disorder, it may be helpful to work with an expert in order to determine the triggers for the anxiety and seek professional help to learn coping skills and if necessary to be evaluated for medication.
Learn To Recognize The Physical Symptoms
Panic attacks are often mistaken for heart attacks, strokes, or other serious medical conditions, given their sudden onset and intense physical symptoms. These can include:
- Racing heart or heart palpitations
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Chills or hot flashes
Panic attacks may be characterized by one or more of these symptoms, but all of them do not need to be present during an episode.
Repeat A Mantra To Keep Yourself From Losing It
I dont enjoy using the word mantra, but you need to have something to say to yourself to keep you in a relaxed state. One thing I felt when I was having an anxiety attack is that I couldnt breathe and that I might die from asphyxia. So I started repeating the same sentence over and over to remind myself that I just needed to breathe.
This is what I said: If Im talking, Im breathing, and if Im breathing, Im alive.
I said this because I remembered that if you couldnt breathe, it would be impossible to talk. So I just repeated it a lot. There might be different arguments for this, but at that moment, that was my reasoning.
Depending on what your anxiety attack is causing you to do, have a mantra so that you can repeat it to stay focused on your breathing.
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How To End An Anxiety Or Panic Attack
An anxiety attack can be terrifying, but it wont kill you. If you want to overcome it, take a deep breath and know it will end soon.
“Anxiety” is a general term that describes a variety of experiences, including nervousness, fear, apprehension, and worry, that are common in several mental health disorders. While most of us have anxiety at some time, this is completely different from an anxiety attack or anxiety disorder. Normal feelings of nervousness, worry, and fear often have a known trigger . But when you’re having a full blown panic attack or anxiety attack, the symptoms chest pain, flushing skin, racing heart, and difficulty breathing can make you feel as though you’re going to faint, lose your mind, or die. The reality is, you wont. The key to surviving is to learn all you can about anxiety attacks and practice the skills you need to get through them.
According to the Mayo Clinic, signs of an anxiety attack include:
- Abdominal cramping
- Fear of loss of control or death
- Feeling of unreality or detachment
- Shortness of breath or tightness in your throat
- Trembling or shaking
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America offers practical strategies in how to deal with stress and anxiety attacks, including:
- Accept that you cannot control everything.
- Maintain a positive attitude.
- Learn what triggers your anxiety.
Here’s how to stop an anxiety attack and recover.
What To Do When You Have An Anxiety Attack
Anxiety attacks often need to run their course. Once they’ve started, there is very little that you can do to stop them completely. They’re a reaction that your body has that is somewhat beyond your control. They can be prevented, and their severity can be lessened, but they are very hard to stop.
Reducing its severity has to do with reacting correctly to the symptoms. Remember – the physical symptoms you experience are very real, and very disruptive. But they’re not related to any health problem, and solely a result of your anxiety. If you believe you feel an anxiety attack coming or you’re certain you’re in the middle of the one, try the following:
Drinking water may also calm the mind, and if you feel strong enough, a good jog can get your body to breathe better and use oxygen at a healthier pace.
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Take Any Prescribed Medications
Depending on the severity of panic attacks, a doctor may prescribe a use-as-needed medication. These medications typically work fast.
Some contain a benzodiazepine or a beta-blocker. Propranolol is a beta-blocker that slows a racing heartbeat and decreases blood pressure.
Benzodiazepines that doctors commonly prescribe for panic attacks include Valium and Xanax.
However, these drugs can be highly addictive, so people should use them exactly as their doctor prescribes. Taken with opioids or alcohol, they can have life threatening adverse effects.
A doctor may also describe selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which can help prevent panic attacks from occurring in the first place.
Learn 9 Ways To Lessen Or Stop The Symptoms
A panic attack can be stopped or controlled with mind-body techniques such as relaxation, distraction, and mindfulness.
Many people will experience at least one panic attack in their lifetime. Learning to recognize panic attacks is an important first step toward managing them, which can often be done without the need for medication.
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How Do The Senses Coping Techniques Work
Try to call out five things you can see at the moment. Gently call them out and say their names. I can now see my phone, hands, the table Im working on, the yellow wall in my front, and the black window by my right.
Try to call out four things you have perceived that you can remember. I can smell the cake I just had, the scent of fresh grass, the smell of the air, the odor of one of my farts.
Try to call out three of the things you have tasted recently. I have just tasted the cake, an energy drink, and some water.
Try to call out two things you have felt. Right now, I can feel my clothes on my body and the table my hands are on.
Try to call out a single thing you can hear. I can listen to Rihanna and Kanye West singing Four Five Seconds from Wildin.
When you keep practicing all of these, you will forget what made you anxious in the first place.
What Anxiety Attacks Feel Like
Because of the very physical nature of anxiety attacks, they often are mistaken for some type of serious illness, and in some cases they may create a feeling of health anxiety. For many, the experience of an anxiety attack resembles that of more serious diseases, such as:
Those who only experience an anxiety attack once may overcome it and their fears of a health problem may dissipate. For others, the experience of an anxiety attack may be so pronounced that it creates serious health fears that lead to hospitalization or several visits to the doctor.
It should be noted that only a doctor can rule out more serious conditions, so there is no harm in seeing the doctor for both a medical opinion of the causes of your experiences and to ease your mind. But note that when you suffer from anxiety attacks it can be very difficult for a doctor to convince you that you that you are healthy. Treating anxiety attacks is often the only way to find relief.
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Do I Need Treatment For Anxiety
Thereâs a lot you can do on your own to relieve anxiety, but sometimes you need help. Psychotherapy and medication are the two main treatments for anxiety disorders.
Signs that itâs time to talk to a mental health professional include:
- Constant or nearly constant anxiety
- Anxiety that gets in the way of your daily activities, like work or social life
- Anxiety about things that donât actually threaten you
Check your health insurance policy to see what mental health services your plan covers. Then, review a list of your in-network providers to find one to connect with.
âYou donât want to add to your anxiety by paying big out-of-pocket fees,â Kissen says.
Your primary care doctor may also be able to recommend a mental health professional with experience treating anxiety and anxiety disorders.
Rosmarin notes that itâs important to find a provider you click with and trust. He also says therapy doesnât need to go on indefinitely to be effective.
âA course of cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety may be eight to 10 sessions,â he says. âThereâs also data to suggest that people feel substantially better after just one therapy session for panic disorder.â
Focus On Something Specific
Your mind races, and you cant seem to focus. A lot of thoughts are going through your mind, but you need to focus on something. Thats the thing about anxiety, the overwhelming sense of no control. To combat that, you need to focus on some point to keep yourself from losing it.
Choose a point to focus on so that you can quickly go there during an anxiety attack.
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Name What Youre Feeling
When youre experiencing an anxious episode, you may not realize whats going on until youre really in the thick of it.
Recognizing anxiety for what it is may help you calm down quicker.
Name that this is anxiety not reality and that it will pass, says Kim Hertz, a psychotherapist at New York Therapy Practice. When you are in a heightened state of anxiety, you want to disrupt that cycle, and for some people, thought-stopping techniques are effective and as simple as saying stop to the internalized messaging that heightens anxiety.
In other words, consider recognizing that what youre feeling is anxiety and talking yourself through it.
Embrace absolute truths, says Steven Sultanoff, clinical psychologist and professor at Pepperdine University. I will get through this one way or another.
Naming your sensations and feelings may help you step away from them. This is anxiety, it is not you and it wont last forever.
Learn To Recognize The Signs Of Anxiety
Anxiety disorder is the most common mental health condition in the United States, affecting up to 18% of the population. Knowing the signs of anxiety can help you realize when someone you love is having fearful thoughts or feelings. Symptoms vary from person to person but can be broken into three categories:
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Yourself In Your Happy Place
When To Seek Immediate Care
Sometimes, anxiety can be overwhelming and it could lead you to experience great distress. This is natural and not uncommon. A therapist can help you find more effective ways to manage these emotions.
If your anxiety is persistent and intrusive, consider seeking the help of a professional. You can also check out our free anxiety quiz to find out whether what youre experiencing might be something more.
If youre feeling anxious, there are things you can do to help yourself calm down quickly. There are also lifestyle changes you can make that can help lower your stress levels and help you cope with potential triggers.
You might also find it helpful to talk to a therapist.
These resources might help:
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Use Muscle Relaxation Techniques
Muscle tension is a symptom of anxiety, and muscle relaxation techniques can help reduce tension and promote relaxation during an attack. Progressive muscle relaxation aims to release tension in one group of muscles at a time to relax the whole body.
Much like deep breathing, muscle relaxation techniques can help stop your panic attack in its tracks by controlling your bodys response as much as possible.
If you attend muscle relaxation therapy, your therapist might take you through the following
- First, you may learn how to tense the muscles before releasing the tension.
- Then, you will learn how to relax the muscles without tensing them first.
- You may also learn how to relax specific sets of muscles, for example, in the shoulders, for practical use in everyday situations.
- Finally, you may learn how to practice rapid relaxation, when you can identify any areas of tension and release it as needed.
To start relaxing your muscles at home, consciously relax one muscle at a time, starting with something simple like the fingers in your hand, and move your way up through your body.
Muscle relaxation techniques will be most effective when youve practiced them beforehand.
How To Recognize A Panic Attack
A panic attack is a type of anxiety disorder. Someone having a panic attack is experiencing an intensely anxious reaction to something that may or may not be obvious. Therefore, it is often more helpful to pay attention to the symptoms than to determine the cause of the panic attack. Some visible signs of a panic attack include:
- A feeling of being out of control
- Fear of death or impending doom
Panic attacks tend to come on quickly and often without warning. Most panic attacks only last a few minutes, but they can last longer. Although they may feel unsafe to the person having one, panic attacks are not dangerous.
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Know The Signs Of A Panic Attack
“Often, when you don’t know the physiological signs of a panic attack you may feel more scared imagining you’re having a heart attack,” says Annie Wright, LMFT and the owner and clinical director of Evergreen Counseling. “Read up on the signs of a panic attack so you know what you’re dealing with.”
Dr. Rodriguez recommends scouring the Anxiety and Depression Association of America’s website, which covers all the symptoms:
- Palpitations, pounding heart or accelerated heart rate
- Sensations of shortness of breath or smothering
- Feelings of choking
- Feeling dizzy, unsteady, light-headed, or faint
- Chills or heat sensations
- Derealization or depersonalization
- Fear of losing control or going crazy
Rodriguez adds that its critical to also get a physical exam to rule out other problems.
What Does Anxiety Attack Mean
Anxiety attacks often have triggers, although they can be triggered by nothing at all. Some people experience anxiety attacks during periods of intense anxiety, but many others experience them “out of nowhere,” usually as a response to a physical sensation. For example, it’s not uncommon to have your first anxiety attack simply because your heartbeat speeds up, because anxiety has caused you to be hypersensitive to these changes.
The causes of anxiety attacks are everything from severe stress to hyperventilation to a need to regain control. It differs for different people, which is why treating it has a great deal to do with identifying triggers. Once you’ve experienced an anxiety attack, the fear of another anxiety attack may actually trigger an attack, because those that are afraid of getting a panic attack again often pay too much attention to their own body, and react to any changes in sensations.
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Find An Object To Focus On
Complications Of Panic Disorder
Panic disorder is treatable and you can make a full recovery. But it’s best to get medical help as soon as you can.
If you do not get medical help, panic disorder can escalate and become very difficult to cope with.
You’re more at risk of developing other mental health conditions, such as agoraphobia or other phobias, or an alcohol or drug problem.
Having panic disorder may affect your ability to drive. The law requires you to inform the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency about a medical condition that could impact your driving ability.
Visit GOV.UK for further information about driving with a disability or health condition.
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