Be Aware Of What Your Body Is Telling You Before An Anxiety Attack
As you can see, there are quite a few possible signs of an anxiety attack. They arent all universal, but most sufferers will experience one or all of these. Although it wont stop an attack, being aware of an anxiety attack will help you to keep it at bay, or reduce the severity.
But if you havent been diagnosed, but are a frequent sufferer of these symptoms, it is worth seeking an official diagnosis so you can get treatment.
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Phobias And Irrational Fears
A phobia is an unrealistic or exaggerated fear of a specific object, activity, or situation that in reality presents little to no danger. Common phobias include fear of animals , fear of flying, and fear of needles. In the case of a severe phobia, you might go to extreme lengths to avoid the object of your fear. Unfortunately, avoidance only strengthens the phobia.
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An anxiety attack is the worst. The lights seem too bright your heart feels like it might explode out of your chest. Your body shakes. You may find yourself unable to breathe your chest hurts. You have an intense desire to escape, scream or cry. Your hands might twitch and you feel like you are going to be sick in just a few seconds.
Thats what an anxiety attack feels like. Sounds familiar? Well that used to be my story too.
On a normal day, I would just be hanging out with my friends and suddenly have a wave of panic wash over me. I couldnt breathe and felt like I was dying.
Anxiety attacks can strike unexpectedly.
In fact, it feels like the worst thing in the world, but the truth is its all caused by a massive boost of adrenaline that your brain sends into your bloodstream.
In todays post, Id like to break down the most common anxiety attack symptoms, plus share some personal tips on how to tame this beast.
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Public Events Or Performances
Public speaking, talking in front of your boss, performing in a competition, or even just reading aloud is a common trigger of anxiety. If your job or hobbies require this, your doctor or therapist can work with you to learn ways to be more comfortable in these settings.
Also, positive reinforcements from friends and colleagues can help you feel more comfortable and confident.
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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What Causes Panic Disorder
Panic disorder sometimes runs in families, but no one knows for sure why some family members have it while others dont. Researchers have found that several parts of the brain, as well as biological processes, play a key role in fear and anxiety. Some researchers think that people with panic disorder misinterpret harmless bodily sensations as threats. By learning more about how the brain and body functions in people with panic disorder, scientists may be able to create better treatments. Researchers are also looking for ways in which stress and environmental factors may play a role.
How Are Anxiety Disorders Diagnosed
If you have symptoms of an anxiety disorder, talk to your healthcare provider. Theyll start with a complete medical history and physical examination.
There are no lab tests or scans that can diagnose anxiety disorders. But your provider may run some of these tests to rule out physical conditions that may be causing symptoms.
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Anxiety Symptoms That Might Point To A Disorder
Everyone can expect to have the occasional bout of anxietymaybe you get nervous before an interview or a first datebut sometimes, that anxiety doesn’t subside, which may indicate an anxiety disorder.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health , there are a few different types of anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and phobia-related anxiety disorders, but they all hinge on one important aspect: when overwhelming feelings of worry or fear impinge on a person’s daily life.
Researchers believe that anxiety disorders can stem from both genetic and environmental factors, and these anxiety disorders are typically treated through a variety of interventions, including psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of the two, according to the NIMH.
While anxiety disorders are often hard to pinpointand often benefit from a correct diagnosis from a mental health professionalthere are some signs and symptoms that are common among those with most types of anxiety disorders. Here’s what you need to know, and including when you should seek professional help.
Have Anxiety Or Panic Youre Far From Alone
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America reports that some 40 million U.S. adults experience significant anxiety each year, with more than 28.8% of adults experiencing clinically meaningful anxiety symptoms.
Thats nearly one in three people.
Anxiety is Americas most common mental illness and can be treated effectively. However, only around one third of those with the condition seek professional help.
Anxiety disorders are hereditary, which means that if you have a relative with anxiety, you are more likely to experience it yourself.
Panic disorder, which is a type of anxiety disorder, affects about 4.7% of U.S. adults at some point in their lives, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
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What Is A Panic Disorder
If you have a panic disorder, you get intense, sudden panic attacks. These attacks often feature stronger, more intense feelings than other types of anxiety disorders.
The feelings of terror may start suddenly and unexpectedly or they may come from a trigger, like facing a situation you dread. Panic attacks can resemble heart attacks. If theres any chance youre experiencing a heart attack, go to the emergency room. Its better to err on the side of caution and have a healthcare professional check you.
During a panic attack, you may experience:
- Chest pain.
- Feeling of choking, which can make you think youre having a heart attack or going crazy.
Panic attacks are very upsetting. People with panic disorder often spend a lot of time worrying about the next panic attack. They also try to avoid situations that might trigger an attack.
Anxiety Attacks And Severity
What makes anxiety attacks unique is that even though they are a mental health issue, it is often the physical symptoms that get the most attention, This is what those without anxiety often struggle to understand. Anxiety attacks cause intense physical symptoms that mimic serious health disorders. Symptoms include:
- Chest pains
- Tingling or numbness in the hands and feet
- Rapid heartbeat/heart palpitations
In many ways, anxiety attacks are similar to heart attacks. There may be other unusual issues as well, such as trouble with your vision, your teeth, your muscles, your nerves, and more. For example, some people experience weird jolts, others experience blurry vision, others experience tooth pain or hear unexplained noises.
Not all anxiety attacks are the same, but they all tend to be very physical and result in a feeling like something is terribly wrong.
What makes anxiety attacks worse is that they cause other symptoms that exacerbate the physical problems. One of the symptoms of anxiety attacks is this incredibly intense feeling of doom – as though something horrific is about to happen. That is actually a symptom of anxiety attacks, not just a response to the physical sensations, but when combined with the physical symptoms it can make a person convinced that they are about to suffer from something terrible.
Anxiety attacks also have other frightening psychological symptoms as well, such as:
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Unexpected Signs That Your Having An Anxiety Attack
Do you know how to spot an anxiety attack?
If you or a family member has an anxiety diagnosis, youre likely aware of the common signs an attack is coming. But what you may not know is there are subtle, uncommon signs to watch for too.
Read on for these seven unexpected signs of an anxiety attack so you know how to spot them next time.
How Is Panic Disorder Diagnosed
Panic disorder is diagnosed by a health care professional, says Philip R. Muskin, MD, professor of psychiatry at Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York City. The provider will ask the person to describe their symptoms, which can include sweaty palms, dizziness, a cold sweat, and numbness around the lips. The person fears losing control and fears going crazy, Dr. Muskin says.
To receive a diagnosis of panic disorder, you must also have anticipatory anxiety, Dr. Muskin says. You may have one panic attack and then be afraid to leave the house because you are so afraid of having another, he says.
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Signs Youre Having An Anxiety Attack
Its entirely normal to experience occasional anxiety. Work, school, relationships, finances, deadlines, uncertainties, you name itlife can offer up stress enough to occasionally churn stomach acids and render some sleepless nights.
Occasional anxiety, however, is quite different from an anxiety attack. Those who experience anxiety attacks will tell you they are awful, vivid and frightening.
Always Seek Professional Advice
Always seek medical advice if you are not sure whether your symptoms, or another persons symptoms, indicate a panic attack. In an emergency, dial triple zero for an ambulance. Its important to see your doctor for a check-up to make sure that any recurring physical panic-like symptoms are not due to illnesses, including:
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What To Do About Your Anxiety Attacks
In some cases, a person has one anxiety attack and then they’re done. Often this occurs when a person is under extreme stress and the body loses its ability to cope. But many people develop panic disorder, which is characterized by recurrent anxiety attacks or a fear of anxiety attacks.
Remember, this disorder isn’t something someone can control. Many people think that rational thinking is all a person needs to get out of it, but anxiety attacks are much more like a disease. You need to find something effective to treat it, like cognitive behavioral therapy, rather than try to ride it out and hope that they go away.
That’s why if you do feel like you’ve had an anxiety attack or have anxiety attack problems, it’s important that you take action right away. The longer you wait, the harder they may be to cure and the more they affect your life.
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Anxiety Can Be Our Friend
We, as humans, need anxiety. Why? Anxiety is information.
It tells us when we must freeze, flee, or fight and mobilizes our body to respond quickly, without thinking. Without anxiety, we would not be able to avoid real threats to our well-being.
However, we also feel anxiety about imagined threats that may or may not be meaningful or real. In a sense, our minds have evolved to be extra careful about threat detection. They are more likely to evaluate things as threats than not. This way we do not miss anything that might harm us.
Also, our minds do not have an off button. This means that sometimes anxiety becomes a problem because it doesnt give us useful information and contributes to our distress and avoidance.
All humans experience anxiety when they experience stressful events, such as receiving an upsetting medical diagnosis. Public speaking, social events, relationship problems, stress on the job, and financial worries are also common triggers that make people feel anxious. However, sometimes life events can trigger anxiety disorders or panic disorder. So, whats the difference?
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How To Deal With An Anxiety Attack
In the immediate moments when an attack is occurring, there are several steps a person can take to try to calm themselves down. These include:
- Recognize an attack is occurring and trying to remember that the symptoms will pass
- Breathe deeply to stop or calm hyperventilation and subsequently slow your heart rate
- Relax muscles to release some of the feelings of tension from your body and help you regain control
The person experiencing the attack may feel like they are going to die and request medical assistance. Severe anxiety attacks often result in trips to the emergency room, where the person experiencing the attack can get the help they need.
In many cases, anxiety attacks occur in response to certain situations or perceived threats. Avoiding these triggers can help reduce the chance of having an attack, but may not be feasible if the trigger is present in your everyday life. If perceived anxiety attacks are brought on by certain triggers, there may be an underlying anxiety disorder that needs to be addressed. Therapy or medications can be very helpful in dealing with an anxiety disorder.
There are things that can be done to avoid another anxiety attack. Some of them include:
If you are experiencing anxiety attacks or panic attacks that are frequent and debilitating, and you have turned to substances to cope, The Recovery Village can help. To learn more about treatment for anxiety and addiction, to speak with a representative.
Stress Anxiety And Then Panic: Neal’s Story
As Sideman says, his attack occurred in the early 1990s, and few people seriously considered the possibility of a panic attack in a 39-year-old man. So he went home thinking all would be fine, only to have another, more severe attack one week later.
Now, looking back, the situation seems clearer.
I was under a lot of stress starting a new business, working 16-hour days, a close friend was ill and dying, and on top of all that, I was doing a super heavy workout regimen at the gym with a trainer,” Sideman says. “So it was a lot of physical stress, emotional stress, and a lot of financial stresses.” He says he also can see roots of anxiety in his childhood and teen years as well as in other family members.
In the moment, he didnt know what to think because it can be tough to know what a panic attack is like until you have one. His second panic attack was really a full-blown panic attack, where I thought I was going to die,” Sideman says. “I thought I was going to pass out, not wake up, go crazy, have a heart attack.”
He recalled being terrified, and the response he chose was one that can actually make panic disorder worse: He started to avoid the situations where he had attacks.
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