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What An Anxiety Attack Feels Like

How To Cope When You Have An Anxiety Attack

What Panic Attacks Feel Like

It’s important to note that not everyone who worries a lot has an anxiety disorder.

You may feel anxious and worried because of a lot of different factors. These may include an overly demanding schedule, pressure at work or home, or a lack of exercise or sleep.

Here are a few ways to manage your symptoms.

Your Worries Interfere With Your Day

Ultimately, an anxiety disorder may become so severe that the basic business of living becomes compromised. People suffering from OCD may need hours to get out of the house in the morning because the pillows on the bed arent arranged properly. Schoolwork and job performance may suffer because perfectionism makes it impossible to complete a project or because social anxiety makes it impossible to talk to classmates or colleagues. Things become worse when emotional symptoms lead to physical ones such as headaches, loss of appetite and sleeplessness. The question I ask first is, Is your anxiety impairing your functioning?’ says Goldberg.

Anxiety responds well to professional care. Treatment may include psychotropic medications like Zoloft or Prozac, which can at least lower the voltage of the pain. That may make it easier to embrace and practice the techniques of cognitive behavioral therapy, in which people learn to talk back to their anxiety, reframe their fears to something less extreme, and practice self-soothing techniques like mindfulness or distraction or breathing. Slow, graduated exposure to the very things people fear also helps the brain break the link between the trigger situation and the terror that follows.

No one can live a life untouched by anxiety. But with the right skills and the right help, no one needs to live one that is destroyed by it, either.

The Desire To Numb Or Escape It Can Be Incredibly Tempting

It is no surprise that anxiety is closely connected with substance use disorders, eating disorders, and other process addictions like compulsive shopping, sex, or gambling. After all, nobody likes to feel uncomfortable- chronic anxiety often leads people down a path of self-medicating, numbing, or downright escaping.

While it is reasonable to avoid your feelings from time to time, chronically doing so tends to create more problems. For one, you dont address the issue . Second, you face the risk of complications arising from your compulsive behavior .

That said, it is important to remember that these desires arent random. They are a desire to escape the discomfort. When anxiety peaks, the distress can feel so overwhelming that you are drinking, using drugs, having sex, or overeating is the only viable solution.

Recommended Reading: How To Deal With Postpartum Anxiety

Here’s How An Anxiety Attack Feels Like

PintrestWhat is an anxiety attack?Some physical symptoms include:

  • The feeling of getting choked
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Muscle tension or muscle ache
  • Tingling sensation
  • The feeling of mind going blank
  • Feeling irritated
  • Feeling a disconnect between the body and the mind
  • Feeling out-of-control
  • Difficulty in concentrating or thinking
  • Feeling the need to escape from everything

What To Do If You Notice Symptoms

When Anxiety Attacks

If you notice any of the symptoms of an anxiety attack, it will help you to work on managing those symptoms through relaxation techniques in the moment, and overall mental health management in the long run. Its always important to take care of our health, both physical and mental.

Here are some tips that may help you to manage feelings of anxiety:

  • Dont be afraid to seek professional help seeking professional help for mental health issues and concerns is never a bad idea. With anxiety, there are a variety of treatment options such as cognitive behavioral therapy and anxiety medication that can help you to identify and manage your anxiety on a day to day basis.
  • Look into self-help options there are many self-help options that are available to help you manage feelings of anxiousness. People commonly look into self-help books, supplements, meditation, exercise, yoga, breathing techniques, family members, and support groups.

Recommended Reading: What Vitamins Should I Take For Anxiety

What Teachers Should Know

Panic disorder is an anxiety disorder in which a person experiences panic attacks. A panic attack is when someone has a sudden, intense physical response with a feeling of unexplained and paralyzing fear.

A panic attack can happen for no apparent reason and the person may have sudden and intense physical symptoms that may last 10 to 20 minutes. The symptoms can include:

  • pounding heart or chest pain
  • shortness of breath
  • dizziness, hot flashes, or chills
  • nausea
  • sweating, shaking, or tingling in fingers or toes
  • feeling like a loss of control, or having a fear of dying or other unrealistic thoughts

Mild worrying in kids and teens is normal. But a panic attack may dramatically affect a students life by interrupting normal activities.

Many kids and teens have a single panic attack, which does not require intervention because it doesnt happen again. But students with panic disorder may:

  • have difficulty concentrating in class or completing classwork
  • miss class time due to problems coping at school, or needing to talk with a school counselor or therapist
  • need to visit the school nurse to take medication for anxiety
  • feel self-conscious or isolated, and avoid places and situations that they think they might cause a panic attack

The Shame Often Feels Worse Than The Anxiety Itself

At times, your anxiety may feel incredibly mortifying. Because it can be so consuming, it may impact how you connect with others. The worry may prevent you from engaging in certain activities. Likewise, anxiety has a way of cutting into self-esteem and making you feel ashamed.

This shame can quickly become toxic and consuming. Your anxiety perpetuates negative, internal thoughts like Im worthless, or Im a failure. Over time, these thoughts almost feel like facts. They dictate much of how you think, act, and feel. And, of course, these harsh thoughts tend to make the anxiety worse.

Shame is a deeply rooted emotion, and it can be insidious in almost every facet of your life. Its also one of the predominant factors triggering most mental health problems.

Recommended Reading: How To Cure Anxiety Naturally

Terror Injected Into Your Brain

To someone whos never experienced one, the best way I can think to describe a panic attack is: Its like having liquid terror injected into your brain. An overwhelming feeling that something is very wrong and youre helpless to stop it. The brain desperately looks for a cause, but theres none to be found. Its truly one of the most distressing experiences Ive had.

The common physical symptoms of a panic attack can include:

  • rapid heartbeat
  • stomach cramps
  • stiff muscles

During an attack, its common to fear one of two things: Im going to die or Im going crazy. Many people believe its a heart attack or stroke. Thats the crafty thing about panic attacks, they mimic serious symptoms of other illnesses.

What triggers one? Well that depends again, so irritating. Theres no one definitive cause.

My biggest trigger is any environment that reminds me of school. The desks, group setting, and fear that at any moment I could be asked a question I dont know. This is why meetings or dinner parties can be triggering. For other people, its public transportation, supermarkets, or driving during heavy traffic.

However, all is not lost! You dont have to be a slave to panic all of your life. There are techniques that can be very beneficial to you.

How Can I Prevent Panic Attacks

What panic attack feels like

Your healthcare provider can help you identify triggers that bring on panic attacks. During psychotherapy, you learn strategies to manage triggering events and prevent an attack. You can also take these actions to lower your odds of having a panic attack:

  • Cut back on caffeine.
  • Talk to your doctor before taking herbal supplements or over-the-counter medications. Certain substances can increase anxiety.

Also Check: What Causes Anxiety Disorders To Develop

Signs And Symptoms Of Anxiety Attack

Anxiety attacks can happen out of nowhere or gradually build into an overwhelming sense of fear and panic. They often get confused with panic attacks, and some symptoms do overlap. But anxiety attacks are different and have different indicators. Itâs important to distinguish common anxiety symptoms and signs of an anxiety attack.

Common anxiety symptoms include:

  • Difficulty controlling worry
  • Having the urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety

Anxiety attacks are a build-up of common anxiety symptoms and are intensified episodes of panic or fear. They usually peak within 10 minutes and should not last more than 30 minutes. The symptoms of an anxiety attack are:

Surge of overwhelming panic

You may feel like you are in danger or something bad is going to happen. This will occur out of nowhere, which may increase your feeling of panic or impending doom.

Feeling of losing control

Adding to the feeling of panic, you may feel like you are losing control of yourself or your surroundings.

Chest pain or heart palpitations

Anxiety attacks have physical symptoms like an increased heart rate, which can make you think youâre having a heart attack. The increased heart rate should last no more than 30 minutes, usually subsiding in 10 minutes.

Trouble breathing

The feeling of panic and increased heart rate may make you feel like you canât breathe or are choking. You may also start to hyperventilate if you are gasping for breath.

Hot flashes or chills

Anxiety Attack: The Most Common Symptoms

  • Insane, overwhelming strike of panic
  • Hyperventilation
  • Dizziness, feeling faint or light headed.
  • Accelerated heartbeat or heart palpitations
  • Numbness, particularly in your feet and hands.
  • Feeling detached and unreal. Basically, you feel like you are going crazy.
  • Fearing youre dying.

An anxiety attack can roll in with most of the above or just a few symptoms, coming one after another or all at once.

The symptoms can last from a few seconds to a terrible half an hour, though the average number is 10 minutes says, Doctor Merav Gur.

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You Avoid Things Because Of Your Fears

We all avoid things we fear or dislike: you could go your whole life without roller coasters or cilantro or horror movies. But they dont really affect your life. Anxieties start to strip away the things that do. You may dread getting a medical test because of what you could learn, says Albano. But if youre avoiding going to your doctor at all because of it, thats a problem.

People with an airplane phobia may, similarly, limit their travel to only places they can drive. People with big dreams may sometimes settle for smaller ones because their anxiety holds them back. I know people who went to law school and wanted to pursue a career in criminal law but were afraid to be in front of a courtroom, says Albano. So they push documents in a law firm instead.

Panic Attacks I Turned My Mental Health Crisis Into A Mental Health Triumph

How To Deal With Panic Attacks Marg Ryan Relationship

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.

Also Check: How To Know You Have Anxiety Test

You Have A High Level Of Distress

Anxiety is a question of degree. Its one thing to be jittery before an important test or presentation or to worry about your health when an epidemic is in the news. And if you have a particular sensitivity flying, dentists, working the room at a crowded party youre going to be tense as one of those situations approaches. If the tension consumes your day, however, if it crowds out other thoughts or if the psychic pain goes from troubling to severe, thats another matter.

Anxiety will prevent people from sleeping theyll find themselves crying over it, says psychologist Golda Ginsburg, professor of psychiatry at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and a specialist in child and adolescent mental health. There are students who will vomit in the days leading up to a test.

In some cases, the emotions become so severe they lead to a panic attack, a sort of weaponized anxiety that hits fast and hard and includes such symptoms as dizziness, rapid heart rate, depersonalization or out-of-body experience and a fear of losing control or dying. If you suddenly have to slam on your brakes and swerve to avoid a collision, that pounding heart and rapid breath you feel for a few minutes after is a form of panic attack, says psychologist Anne Marie Albano, director of Columbia Universitys Clinic for Anxiety and Related Disorders. In the context of a disorder, however, you might start to feel the same thing the moment you walk into the office or a party.

I Knew Something Terribly Wrong Was Happening

J.T. Lewis, 58, Charlottesville, Va.

Courtesy J.T. Lewis

One morning almost 20 years ago, J.T. Lewis hailed a cab because she was late to work. As she settled into the back seat, Lewis noticed the car seemed unusually hot, dirty and cramped. The driver’s seat was so far back it seemed to be crushing her. She felt sweaty and light-headed.

“Suddenly, I couldn’t breathe, Lewis recalls. There was this crushing chest pain. I knew something was terribly wrong. Was I dying?”

The attack subsided after a few minutes, but Lewis was so shaken she had the driver drop her at her physician’s office. After a battery of tests, the doctor told her there was nothing physically wrong with her.

A few weeks later, Lewis, who frequently traveled for her job as a lawyer, had just buckled into first class on a plane when it happened again. The pressure in her chest. The feeling that she couldn’t breathe. Sweaty and pallid, she asked the flight attendant for some water.

The flight attendant took one look at her and instead had the pilot return the plane to the gate, so Lewis could get off. I was frustrated, confused and humiliated, Lewis said. I began avoiding business travel.”

After that, the panic attacks started happening more often. In the short run, medicine quelled her symptoms: Her doctor prescribed daily beta blockers plus Xanax for the moments when she felt an attack coming on .

Now retired from law practice, she hasn’t had a full-blown panic attack in years.

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How Can You Tell If Youre Having An Attack

The main component of identifying an anxiety attack is singling out a responsible trigger. Anxiety attacks, unlike panic attacks, are brought on by a certain circumstance. Suppose, you were recently in an anxiety-causing situation or a circumstance that could provoke fear, you could be experiencing an anxiety attack alongside some of the listed symptoms.

Anxiety attacks tend to disappear once the stressor is removed. Suppose you distance yourself from the stressful situation and find that your symptoms have lessened and you feel less overwhelmed and fearful. In that case, you can identify the trigger for that anxiety attack.

Its important to note that anxiety attacks also share similar symptoms to conditions like panic attacks and heart attacks. If you find that the attacks are brought on out of the blue without an identifiable trigger, you could be experiencing a panic attack instead.

Heart attacks, meanwhile, can only be diagnosed through medical testing. If you are at a higher risk of a heart attack, consulting with your primary doctor about your experiences can be beneficial. Your medical provider will be able to identify your condition better and help you distinguish between a heart attack and an anxiety attack.

Ensuring that your condition is properly diagnosed is an important part of seeking help. It is especially important to receive a medical diagnosis if you have other medical conditions that require attention.

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