Treatment Options For Patients With Anxiety
There are two primary treatments for individuals with anxiety:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy , which involves learning how to lower anxiety and face distressing situations.
- Medication management with antidepressants, which works well on its own but even better when coupled with CBT.
During therapy, continue to show your support by:
- Asking your loved one what you can do to help them.
- Asking if you can attend a therapy session to learn some skills to better support them.
- Making time for your own life and interests to sustain your energy.
- Encouraging your loved one to try another therapist if the first one isnt a good fit.
Take Any Prescribed Medications
Depending on the severity of panic attacks, a doctor may prescribe a use-as-needed medication. These medications typically work fast.
However, these drugs can be highly addictive, so people should use them exactly as their doctor prescribes. Taken with opioids or alcohol, they can have life threatening adverse effects.
A doctor may also describe selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which can help prevent panic attacks from occurring in the first place.
Repeat A Mantra Internally
Repeating a mantra internally can be relaxing and reassuring, and it can give you something to grasp onto during a panic attack.
Whether its simply This too shall pass, or a mantra that speaks to you personally, repeat it on loop in your head until you feel the panic attack start to subside.
It is not always possible to prevent a panic attack, but the following tips may help:
- do breathing exercises every day
- get regular exercise
- follow a diet that is low in added sugar and eat regularly to avoid glucose spikes
- avoid caffeine, smoking, and alcohol, as they may make anxiety worse
- seek counseling and other professional help
- ask your doctor about local support groups
Avoiding specific triggers may help prevent a panic attack, but this may not always be possible or appropriate. Some experts encourage people to ride out the attack and continue doing things, if possible.
However, if a situation is likely to cause severe distress, consider waiting until youve worked with a professional to develop skills and strategies to help you cope.
If you have concerns about panic attacks, consider talking with a doctor, especially if:
- You have
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What Does It Mean To Be Anxious
Although anxiety is often an unpleasant feeling, its actually a healthy response to certain triggers.
There are many situations that come up in everyday life when it is appropriate and reasonable to react with some anxiety, says Edmund Bourne, PhD, a former director of the Anxiety Treatment Center in San Jose and Santa Rosa, California, and the author of The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook.
Thats because anxiety as in day-to-day worrying about say, crossing a busy street or about a persistent toothache helps keep us safe. Its also a natural response to stressors. As Dr. Bourne explains, If you didnt feel anxiety in response to everyday challenges involving personal loss or failure, something would be wrong.
Normal anxiety is proportionally related to a specific situation or problem and lasts only as long as the situation or problem does, says Sarah Gundle, PsyD, a clinical psychologist in private practice in New York City and a teacher at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center at Mount Sinai Hospital. For example, its completely normal to feel anxious about speaking in front of a large group of people or meeting an important deadline at work.
Is It Time To Ditch Sugar
Its no secret that sugar can cause issues if youre indulging in a little too much of the sweet stuff. Still, most Americans are eating too much sugar.
The harmful effects it can have on your physical health are well studied, which is why we talk so much about reducing sugar intake to lower the risk of these effects, like chronic disease.
While ditching the sweet stuff can result in a physically healthier you, its the effect sugar has on our mental health thats worth taking a second look.
Tips On What To Do When A Panic Attack Hits And How To Manage Chronic Anxiety
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.
“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
The End Of Everything: What A Panic Attack Feels Like
Only 16, Caroline, had her first panic attack a year ago. Her mother was dropping her off at her summer job at a local school when, without warning, a full-blown panic attack engulfed her. My heart started racing and my body felt so hot. I started to sweat and shake uncontrollably. My vision became distorted and my body felt limp, like a wet noodle, she says. For 20 minutes, until the panic attacked passed, Caroline refused to get out of the car. Her mother didnt know what to do.
Kirstie Craine Ruiz, 46, has lived with anxiety, panic attacks, and panic disorder for about ten years. For a long time, she had full-blown attacks 2-3 nights a week. I would usually awake to a racing heart or the feeling of my heart expanding in my chestas it might explodeFrom there, I would begin to panic and my heart would go even fasterand my body would shake so hard that it felt like I was having a convulsion. I could barely breathe and was usually pretty sure I was having a heart attack and that I was going to die. Sometimes Id go the ER and theyd hold me overnight because my heart would be going so fast and they couldnt get it to go down.
Hanging Out With Friends
Relationships matter even for us introverts, says Stone. Research also tells us that isolating is one of the worst things for anxiety and depression.
So, consider making time for friends, family, and other social engagements.
Put yourself in social situations at least weekly as a part of your self-discipline to help you build community over time, says Stone.
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.
Also Check: Can Anxiety Cause Sharp Chest Pain
Practical Powerful Ways To Help Manage Anxiety
Understand why it feels the way it does.
Understanding why anxiety feels the way it does will be one of your greatest tools in managing it. Think of it like this. Imagine being in a dark room that is full of stuff. When you walk around in the dark, youre going to bump into things. Youre going to scrape, bruise and maybe drop a few choice words. Turn on the light though, and those things are still there, but now you can navigate your way around them. No more bumps. No more scrapes. And no more having to hold your tongue in front of people who can confiscate your phone. Heres what you need to know
Anxiety happens because a part of your brain thinks there might be something it needs to protect you from. When this happens, it surges your body with a mix of neurochemicals , designed to make you stronger, faster, more alert and more powerful so you can fight for your life or run for it. This is the fight or flight response. Its normal and healthy and its in everyone. In people with anxiety, its just a little quicker to activate.
The amygdala acts on impulse. Its a do-er, not a thinker all action and not a lot of thought. It just wants to keep you safe, because safe is a lovely thing to be and because thats been its job since the beginning of humans. The amygdala cant always tell the difference between something that might hurt you and something that wont and it doesnt care. All it wants to do is keep you safe.
You might feel dizzy or a bit confused.
Panic Attacks I Turned My Mental Health Crisis Into A Mental Health Triumph
Although it’s taken me a long time I have learned I am a strong person who has the potential to help others.
You might find that you become scared of going out alone or to public places because you’re worried about having another panic attack. If this fear becomes very intense, it may be called agoraphobia. See our pages on types of phobia for more information.
I felt like I couldn’t breathe, I just wanted to get out, to go somewhere else, but I couldn’t because I was on a train.
Read Also: Is Anxiety A Disability Under Ada
Calming Step : Have A Script Ready
A panic attack can fill your head with racing, negative thoughts, which can keep the panic going and make you feel worse. But you can wield a powerful weapon against them: A script of positive thoughts.
Write down encouraging words you can read to yourself during a panic attack, Dr. Josell says. Your script should answer the negative thoughts. So if you feel like youre going to pass out, tell yourself you wont. If you feel like youre dying, tell yourself you wont die from a panic attack. The words you hear are powerful, and over time, they become your truth.
Ideally, write your script when youre feeling calm. Tuck it in your pocket or purse or type it into your smartphone notes so its easy to access.
If youre in the middle of a panic attack and dont have your script, you can fight negative thoughts on the fly. Try repeating in your mind or out loud phrases like, Im strong, and I can handle this, or This is only temporary, and it will pass.
Your script helps you deal with an attack that arises, but its a preventive measure, too. It can calm your fear of having another panic attack because you know youre in control. The more confident you are that you can manage a panic attack, the less likely you are to have future attacks.
How To Calm Down Quickly
Something sets you off, and before long, you feel stuck in an endless loop of intrusive thoughts, pondering every possible thing that could go wrong. Your body tenses, your breathing quickens, and you can hear your heartbeat pounding in your ears.
When you feel anxiety kick in like this, its time to calm yourself down. The first step is awareness. Its a good idea to learn to recognize the first signs of anxiety and get to work right away before experiencing an episode.
Recommended Reading: Why Is Anxiety Worse At Night
Stopping Panic: What To Do When Youre Having A Panic Attack
Here, some strategies that have worked for others that may help you:
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.
Recommended Reading: How Can I Tell If I Have Anxiety
Mental Health Treatment Program Locator
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration provides this online resource for locating mental health treatment facilities and programs. The Mental Health Treatment Locator section of the Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator lists facilities providing mental health services to persons with mental illness. Find a facility in your state at . For additional resources, visit www.nimh.nih.gov/findhelp.