Other Issues With Physical Sensations And Anxiety
Anxiety also causes other issues with physical symptoms namely that it makes normal sensations more pronounced.
Your body experiences various discomforts all the time. Those that do not experience anxiety often shrug them off or may not notice them at all. To those without anxiety, theyre just sensations like any other.
But those with anxiety, especially health anxiety and panic attacks, often feel these same physical sensations more strongly. They become too in-tune with their own body, and so the sensations feel stronger and trigger more worry and concern. Objectively the experience may be no different to someone without anxiety, but subjectively it can feel much worse because your mind notices each and every one.
So not only are there numerous physical symptoms of anxiety there may also be more pronounced non-anxiety issues as well.
How To Calm Anxiety Or Panic Attacks
There are a number of ways you can face anxiety or panic attacks. There are many holistic things you can do to help calm yourself down, like simple lifestyle changes, for example. Experts have many other coping techniques they can share with you too.
Cynthia Catchings, LCSW-S, LCSW-C, CMHIMP, EMDR, has some great ideas.
You can calm anxiety or panic attacks by learning to recognize the symptoms and practicing the following:
- Acknowledging that youre experiencing an episode and reminding yourself that it will not last forever
- Practicing deep breathing, including the 4-7-8 breathing exercise
- Doing a quick body scan, asking yourself where the anxiety is felt, and releasing it by shaking that body part
- Talking to your anxiety and permitting it to stay for a bit, but reminding it that it has to leave
- Practicing, meditation, mindfulness, or Tai Chi
- Practicing Creative Visualization, where you imagine yourself in a calm and happy place like the beach or a mountain for a minute or 2, and then continue with your daily activities
Keep in mind that there is hope a professional can treat both issues. Remind yourself about this when you want to feel calm.
An anxiety or panic attack may also be treated with cognitive-behavioral therapy and/or anti-anxiety medication. A panic attack can also be treated with CBT or with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and other antidepressants.
Some Coping Mechanisms For Dealing With An Attack In The Moment
The most important thing to remember when you feel a panic attack come on is to breathe. This will help you stay more focused on your environment.
Panic attacks cause people to hyperventilate, but if you can get that under control, you will calm down quicker. This will help to deal with your body and minds fight-or-flight reaction.
Try to count every breath you take. Take a breath, focus on it, and then exhale. Count to 10 and then breathe again, repeating this action.
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Does Anxiety Ever Go Away
There is no absolute way to end anxiety. People cannot fix how their brain operates with a procedure the same way someone can cure a broken bone, a torn ligament or a weak heart.
Someone may experience severe anxiety during certain events of their life, like during pregnancy. Anxiety is usually caused by a combination of genetics and environmental factors, with the latter being the primary cause of the disorder. Since environmental factors are difficult to control, anxious symptoms can remain prevalent for long periods of time.
People also can go lengths of time without feeling any anxiety due to using effective coping strategies and avoiding situations that could cause distress. If they have a history of anxiety or are prone to it due to genetics, then theyre likely to experience anxiety when future stressful situations arise.
If not properly managed, your anxiety could persist for the majority of your life. However, with proper assistance from mental health professionals, online counseling like teletherapy, or medication, you can diminish the effects of your anxiety and prevent it from controlling your life.
How Are Anxiety Disorders Best Treated
The exact causes of anxiety disorders are not fully understood, but research indicates that inherited traits, trauma, underlying medical issues, extreme stress, and substance use disorders can contribute. The severity of your anxiety and how it impacts your daily functioning determine how to treat your anxiety best.
For mild anxiety, lifestyle changes are a highly effective way to manage symptoms. Lifestyle changes include getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, exercising, using mindfulness techniques, limiting or avoiding substance use, and taking prescribed medications where indicated.
For moderate to severe anxiety, the best course is to seek help from an anxiety treatment center. Anxiety treatment includes medication and psychotherapy. At Harmony Hills, we offer the following evidence-based therapies to help treat anxiety disorders:
Anxiety does not usually go away altogether, but effective treatment is available, and you can learn how to manage your symptoms.
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Questions To Ask Your Doctor
Asking questions and providing information to your doctor or health care provider can improve your care. Talking with your doctor builds trust and leads to better results, quality, safety, and satisfaction. Visit the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality website for tips at .
Ways To Prevent A Panic Attack
Depending on the type and nature of the panic attack, there may not be a complete way to prevent their occurrence. Even if total prevention is not possible, taking an active role to manage anxiety through multiple avenues can help reduce the risk of future attacks.
Seven ways to prevent a future panic attack are:5,6
- Accept the anxiety: start treating anxiety by acknowledging and accepting it. Recognizing the influence of anxiety can help refine the plan.
- Speak kindly: the self-talk a person uses can heavily influence their overall anxiety. People should not be harsh or judgmental to themselves and instead lean towards kindness
- Practice relaxation: anxiety can be reduced through deep breathing, muscle relaxation, yoga, and meditation. Practicing these techniques can help decrease stress.
- Address the diet: the foods a person eats can have a significant impact on their anxiety. Healthy, whole foods with plenty of fiber and protein will regulate blood sugar and reduce anxiety.
- Exercise the stress: walking, swimming, weight lifting, and other physical activities can help diminish anxiety and regulate stress.
- Resist the negative coping skills: alcohol, drugs, food, sex, and shopping may seem like good ways to manage stress, but they are negative coping skills that wont prevent a panic attack.
- Improve sleep habits: sleep is essential to feeling and performing well, so finding ways to establish a healthier bedtime routine can boost rest and reduce stress.
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When Should You See A Doctor
Anxiety attacks don’t just feel awful but they can also do you harm. If you are experiencing persistent or excessive anxiety that is interfering with your life, see a doctor. A doctor can help rule out other causes of your anxiety and can also prescribe medication to help with it.
In addition to seeing a doctor rule out other causes, seeing a therapist can help you manage your symptoms or keep them from getting worse.
The good news is that anxiety attacks respond very well to treatment and often in a short amount of time. Also, there are many different therapies to choose from, including several different kinds of clinical trials, so you are not stuck with just one option.
Anatomy Of An Anxiety Attack
People who struggle with anxiety attacks sometimes wonder what the stages of an anxiety attack are. Because there is no exact definition of an anxiety attack, there are no set stages that will be common to everyone experiencing one. The stages or parts of anxiety attacks that one person experiences may be completely different from the experiences of someone else.
However, there are three stages of stress response that often lead to anxiety. These three stages are:
While these stages address the stress response and not anxiety attacks specifically, the stages of the stress response will influence how an anxiety attack develops for most people.
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What Are The Complications Of Panic Attacks
Panic attacks are highly treatable. Unfortunately, many people put off seeking help because theyre embarrassed. Untreated panic attacks or panic disorder can interfere with your ability to enjoy life. You may develop:
- Anticipatory anxiety: The possibility of having a panic attack triggers extreme anxiety.
- Phobias: A phobia is an extreme, unreasonable fear of something specific. For instance, acrophobia is a fear of heights, while claustrophobia is a fear of enclosed spaces.
- Agoraphobia: Approximately two-thirds of people with panic disorder develop agoraphobia. This anxiety disorder makes you afraid to be in places or situations where a panic attack might happen. The fear can become so extreme that you become too afraid to leave your house.
The Link Between Anxiety Symptoms And Depression
Many people with anxiety disorders also suffer from depression at some point. Anxiety and depression are believed to stem from the same biological vulnerability, which may explain why they so often go hand-in-hand. Since depression makes anxiety worse , its important to seek treatment for both conditions.
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What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor
If you have panic attacks, you may want to ask your healthcare provider:
- Why am I having panic attacks?
- What is the best treatment for panic attacks?
- How long will I need therapy?
- How long do I need to take medications?
- Should I look out for medication side effects?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Panic attacks can be extremely uncomfortable. Although theyre not physically harmful, they can take a toll on your mental health and stop you from doing the things you love. Dont be embarrassed to tell your healthcare provider that you have panic attacks. Your provider can help you overcome fears and anxieties that trigger attacks. You can get better with treatments like psychotherapy and medications.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 08/12/2020.
Panic Attacks And Panic Disorder
Panic disorder is characterized by repeated, unexpected panic attacks, as well as fear of experiencing another episode. Agoraphobia, the fear of being somewhere where escape or help would be difficult in the event of a panic attack, may also accompany a panic disorder. If you have agoraphobia, you are likely to avoid public places such as shopping malls, or confined spaces such as an airplane.
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Will Panic Attacks Ever Go Away
The healing journey for panic attacks takes time and commitment. Its important to do the work that needs to be done in order to see the results that you want.
Every person is different and their triggers or circumstances for having panic attacks are different. Some may see results within a few weeks and others may take a few months. Others may work on reducing their panic attacks instead of it fully going away.
In most cases, with the right help, you can not only reduce the intensity of your panic attacks but also the frequency which will support you in leading a life that is more within your control.
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.
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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Can Panic Attacks Last For Days
If panicky symptoms last several hours or the better part of a day, its more likely to be ongoing high anxiety rather than a panic attack. These episodes of high anxiety can last days or longer.
Its possible to have multiple panic attacks that come in waves for hours at a time. It may feel like the panic attack is lasting hours, but each peak is a single attack. In these cases, some of the symptoms may not go away entirely. If your heart keeps racing for an extended period of time, you should seek medical attention to monitor the condition and help relax the palpitations.
Panic attacks are often associated with anxiety disorders, with generalized anxiety disorder being the most common. Both high anxiety and panic attacks can either have triggers or have no discernible cause. GAD can be treated with medication and therapy. When its controlled, you might have fewer and shorter panic attacks.
Having repeated panic attacks or waves of panic attacks over several days is cause for concern. The side effects of panic attacks put your body in a constant state of stress, which can be damaging to your physical health. Furthermore, high anxiety and multiple panic attacks are bad for your mental health, aggravating conditions like anxiety and depression and creating phobophobia, which is a fear of fear. Fearing another panic attack can place your mind and body in a pre-panic state and take a toll on your everyday life.
When To Get Help
See a GP if you’ve been experiencing symptoms of panic disorder.
They’ll ask you to describe your symptoms, how often you get them, and how long you have had them.
They may also carry out a physical examination to rule out other conditions that could be causing your symptoms.
It can sometimes be difficult to talk about your feelings, emotions and personal life, but try not to feel anxious or embarrassed.
You may be diagnosed with panic disorder if you have regular and unexpected panic attacks followed by at least a month of continuous worry or concern about having further attacks.
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You Wont Lose Control
Even though a strong anxiety attack can make it seem like you could lose control, you wont because you are always in control of your thoughts and actions.
One way to test this is to have something with you, such as your mobile phone, that you can pull out and look at any time you feel an anxiety attack starting. Youll find that you can look at your phone any time you want even though your body is stimulated from a high degree stress response.
Reminding yourself that you are always in control of your thoughts and actions can remove the fear of being out of control that so often causes anxiety attacks to sustain.
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