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How To Deal With Bad Anxiety Attacks

Understand Differences In How Anxiety Manifests

Dealing With Severe Anxiety ( Panic Attacks) | Let’s Gab

Because of evolution, were wired to respond to fear by either fight, flight, or freeze. For different people, one of these responses will typically dominate. For instance, my spouse tends to freeze and will bury her head in the sand rather than deal with things that make her feel stressed and panicky. I tend more toward fighting, and will become irritable, excessively perfectionistic, or dogmatic if I feel stressed.

When you understand that anxiety is designed to put us into a mode of threat sensitivity, its easier to understand someone who is feeling scared and acting out by being irritable or defensive, and to find compassion for them. By paying attention to how anxiety manifests in the person you care about, you can learn their patterns and be in a better position to help.

Write Down Your Thoughts

Writing down whats making you anxious gets it out of your head and can make it less daunting.

These relaxation tricks are particularly helpful for those who experience anxiety sporadically. They may also work well with someone who has generalized anxiety disorder when theyre in a bind too!

However, if you suspect you have GAD, quick coping methods shouldnt be the only kind of treatment you employ. Youll want to find long-term strategies to help lessen the severity of symptoms and even prevent them from happening.

How To Tell If You’re Having An Anxiety Attack

If you feel like you had severe anxiety, then you had an anxiety attack. Any form of severe anxiety can count as an attack. But for those that are experiencing something more like panic attacks, the experience tends to be similar between different people.

Recall that anxiety attacks can mimic other health problems. If you haven’t been to a doctor, it’s a good idea to go at least once to rule out any more serious issues. Make sure your doctor knows about anxiety, however. Not all doctors are aware of the severity of anxiety attack symptoms. Some may not believe that anxiety can cause so many physical symptoms and sensations, but it absolutely can. Thats why its so important to find the right doctor.

The symptoms below are often experienced differently by different people. During an anxiety attack, your body experiences a wave of stress that is so profound, it’s difficult to know exactly how your individual body will react. Yet below are some of the most common symptoms of an anxiety attack:

You may not experience all of these symptoms at once either, and each one may cause various degrees of severity. You may also feel as though there is no way that it is an anxiety attack. Anxiety attacks and panic attacks are often so severe that the sufferers live in constant fear of the symptoms coming back.

Anxiety attacks also tend to peak around 10 minutes . Then as they dissipate, they often leave you feeling fatigued and drained, possibly fearful of another attack.

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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.

S For Getting Through A Panic Attack

Dealing With Panic Attacks

“It feels like I’m dying.” Those are the words people use to describe what a panic attack feels like. The process of addressing and managing them is a journey there’s no immediate cure or course of action that will stop a panic attack in its tracks.

It takes time, patience and dedication to identify your unique triggers. However, there are steps that serve as preemptive measures to help shorten the duration of a panic attack when it is occurring, and reduce the frequency and severity of your anxiety in the long term.

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Reframe Anxious Behavior And Stop Scaring Yourself

As we mentioned, anxiety attacks are mostly caused by apprehensive behavior scaring ourselves with worry and imagining the worst. Therefore, being afraid of anxiety attacks is one of the most common reasons why anxiety attacks sustainand why people develop Panic Attack Disorder. Since fear is the most common reason why anxiety attacks occur and persist, refusing to scare yourself removes the main reason anxiety attacks occur.

When you stop scaring yourself with worry and imagining the worst, you eliminate the most common cause of anxiety attacks. Yes, you can learn to stop scaring yourself. This is the second most powerful way to eliminate anxiety attacks.

For example, rather than thinking, Oh my gosh, this is awful. What if I completely lose it? Use more affirmative language such as, Ok, this doesnt feel good right now. But its just my bodys emergency response and it will end as I stop scaring myself.

Or, instead of thinking, This is awful. I cant stand it! Reframe that thought to, This is what a high degree stress response feels like. Many people go to great lengths to feel this way. Its a normal part of the bodys survival mechanism. Its not dangerous and I dont have to be afraid of it.

The stress response is our ally not our enemy.

Keep in mind that the Stress Response is our ally when in real danger. It gives the body an emergency boost so that we are better equipped to deal with the threat.

Take A Moment To Slow Down

Take moments throughout the day to relax and center yourself. Deep breathing or taking part in an activity you enjoy can help break the anxiety cycle.

What would be great is if we practice the deep breathing, the relaxation technique throughout the day, said OMara. Set an alarm for morning, noon and night for five minutes.

Take a walk, listen to music, get a massage or practice yoga on your lunch break. Taking mini breaks will help take your mind out of stressful moments and make you more productive, too.

    Michelle Llamas has been writing articles and producing podcasts about drugs, medical devices and the FDA for nearly a decade. She focuses on various medical conditions, health policy, COVID-19, LGBTQ health, mental health and womens health issues. Michelle collaborates with experts, including board-certified doctors, patients and advocates, to provide trusted health information to the public. Some of her qualifications include:

    • Member of American Medical Writers Association and former Engage Committee and Membership Committee member
    • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Health Literacy certificates
    • Original works published or cited in The Lancet, British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and the Journal for Palliative Medicine
    • Patient Advocacy Certificate from University of Miami

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    Limit Or Avoid Caffeine

    Theres a reason you rely on that morning cup of joe to help you get ready for the day. But besides boosting wakefulness, caffeine also activates your autonomic nervous system and puts your fight-or-flight response on standby. Caffeine can increase anxiety on its own, and people with anxiety disorders tend to be more susceptible to its effects.

    Best Ways To Stop Anxiety Attacks

    How To Deal With Severe Anxiety & Panic Attacks: Get To The Source Of The Problem

    Research has found that almost everyone will experience an anxiety attack at least once during their lifetime. People who behave more apprehensively than the general population often experience many anxiety attacks. Some anxious people, approximately 3 percent, develop panic attack disorder .

    The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders , published by the American Psychiatric Association , defines panic attacks as: A panic attack is a sudden episode of intense fear that triggers severe physical reactions when there is no real danger or apparent cause.

    Panic becomes a disorder when panic attacks are frequent and interfere with a normal lifestyle. More specifically, the DSM-5 describes the criteria for panic disorder as panic attacks that must be associated with longer than 1 month of subsequent persistent worry about: having another attack or consequences of the attack, or significant maladaptive behavioral changes related to the attack. To make the diagnosis of panic disorder, panic attacks cannot directly or physiologically result from substance use , medical conditions, or another psychiatric disorder. Other symptoms or signs may include headache, cold hands, diarrhea, insomnia, fatigue, intrusive thoughts, and ruminations.

    Anxiety attacks are often characterized as experiencing:

    • A feeling of overwhelming fear
    • Feeling of going crazy or losing control
    • Feeling you are in grave danger
    • Feeling you might pass out
    • A surge of doom and gloom
    • An urgency to escape

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    What Is Extreme Anxiety

    It is important to understand that extreme anxiety is not a clinical term or a diagnosis. Instead, it is a way that people can describe the subjective experience of severe anxiety or an anxiety disorder.

    How people experience anxiety can differ from one person to the next. One person may feel symptoms like butterflies in their stomach, while another person might have a full-blown panic attack.

    Suppose you are experiencing life-limiting anxiety and makes it difficult to function in different areas of life including work, school, and relationships. In that case, there is a chance that you might have an anxiety disorder.

    If Youre Craving Sweets Heres What To Eat Instead

    Just because youre ditching or limiting processed sugar doesnt mean you have to deny yourself the pleasure of sweet-tasting food.

    In addition to being a doctor known as an expert on food and mood, Naidoo is also a chef and the author of the forthcoming book This Is Your Brain on Food.

    Here are a few of her favorite low- or no-sugar recipes.

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    Calming Step : Focus On Breathing

    Your breath affects your mental state, so breathing is a crucial part of stopping a panic attack.

    During a panic attack, your breathing speeds up, a signal that your body is in fight-or-flight mode, Dr. Josell says. Rapid breathing sends a clear signal that youre in danger, but slow, deep breathing helps to turn off the fight-or-flight response.

  • Find a quiet place to sit or lie down, if possible. But even if you cant, deep breathing can benefit you anywhere.
  • Place one hand on your belly and one hand on your chest.
  • Take a slow, deep breath in through your nose, and exhale out through your mouth. Breathe at a pace that feels comfortable for you.
  • Notice your hands. The hand on your belly should move as you inhale and fall back into place as you exhale. The hand on your chest should stay relatively still.
  • Repeat for several minutes or until you feel calm.
  • Could You Be Suffering From Panic Disorder

    How to Cope at a Party When Anxiety is Your Plus

    Take our 2-minute panic disorder test to see if you may benefit from further diagnosis and treatment.

    During the day if she was out, the attack felt like my head suddenly weighed a thousand pounds and my chest would get really heavy. It literally felt like something was pulling me down. I would usually have to head home immediately. I would then experience foggy vision where itactually looked like there was fog in the air. I also experienced double vision and parts of my bodylike my neck or one arm or one entire side of my facewould go totally numb.

    In addition to the emotional turmoil and the physical manifestations that Caroline and Kirstie describe panic attacks can cause palpitations, pounding heart or accelerated heart rate sweating trembling or shaking sensations of shortness of breath or smothering feelings of choking chest pain or discomfort nausea or abdominal distress feeling dizzy, unsteady, light-headed or faint chills or overheating numbness or tingling feelings of unreality or being detached from oneself fear of losing control or going crazy and fear of dying.

    Isolated attacks are bad enough. But when the attacks recur in a short period of time or when the fear of another attack is so strong that you begin to avoid situations, places, and people that may trigger an attack, you may be diagnosed with panic disorder.

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    Engage In Light Exercise

    Research shows that regular exercise can not only keep the body healthy but boost mental well-being, too.

    Experts have found that exercising at 60 to 90 percent of your maximum heart rate for 20 minutes three times per week can help reduce anxiety.

    If you are not used to exercising, talk with your doctor before starting. There is some evidence that starting aerobic exercise anew can trigger additional anxiety in people with an anxiety disorder. Building up gradually can help your body adjust and avoid breathing problems. Aerobic exercise includes activities such as running on a treadmill.

    If you feel stressed or youre hyperventilating or struggling to breathe, stop and take a rest or choose a more moderate option, such as walking, swimming, or yoga.

    What Is A Panic Attack

    Panic attacks can be caused by heredity, chemical imbalances, stress and the use of stimulants .

    Some people have only one or two attacks and are never bothered again. Panic attacks can occur with other psychiatric disorders. In panic disorders, however, the panic attacks return repeatedly and the person develops an intense fear of having another attack. Without help, this “fear of fear” can make people avoid certain situations and can interfere with their lives even when they are not having a panic attack. Therefore, it is very important to recognize the problem and get help.

    Tips for dealing with a panic attack

    • Realize that although your symptoms are frightening, they are an exaggeration of normal stress reactions and aren’t dangerous or harmful.
    • Face the feelings rather than fighting them, and they will become less intense.
    • Don’t add to the panic by asking “What if?” Tell yourself “So what!”
    • Stay in the present. Notice what is actually happening rather than what you think might happen.
    • Rate your fear level on a scale of 1 to 10 and watch it change. Notice that it doesn’t stay at a high level for more than a few seconds.
    • Distract yourself with a simple task like counting backwards or lightly snapping a rubber band around your wrist.
    • When the fear comes, expect it and accept it. Wait and give it time to pass without running away.

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    Sugar Zaps Your Brain Power

    Your stomach may be telling you to dive in and drink your way out of that jumbo cherry Icee, but your brain has a different idea.

    Emerging research has found that diets high in sugar can impair cognitive functioning, even in the absence of extreme weight gain or excessive energy intake.

    A found that consuming high levels of sugar-sweetened beverages impaired neurocognitive functions like decision making and memory.

    Granted, the research was done on rats.

    But a more recent study found that healthy volunteers in their 20s scored worse on memory tests and had poorer appetite control after just 7 days of eating a diet high in saturated fat and added sugars.

    While more studies are necessary to establish a clearer link between sugar and cognition, its worth noting that your diet can affect your brain health.

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