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How To Handle Anxiety Attacks

The Link Between Anxiety Symptoms And Depression

How to Deal with Anxiety attacks & 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.

Performance Anxiety Vs Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Performance anxiety isnt a formal diagnosis. It can be a symptom of generalized anxiety disorder , but you dont need to live with GAD to experience it. In other instances, it could be a form of situational anxiety.

You could experience performance anxiety whenever you feel you need to meet a certain standard. It could be the result of internal or external pressure real or perceived. For example, when youre expected to do well on a test.

Generalized anxiety disorder, on the other hand, may mean you experience symptoms during different situations, not only performance-related, and sometimes without any apparent cause.

Treatment For Panic Disorder

Research shows that the most successful treatment for panic disorder is a combination of antidepressant medication and cognitive behavioral therapy . Many clinicians recommend CBT as the first-line treatment, with medication added if necessary to make the patient comfortable enough to participate in CBT.

In treating someone who has panic disorder with CBT, the clinician starts by working with the patient to think more flexibly about his anxiety. Rather than viewing the physical symptoms as dangerous, he practices tolerating them, knowing that they arent harmful.

To help the person disconnect the negative feelings associated with attacks, the therapist induces those physical sensations the patient does jumping jacks or stair climbing to get the heart racing, spinning to get dizzy, breathing through a coffee straw to get shortness of breath. Were exposing you to the actual, physical feelings of a panic attack, one symptom at a time, Dr. Bubrick explains.

Then, instead of simply tolerating the anxiety and waiting for it to subside, the person is taught how to do deep breathing techniques, to calm the physical symptoms down. Some clinicians dont do the deep breathing, on the grounds that the symptoms will pass on their own. But Dr. Bubrick likes to give kids tools to give them a sense of empowerment, to have them feel that they can control the symptoms.

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Focus On Something Less Anxiety

At times, it may be most helpful to simply redirect yourself to focus on something other than your anxiety. You may want to reach out to others, do some work around your home, or engage in an enjoyable activity or hobby. Here are a few ideas of things you can do to thwart off anxiety:

  • Do some chores or organizing around the house.
  • Engage in a creative activity, such as drawing, painting, or writing.
  • Go for a walk or engage in some other form of physical exercise.
  • Listen to music.

The Connection Between Food And Mental Health

Panic Attacks Signs &  Symptoms and How to Deal With Them?

Since we dont have all the answers, biologically, behind anxiety and depression, theres no clear reason why changing your diet can change your mood, Knüppel says.

But we do know a few things: Vitamins in the body help the function of enzymes that enable reactions such as the synthesis of serotonin, which plays an essential role in our happiness, she explains.

Meanwhile, too much sugar has been to decrease a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor , which is involved in the development of depression and anxiety.

Theres also emerging research that suggests that our gut plays an important role in mental health.

The microorganisms in our gut can communicate with the brain and several systems that could play a role in depression and anxiety, and the composition of the gut microbiota is influenced by nutrition, Knüppel adds.

Michael Thase, MD, psychiatrist and director of the Mood and Anxiety Program at the University of Pennsylvania, says there are a few other factors at play here.

When you treat depression with medication, the actual magical chemical ingredients matter maybe 15 percent. Its really the process of working with a doctor and finding the motivation to recognize the problem and take steps toward fixing it that counts for most of the good, Thase says.

You can get that much of the good in a non-medication intervention that includes diet, exercise, and talking to someone, he believes.

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Natural Remedies For Anxiety

Natural remedies for anxiety are those that donât involve conventional medications . They include things such as herbs, aromatherapy, and performing certain actions that promote relaxation. Some people with anxiety use natural remedies alongside conventional treatments to find relief.

Examples of natural remedies for anxiety include:

Deep Breathing Exercises

Rapid, shallow breathing is a common symptom of anxiety. Breathing in this manner can increase your heart rate, make you feel dizzy, and may even increase the risk of a panic attack. Deep breathing involves taking deliberately deep and measured breaths to restore normal breathing patterns, which can help to reduce anxiety.

Weighted Blankets

Research shows that weighted blankets can be beneficial for alleviating symptoms of anxiety. The pressure helps to put your body into ârest mode,â reducing those symptoms and preparing your body to rest. These blankets come in many different sizes and weights, enabling you to find what works best for you.

Quit Cigarettes and Alcohol

Both alcohol and cigarettes may appear to calm your nerves at first. After taking a drink, however, your anxiety may worsen. A cycle can develop, leading to alcohol dependence.

Several studies also show that smoking can worsen symptoms of anxiety. Therefore, itâs a good idea to try to avoid drinking or smoking to reduce feelings of anxiety.

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

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.

Reframe Anxious Behavior And Stop Scaring Yourself

How to Deal with Anxiety & Panic Attacks

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.

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Dont Ask Them To Calm Down

Asking a highly anxious person to calm down or relax, when they are clearly not in a state to calm down, is very counterproductive. You have to keep in mind that an anxious persons brain is not letting them calm down due to a perceived threat. Their brain goes into fight-or-flight mode because of it. So asking them to relax when they cant will just be more aggravating, Panneer explained. Instead, you can talk to them in a soothing tone and reassure them that you are there to help them.

Tips On What To Do When A Panic Attack Hits And How To Manage Chronic Anxiety

The best use of imagination is creativity. The worst use of imagination is anxiety.Deepak Chopra

You feel the restrictive sensation of your chest walls caving in as if someone is standing on your ribcage. Youre becoming alarmingly aware of the rhythm of your breathing and wonder if your next breath will be your last. Its like youre drowning without being underwater. You think, “I can’t breathe. Im going to die. Just breathe. Just breathe.”

Heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and rapid heart rate are just some of the scary reactions that occur during a panic attack. These symptoms can intensify and increase, leading to uncontrollable trembling, sweating, tightness around the head, and the feeling of suffocation.

As anyone suffering from chronic anxiety understands, you cant control when a panic attack hits and, in fact, trying to control it can sometimes make it worse. The greatest fear for someone dealing with anxiety is losing control in public, feeling trapped in an uncomfortable situation and experiencing humiliation. When anxiety hits, it can make you feel like youre going crazylike you have absolutely no control over your own mind.

Understanding Anxiety

“Anxiety can be defined as the response of an organism to a threat, real or imagined. It is a process that, in some form, is present in all living things.” Kerr, Bowen

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Focus On Your Senses And Surroundings

When you are having a panic attack, you can feel out of touch with things around you. One way you can feel back in touch with your surroundings is by picking out five things you can see, hear, taste, touch, or smell. This is called a grounding exercise. You can pick a couple for each sense, or focus on one sense, like finding five things that you can see. This can help you feel connected with your surroundings and in control.

Focus On Your Safe Place

How To Manage Anxiety Attacks

Having a safe place where you can run to mentally when you are stressed can help you calm down. A safe place can be something real in your life that makes you happy or something imaginary. You can visit a professional to help you create a safe place. You can also use your bed as a safe place where you go to every night and pretend that everything that makes you anxious cant reach you there.

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How Can You Help Someone Who Is Suffering From An Anxiety Disorder

Watching a friend experience an anxiety disorder is a terrifying experience, as you will likely feel completely paralyzed in terms of your ability to help them. There is little worse than watching a friend experience anxiety and not being sure what to do. Thankfully, there are things that you can do.

How Is Panic Disorder Treated

First, talk to your doctor about your symptoms. Your doctor should do an exam and ask you about your health history to make sure that an unrelated physical problem is not causing your symptoms. Your doctor may refer to you a mental health specialist, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist.

Panic disorder is generally treated with psychotherapy, medication, or both. Talk with your doctor about the best treatment for you.

Psychotherapy. A type of psychotherapy called cognitive behavioral therapy is especially useful as a first-line treatment for panic disorder. CBT teaches you different ways of thinking, behaving, and reacting to the feelings that come on with a panic attack. The attacks can begin to disappear once you learn to react differently to the physical sensations of anxiety and fear that occur during panic attacks.

For more information on psychotherapy, see .

Medication. Doctors also may prescribe different types of medications to help treat panic disorder:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
  • Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors
  • Beta-blockers
  • Benzodiazepines

Another type of medication called beta-blockers can help control some of the physical symptoms of panic disorder, such as rapid heart rate. Although doctors do not commonly prescribe beta-blockers for panic disorder, they may be helpful in certain situations that precede a panic attack.

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What Triggers An Anxiety Attack

Anxiety attacks are unusual, in that they can be triggered under moments of heavy stress or fear, or they can be triggered by nothing at all. Often the first anxiety attack comes at a moment in a person’s life when they’re experiencing a lot of stress . But future panic attacks can be caused by almost anything:

  • Worry that theyll have another panic attack.
  • Paying too much attention to how the body feels.
  • Absolutely nothing.

Once again, it is because anxiety attacks can seem and feel so random that not everyone that has them even knows or believes that theyre having an anxiety attack. Those that have panic attacks too often may even start to develop other anxiety conditions, such as health anxiety, because of how difficult it is to feel like their anxiety attacks are real.

Not everyone that has an anxiety attack once will have it again, however. Some people only experience an anxiety attack because they are under profound stress and exhaustion, or theyre faced with a dangerous situation. For example, if you almost got into a car accident you may experience a panic attack, but only because your anxiety in that situation was so strong that it was uncontrollable.

But many that have panic attacks will have them again. It depends on the individual.

Helping Someone Who Is Having A Panic Attack

How to deal with Anxiety & Anxiety Attacks

Dont diagnose a panic attack in someone else, but learning to recognize the symptoms will help you better support someone whos in distress. When speaking to them, remain calm and use a calm voice. You can help in the following five ways:

  • Ask. Dont assume you know whats going on. Calmly ask if and how they would like your assistance. Say something like, Miguel, are you OK? Would you like me to go outside with you so you can catch your breath? If the person seems like they cant communicate and you think they are having a heart attack, then call an ambulance immediately and let medical professionals make the assessment.
  • Find a quiet, private place. Reducing environmental stimuli can ease stress and help reduce the effects of dizziness and nausea. Ask your colleague whether theyd like you to help them find somewhere quiet to sit. If they say yes, do so. If they say no, then ask if there is anything you can do to help them. And if they refuse your help, then just let them know you are there for them if they change their mind.
  • Reassure. If the person asks you to stay, tell them that you are there to support them. Introduce a mantra as a way of focusing their attention elsewhere. Suggest they repeat after you, I am going to be OK. Help them breathe slowly. Model slow and purposeful breathing. Ask them to close their eyes and to breathe along with you, using the method described earlier. Repeat until their breathing slows and they regain control.
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