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How To Combat Anxiety Attacks

Tell Yourself Youre Just Processing Information

How to Combat Anxiety and Panic Attacks

When youre suffering from PTSD, panic attacks are so often you cant tell when youre actually having one. Youre in a constant state of fight or flight for months on end. Youre too scared to fall asleep and terrified while being awake. Eventually, when you do finally fall asleep, you wake up from nightmares that scare you awake. Sometimes they come as often as every ten minutes.

A social worker once told me that nightmares are the brains way of processing information. The best way to combat them is to say processing information every time you wake up from one. This little trick has helped desensitize nightmares over the long-term so you feel less panicked after waking up from one.

Acknowledge The Panic Attack

People spend most of their time in the two wrong places: the past or the future. In the past, you drown yourself in depression. In the future, youre scared for your life. But in the present, thats where you can find the most joy. While having a panic attack can be wildly unpleasant, its important to sit with yourself in the present moment and acknowledge it.

Tell yourself, Right now, Im having a panic attack. I feel scared, anxious, and worried that something will go wrong. However, right now nothing bad is happening right now. I am safe. I feel myself taking a deep breath in. I feel the oxygen entering my lungs. I feel my toes grounded on the floor. Im shaking my arms back and forth. This moment isnt perfect but it will pass. Good moments are up ahead. All I need to do is feel this present moment.

Stopping Panic: What To Do When Youre Having A Panic Attack

Here, some strategies that have worked for others that may help you:

  • Just breath, deeply. Relaxing your body can help sidestep a panic attack. Practice breathing in through your nose for a count of five, hold it for five, and then breathe out through your mouth for a count of five. Or take a class in meditation and breathing techniques.
  • Count backward. If you suddenly feel your heart pounding or experience other physical clues that a panic attack is barreling for you, try this distraction suggested by Rob Cole, LHMC, clinical director of mental health services at Banyan Treatment Centers. Start counting backward from 100 by 3s. The act of counting at random intervals helps you to focus and override the anxious thoughts that are trying to sneak into your psyche. Better still keep loose change in your pocket. Add a dime to a nickel, then add two pennies, and so on. By controlling your thoughts and focusing on something outside yourself you will being to feel calmer.
  • Get grounded. Grounding yourself is another helpful technique. Tune yourself into 4 things around you that you can see, 3 things you can touch, 2 that you smell and 1 you can taste. Again, forcing your mind to consider something outside yourself helps, says Cole.
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    A Guide To Overcoming Panic Disorder

    About 10 to 33 percent of people will experience at least one panic attack this year. Even if youve never had a panic attack, you probably know what they are like. A pounding heart, sweating, trembling, dizziness, chills.

    Only 2.7 percent of people who experience a panic attack in a given year will meet the criteria for panic disorder, which is a type of anxiety disorder characterized by recurrent and often unexpected panic attacks.

    An individual with panic disorder also worries about experiencing future panic attacks. In other words, panic disorder is the fear of panic attacks, or the fear of fear. Such anticipatory fear can cause significant distress and negatively impact an individuals daily life.

    How To Deal With Panic Attacks

    How to Stop a Panic Attack

    A panic attack is a feeling of sudden and intense anxiety.

    Panic attacks can also have physical symptoms, including shaking, feeling disorientated, nausea, rapid, irregular heartbeats, dry mouth, breathlessness, sweating and dizziness.

    The symptoms of a panic attack are not dangerous, but can be very frightening.

    They can make you feel as though you are having a heart attack, or that you are going to collapse or even die.

    Most panic attacks last somewhere from five minutes to half an hour.

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    Is Anxiety Always Bad

    Having anxiety can be extremely distressing, isolating, debilitating, and embarrassing, particularly for those with more extreme experiences. The physical impact of anxiety is very real as well. For example, research shows that prolonged anxiety may contribute to advanced aging, impaired immune function, poor sleep, poor diet, poor digestive function, and stress on the cardiovascular system.

    However, it is worth exploring that at the root of anxiety is your mind and body alerting you to pay attention to something. Sometimes, this hyperfocus can be positive or helpful. For example, if you are a person who has anxiety about the weather, you may be extra prepared when big storms or other climate events happen. Or if you feel intense dread over hosting social occasions, you might be meticulous about your party preparations.

    You might fear failure or being late, which might make you vigilant about getting your work done early or arriving places on time, respectively. But the cost of living with anxious thoughts can be extremely taxing emotionally and physically.

    Do I Have An Anxiety Disorder

    If you identify with any of the following seven signs and symptoms, and they just wont go away, you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder:

  • Are you constantly tense, worried, or on edge?
  • Does your anxiety interfere with your work, school, or family responsibilities?
  • Are you plagued by fears that you know are irrational, but cant shake?
  • Do you believe that something bad will happen if certain things arent done a certain way?
  • Do you avoid everyday situations or activities because they cause you anxiety?
  • Do you experience sudden, unexpected attacks of heart-pounding panic?
  • Do you feel like danger and catastrophe are around every corner?
  • Need to talk to someone?

    Get affordable online counseling from BetterHelp or visit HelpGuides directory for free helplines and crisis resources. HelpGuide is reader supported. We may receive a commission if you sign up for BetterHelp through the provided link. Learn more.

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    Talk To A Therapist With Experience In Anxiety Attacks

    People often fear the worst when they’re having an anxiety attack. Most of the time, theres no underlying physical problem, such as a real heart attack. But you should get the medical all clear if you have repeat anxiety attacks, just to be sure you dont need additional treatment. Then find a cognitive behavioral therapist with experience treating anxiety to help you through.

    When An Anxiety Attack Occurs How Do You Respond Here Are A Few Tips That Can Help You Overcome Anxiety

    How to Stop a Panic Attack Fast – How to overcome Anxiety and Panic attacks

    With over a decade of editing experience, Tom is a content specialist for Advanced Recovery Systems,… read more

    Anxiety is a well-known disorder in the United States. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, approximately 40 million American adults have an anxiety disorder. Learning how to overcome anxiety is a familiar challenge for people throughout the country.

    Anxiety is excessive stress or worry related to a general or specific situation. People with anxiety often obsess over the potential for unwelcomed events or outcomes to occur. Overcoming anxiety requires more than just choosing not to fret when situations arise. If you have this type of mental health disorder, there is a specific process that many use to overcome anxiety: the AWARE approach.

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    What Is A Panic Attack

    A panic attack is a brief episode of intense anxiety, which causes the physical sensations of fear. These can include a racing heartbeat, shortness of breath, dizziness, trembling and muscle tension. Panic attacks occur frequently and unexpectedly and are often not related to any external threat. A panic attack can last from a few minutes to half an hour. However, the physical and emotional effects of the attack may last for a few hours. Panic attacks are common. Up to 35% of the population experience a panic attack at some time in their lives. A panic attack can also be called an anxiety attack. Without treatment, frequent and prolonged panic attacks can be severely disabling. The person may choose to avoid a wide range of situations for fear of experiencing an attack.

    Stop An Anxiety Attack With Belly Breathing

    Feeling short of breath is a hallmark symptom of an anxiety attack. But you can make the feeling worse by taking short, shallow breaths. Try belly breathing instead to stop the anxiety attack.

    Carbonell compares the type of breathing youll need with the breathing of infants, whose bellies rise and fall with each inhale and exhale. When an anxiety attack starts, exhale deeply, loosen your shoulders, and focus on some longer, deeper inhales and exhales that let your belly rise and fall. Place one hand on your belly if you need to feel this happening.

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    What Makes You Afraid

    Lots of things make us feel afraid. Being afraid of some things like fires can keep you safe. Fearing failure can make you try to do well so that you wont fail, but it can also stop you doing well if the feeling is too strong.

    What youre afraid of and how you act when youre afraid of something can vary per person. Just knowing what makes you afraid and why can be the first step to sorting out problems with fear.

    How can we manage and reduce stress? Our free downloadable pocket guide offers you 101 tips: www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/how-to-stress.

    How Do Psychologists Treat Anxiety

    10 Ways to Preventing Panic Attacks

    The treatment outcomes for anxiety are very positive through counselling sessions with an experienced psychologist. This is because psychologists have experience in understanding human behaviour and can assist in identifying emotional triggers. By doing this, psychologists can provide you with practical solutions to address the underlying issue so that they do not keep coming back.

    As the practice of psychology is an evidence-based one, many psychologists will employ psychoeducation and cognitive behavioural therapy to treat people with anxiety.

    Psychoeducation is a process where a psychologist helps you understand the nature of anxiety so that you are no longer afraid of it.

    Cognitive behavioural therapy is based on the reduction and elimination of anxiety symptoms. CBT has been shown to be highly effective in the short-term. Research indicates that over 60% of people who undergo CBT experience substantial improvements in anxiety symptoms. It is also the best long-term treatment for anxiety as CBT teaches you skills that you can apply on-demand.

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    If You Think You Have Panic Disorder Self

    Many individuals with panic disorder realize they have the disorder after a trip to the emergency room , as panic attack symptoms can easily be mistaken for a heart attack or stroke. An ER can only offer short-term relief or provide a referral to mental health services.

    Many people who are concerned about panic disorder visit their primary care provider . Unfortunately, according to Gruner, PCPs can sometimes mistreat panic disorder by prescribing benzodiazepines, such as lorazepam or klonopin . However, current research shows that benzos are a counterproductive long-term treatment approach.

    Benzodiazepines can reduce your anxiety in the short-term, but people can become dependent on them to the point where they dont feel safe without it. They usually attribute progress to the benzo, so it can make treatment progress difficult, says Gruner.

    Gruner advises individuals to be wary if their PCP prescribes benzodiazepines. There is increased awareness among PCPs now with the problem of prescribing benzos to people with panic disorder, but its not perfect, says Gruner. So, its worth educating yourself about effective treatment before meeting with your PCP.

    Ideally, a PCP would recommend a therapist or psychiatrist. A cognitive behavioral therapist who has experience with anxiety disorders is an ideal choice.

    Some People May Develop Panic Disorders

    For many people, the feelings of panic occur only occasionally during periods of stress or illness. A person who experiences recurring panic attacks is said to have panic disorder, which is a type of anxiety disorder. They generally have recurring and unexpected panic attacks and persistent fears of repeated attacks.

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    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:

    How You Get Tricked

    Anxiety Attack Relief: How To Stop An Anxiety Attack

    * If you have Panic Disorder or Agoraphobia, you keep getting tricked into believing that you’re about to die, go crazy, or lose control of yourself.

    * If you have Social Phobia,you keep getting tricked into into believing that you’re about to look so unreasonably nervous in front of people that you will be completely humiliated and be cast aside by your community.

    * If you have a Specific Phobia, you keep getting tricked into believing that you’re likely to be overcome by some external object or animal, or by your fear of it.

    * If you have OCD, you keep getting tricked into believing that you’ve set in motion a terrible calamity. You might fear that your neighborhood will burn because you left the stove on, or that your family will get poisoned because you mishandled the insecticide.

    * If you have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, you keep getting tricked into believing that you’re about to be driven mad by constant worrying.

    In each case, the episode of fear passes without the expected catastrophe. You’re none the worse for wear, except that you’re more worried about the next episode. The details seem different, but it’s the same anxiety trick.

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    Give Yourself An Exit Strategy

    Sometimes, anxiety is due to feeling out of control. You cant always be in the driver seat of your life, but you can take steps to identify your triggers and cope with circumstances that cause anxiety.

    Does the thought of going into a social situation or meeting new people make you want to jump off a bridge? As everyone at a party engages in exciting conversations, maybe you see yourself holding up the wall and counting down the seconds until youre put out of your misery. You drove with friends and cant leave, so you spend the entire night looking like the punchbowl attendant. Its this fear that makes you decline invitations and sleep through the weekends.

    But what if you had an exit strategy in place before leaving the house? For example, instead of carpooling with your party animal friends, you could drive yourself. This way, you can leave if your anxiety starts to build and you cant handle another minute of awkward interactions. The more in control you feel, the less anxiety youll have.

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