Causes Of Anxiety Attacks
People who have anxiety and are concerned about having an anxiety attack may wonder, what causes anxiety attack? Anxiety attack causes will vary for everyone and may occur even in those who have not previously had elevated anxiety although those who have increased anxiety will be more prone to anxiety attacks. Anxiety attack triggers depend greatly upon the individual. For instance, a person who had a traumatic rejection the first time they asked someone out may develop an anxiety attack every time they ask someone out from that point forward. Anxiety attack triggers depend greatly upon an individuals unique life experiences and past traumas. Anxiety attacks may also be triggered by subconscious thoughts and could appear to occur for no reason.
There are also severalmedical conditions that cause anxiety attacks. Not everyone with these medical conditions will necessarily develop anxiety or anxiety attacks, but they do increase the risk of anxiety attacks occurring. These conditions include:
- Tumors especially ones that affect the brain or hormone production
- Infections especially with Lyme disease
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Hormone disorders especially ones that affect the thyroid
- Drugs use, including caffeinated beverages, medications and recreational drugs
There are several other medical conditions that could lead to anxiety. Anyone concerned that a medical condition is leading to anxiety or anxiety attacks should contact their physician and discuss their concerns.
Tips For Dealing With The After
Although recovering from an anxiety attack can take time, it is possible. Below are some simple ways to deal with the after-effects of a panic attack that may help you the next time one occurs.
Anxiety is no fun, and over time, the effects of anxiety on the body can take a toll. If you or someone you know struggles with anxiety, dont wait to get help. You dont have to live with this disorder or deal with it alone.
Call our inpatient mental health rehab today at to learn more about our treatment methods.
We Are Never Reassured
In spite of multiple visits to the doctor or hospital, test after test coming up negative, and being declared healthy, we may still find it impossible to believe it is just anxiety. Even when we know the symptoms are just anxiety, we still fear them. Reassurance has very little effect on reducing our anxiety, and in any case each new symptom triggers a fresh round of fear and worry about our health.
When our symptoms are diagnosed as anxiety, the medical community seems to have few answers for us, other than prescribing tranquilizers and/or antidepressants. These may provide us some relief, but it is usually partial relief, and often only temporary. They may help us cope, but they are not a cure. We may be referred to a counselor, psychologist, or Cognitive Behavior Therapist, but if your experience was like mine, these rarely helped much.
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Learning To Be Assertive
Being assertive means communicating your needs, wants, feelings, beliefs and opinions to others in a direct and honest manner without intentionally hurting anyones feelings. A person with an anxiety disorder may have trouble being assertive because they are afraid of conflict or believe they have no right to speak up. However, relating passively to others lowers self-confidence and reinforces anxiety. Learning to behave assertively is central to developing a stronger self-esteem.
Medications For Treating Panic Attacks:
Medications are used to treat the physical symptoms that trigger panic attacks:
- Antidepressants: These help with the feelings of depression that arise. However, they have to be taken regularly and before the start of the above mentioned treatments.
- Benzodiazepines: These are fast acting drugs. They dissipate the symptoms within a period of thirty minutes. However, they are highly addictive and should be used with caution.
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Symptoms During A Panic Attack
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders , four or more of the following physical and psychological symptoms must be present:
- Palpitations, pounding heart or accelerated heart rate
- Paresthesias numbness or tingling sensations
- Derealization or depersonalization
- Fear of losing control or going crazy
- Fear of dying
If four or more of the above symptoms are present, it is known as a full-symptom panic attack. The Ada app can help you check your symptoms. or find out more about how it works.
The Link Between Anxiety Symptoms And 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.
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Types Of Anxiety Disorders:
Generalized Anxiety Disorder is characterized by chronic and exaggerated worry and tension, much more than the typical anxiety that most people experience in their daily lives. People may have trembling, twitching, muscle tension, nausea, irritability, poor concentration, depression, fatigue, headaches, light-headedness, breathlessness or hot flashes.
Panic Disorder: People with panic disorder have panic attacks with feelings of terror that strike suddenly and repeatedly with no warning. During the attacks, individuals may feel like they can’t breathe, have lost control, are having a heart attack or even that they are dying. Physical symptoms may include chest pain, dizziness, nausea, sweating, tingling or numbness, and a racing heartbeat. Some people will have one isolated attack, while others will develop a long term panic disorder either way, there is often high anxiety between attacks because there is no way of knowing when the next one will occur. Panic disorders often begin early in adulthood. Many people with panic disorder also suffer from agoraphobia . See more on Panic Attacks.
Phobias are irrational fears. Individuals with phobias realize their fears are irrational, but thinking about or facing the feared object or situation can bring on a panic attck or severe anxiety.
Risk Factors For Experiencing A Panic Attack
Although anyone may be affected by a panic attack, a range of factors may increase the likelihood for certain individuals. People who have a disorder that leads to elevated levels of anxiety are more likely to experience a panic attack. This includes:
- Generalized anxiety disorder . A form of chronic anxiety that is often unrelated to a particular cause.
- Obsessive compulsive disorder . In the case of OCD, a person experiences recurrent unwanted thoughts and compulsive behaviors. This can lead to panic attacks in some people, although, according to DSM-5 criteria, OCD is no longer listed as anxiety disorder.
- Post traumatic stress disorder . Although PTSD is a trauma and stressor-related disorder rather than an anxiety disorder, panic attacks may relate to anxiety from PTSD, that develops after first or second-hand exposure to a traumatic event.
- Social phobia. In people with social phobia, everyday situations regularly cause debilitating levels of anxiety.
Other mental health conditions, such as depression, can also cause the anxious kinds of thinking that may precipitate a panic attack.
Other factors, which increase oneâs likelihood of experiencing a panic attack, include:
Conditions which increase the likelihood of experiencing a panic attack include:
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Ways To Recover After An Anxiety Attack Or Nightmare
Anxiety attacks, nightmares and trauma flashbacks. These intense emotional experiences where a person suddenly feels a lot of anxiety and may not even feel connected to the present moment. After an anxiety attack or flashback has passed or the moment you wake up from a disturbing nightmare, your heart is still racing, your mind is going in a million directions and you are generally alert. Bottom line: your fight, flight or freeze response has been triggered and it’s hard to calm down. Here are some ideas for how you can help calm your mind so that you may either go back to sleep or return to your day:
Try deep breathing.There are many different deep breathing techniques you can try and I often teach my clients several to see what works best. Here is one article that briefly describes several different techniques:
Mindfully and slowly rub lotion into your hands.Notice the color and shape of the lotion as it spreads. Notice the smell. Notice how your hands feel before, during and after using the lotion. The main purpose here is to draw your attention to something calming. Alternatives to lotion could be smelling an essential oil, mindfully chewing a piece of gum or even smelling your favorite spice from your cabinet at home.
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.
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Stay In The Moment To Relieve Anxiety Attacks
Although your gut response might be to leave the stressful situation immediately, dont. Let your anxiety level come down, advises Carmin. Then you can decide if you want to leave or if there’s a way to get back to whatever you were doing when the anxiety attack started. Staying in the moment will help you overcome anxiety, but its hard to do this at first.
Its one of the things I respect the most about people I work with, that they are taking the leap of faith and willing to do the things that terrify them,” Carmin says. “That takes a lot of courage.”
How Can I Best Cope With An Anxiety Disorder
There are several steps you can take to cope with anxiety disorder symptoms. These strategies can also make your treatment more effective:
- Explore stress management: Learn ways to manage stress, such as through meditation.
- Join support groups: These groups are available in-person and online. They encourage people with anxiety disorders to share their experiences and coping strategies.
- Get educated: Learn about the specific type of anxiety disorder you have so you feel more in control. Help friends and loved ones understand the disorder as well so they can support you.
- Limit or avoid caffeine: Many people with anxiety disorder find that caffeine can worsen their symptoms.
- Talk to your healthcare provider: Your provider is your partner in your care. If you feel like treatment isnt working or have questions about your medication, contact your provider. Together, you can figure out how to best move forward.
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What Is A Panic Attack
Anxious teens can have a panic attack that comes out of the blue. During a panic attack, you may experience dizziness, numbness, and shortness of breath. Additionally, your heart rate soars. Your bodys built-in fight or flight mechanism kicks in during an attack, and you may feel afraid or anxious just before the episode begins. However, panic attacks often occur with no warning.
Foothills at Red Oak Recovery has anxiety treatment programs to help adolescent and teen boys overcome panic disorders. We also offer treatment for co-occurring anxiety and substance use disorders.
If you want to know how to recover from a panic attack, try one of the following techniques.
Mental Imaging For Anxiety
I use an advanced form of this technique in my program and its extremely powerful. So how do we apply it to anxiety?
Youve probably heard of exposure or immersion therapy, where people are exposed to things that scare them. With anxiety, this takes the form of facing your fears, e.g. if you are afraid of driving then you force yourself into a car for a short journey and increase over time to longer journeys.
But what if you physically cannot get into the car? mental imaging is a great way of bypassing all the pain and torment of exposure or immersion.
Start by writing out a scenario , including everything you see, hear, smell, taste, touch and feel. Involve all your senses, and make sure it includes a specific challenge that you need to tackle, like driving. Once youre happy with it, make yourself comfortable, close your eyes and start running through the scenario in your minds eye. At first youll get distracted, it takes practice so just keep at it. Take a break if you need to, maybe rewrite it or add bits if you want to.
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How To Handle A Panic Attack
Professor Paul Salkovskis, Professor of Clinical Psychology and Applied Science at the University of Bath, says it’s important not to let your fear of panic attacks control you.
“Panic attacks always pass and the symptoms are not a sign of anything harmful happening,” he says. “Tell yourself that the symptoms you’re experiencing are caused by anxiety.”
He says don’t look for distractions. “Ride out the attack. Try to keep doing things. If possible, it’s important to try to remain in the situation until the anxiety has subsided.”
“Confront your fear. If you don’t run away from it, you’re giving yourself a chance to discover that nothing’s going to happen.”
As the anxiety begins to pass, start to focus on your surroundings and continue to do what you were doing before.
“If youre having a short, sudden panic attack, it can be helpful to have someone with you, reassuring you that it will pass and the symptoms are nothing to worry about,” says Professor Salkovskis.
Remember All Anxiety Attacks Will End
This, too, shall pass is an excellent motto for anxiety attacks. Nothing is permanent, including a current anxious state. Having the awareness to understand what is happening in the body and simply letting it be until it subsides can be very empowering in its own way. By employing all of these techniques and working with a trained professional, individuals can minimize the severity, duration, and effect that anxiety attacks have on their daily life.
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When To Seek Medical Attention
The first time one experiences a panic attack, one should seek medical attention promptly in order to check oneâs overall physical and mental health and discuss the possibility and prevention of future panic attacks.
It is not uncommon for an individual, who has experienced a panic attack, to feel embarrassment in telling their family or doctor. Many people are unaware of how common it is to experience a panic attack and/or that it could relate to panic disorder or another form of anxiety â conditions, which are highly treatable with appropriate psychotherapy and/or medication.
Even if one is not diagnosed with a mental health condition, oneâs doctor will be able to advise on management techniques in the event that a future panic attack occurs and will be able to perform check-ups to rule out other conditions or health concerns. For example, one may be screened to rule out the risk of a heart attack, particularly if one believed that one was experiencing a heart attack during the episode.