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What An Anxiety Attack Looks Like

How Are Anxiety Disorders Treated

What A Panic Attack Really Looks Like | The Channel Mum Anxiety Series

You can check what treatment and care is recommended for anxiety disorders on the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence website.

NICE produce guidelines for how health professionals should treat certain conditions. NICE only provide guidelines for:

  • Generalised anxiety disorder and panic disorder,
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder and body dysmorphic disorder ,
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder , and
  • Social anxiety disorder.

The NHS does not have to follow these recommendations. But they should have a good reason for not following them.

We have described some of the treatments for anxiety disorders below. The treatments you will be offered depend upon the type of anxiety disorder you are experiencing.

You can find more information about treatments for:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder by clicking here.
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder by clicking here.

Monitoring your symptomsSome anxiety disorders, such as generalised anxiety disorder may get better by itself with no treatment at all. Or after education and advice from your doctor. Your doctor will monitor your symptoms to see if they improve. And they will talk to you about medications that you can get without a prescription. These are sometimes called over-the-counter medications.

Individual non-facilitated self helpThis involves working from a book or a computer program. You will be supported by a trained professional

Individual guided self-helpYou should:

Your learning should:


How To Prevent Panic Attacks

There are multiple ways to prevent or reduce the occurrence of anxiety attacks. Depending on the person, different solutions or a combination of solutions may be the best option. As stated before, anxiety attacks can be caused by situational stressors, mental disorders, other diseases, or all of the above. Therefore, there are a variety of tools you can use based on the cause.

Anxiety Attacks caused by Situational Stressors

If situational stressors cause panic attacks, it is important to create a less stressful environment if possible. For example, procrastination is known to induce stress and anxiety. A simple solution would be to address upcoming obligations in a planned and organized fashion. Even if obligations are difficult, planning to tackle obligations and doing so well before deadlines will help reduce the chance of a panic attack. Will asking for help with problematic circumstances reduce anxiety? Can your coworkers, professors, family, etc. provide any assistance to alleviate stress? Sometimes people become anxious about asking for help and the help they receive often outweighs the fear of asking.

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What Does A Panic Attack Look Like

October 19, 2016 By 3cfs_Admin

Mental health has evolved as both a study and a societal function. Weve come a long way from lobotomies and two-dimensional characters in straitjackets.

Unfortunately, the scars of those misconceptions linger, and as a result, people may not realize when theyre experiencing a legitimate problem. They may dismiss it as a phase, a one-off episode, or as some kind of intangible craziness.

Because of their numerous symptoms and forms, panic attacks are one of the most misunderstood mental health episodes. Today, wed like to clear up some of those misconceptions.

Identifying a Panic Attack

At its core, a panic attack is an onset of extreme fear or dread that lasts longer than a few moments. It can be triggered by a variety of causes. Some of these are long-standing or broad past trauma, PTSD, biological issues or temporary/situational, such as a sudden loss or accident. Triggers are not always obvious, and may be internal or external.

Panic attacks can completely shut a person down, or they may function but be handicapped in some way. They may have trouble focusing, talking, or listening to others.

Speaking of internal versus external, a person having a panic attack is not always expressive. While a popular portrait of panic is screaming or shouting, a sufferer may actually shut down completely.

Physical Symptoms

How to Help a Sufferer

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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.

Dealing With A Panic Attack

What a panic attack feels and looks like : coolguides

Although a panic attack comes on suddenly, often with no prior indication that it is going to happen, its initial symptoms intensify, and it tends to reach its peak after around 10 minutes. One can begin deploying various coping strategies to reduce the severity of a panic attack as soon as one notices the first signs.

Techniques which are useful in navigating a panic attack focus on calming the mind and body. Used effectively, they can reduce the severity of a given panic attack or prevent its initial stages developing into a full-symptom panic attack. Many helpful techniques related to managing a panic attack or preventing future episodes are derived from cognitive behavioral therapy , which focuses on making changes to a personâs usual thought processes and behavior in relation to particular concepts.

Strategies for managing an oncoming panic attack include:

Relaxing the muscles

A panic attack causes oneâs muscles to tense up, so performing muscle relaxing exercises, focused on relaxing both specific muscle groups and oneâs entire body, can help calm the body during a panic attack.

Stopping all activities

Thinking positively

There are many CBT techniques designed to help with deconstructing anxious thoughts and restoring calm during and after a panic attack. Doctors or psychotherapists will be able to recommend techniques appropriate to each person’s mental health status and the nature of their panic attack.

Breathing exercises

Read Also: How Long Can Anxiety Last

Can Anxiety Lead To Panic

A person who has panic disorder may experience anxiety that they are going to have a panic attack. The uncertainty about if or when an attack is going to happen can lead to anxiety between attacks.

For a person with panic disorder, anxiety may trigger a panic attack. The fear of having a panic attack can affect the persons behavior and ability to function in daily life.

The APA suggest there may be a biological factor underlying panic disorder, but scientists have not yet identified a specific marker.

  • tightness in the throat and difficulty breathing
  • trembling or shaking
  • feeling faint

Not every case of anxiety will include all these symptoms. Anxiety can be mild, moderate, or severe, depending on the trigger and how the person reacts to it.

Faced with an examination, for example, some people might feel mildly apprehensive, while others may experience all the above symptoms.

Usually, when the hazard or perceived danger passes, symptoms go away.

Anxiety that continues for a long time or that is triggered by specific events may be a sign of another disorder, such as social anxiety disorder.

Anxiety often results from stress or feeling overwhelmed.

Common causes of anxiety include:

  • work pressure
  • the use of some medications
  • a recent or past traumatic experience

Triggers of anxiety could include:

  • public speaking
  • exposure to a phobia trigger
  • a fear of having a panic attack

Sometimes, anxiety can also stem from a psychological disorder.

What Is A Panic Attack

Panic attacks come on suddenly and involve intense and often overwhelming fear. Theyre accompanied by very challenging physical symptoms, such as a racing heartbeat, shortness of breath, or nausea.

The latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders recognizes panic attacks and categorizes them as unexpected or expected.

Unexpected panic attacks occur without an obvious cause. Expected panic attacks are cued by external stressors, such as phobias.

Panic attacks can happen to anyone, but having more than one may be a sign of panic disorder.

Symptoms of anxiety include:

  • distress
  • fear

Anxiety is usually related to the anticipation of a stressful situation, experience, or event. It may come on gradually.

The lack of diagnostic recognition of anxiety attacks means that the signs and symptoms are open to interpretation.

That is, a person may describe having an anxiety attack and have symptoms that another person has never experienced despite indicating that they too have had an anxiety attack.

Read on to find out more about the differences between panic attacks and anxiety.

Panic and anxiety attacks may feel similar, and they share a lot of emotional and physical symptoms.

You can experience both an anxiety and a panic attack at the same time.


It may be difficult to know whether what youre experiencing is anxiety or a panic attack. Keep in mind the following:

  • a stressful job
  • anxiety symptoms
  • panic attacks
  • panic disorders

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Questions To Ask Your Doctor

Asking questions and providing information to your doctor or health care provider can improve your care. Talking with your doctor builds trust and leads to better results, quality, safety, and satisfaction. Visit the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality website for tips at .

Theres Definitely Life After Panic Attacks


Sideman says that his recovery has also made him a better friend. While he was struggling with anxiety, he would call friends for help. As he recovered, he realized that he could cope on his own and would then call them to share his success.

I changed the way I talked about my condition, he says. Now, I focus on my recovery, not my suffering.

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What Can I Do To Manage My Symptoms

You can learn to manage your symptoms by looking after yourself. Selfcare is how you take care of your diet, sleep, exercise, daily routine, relationships and how you are feeling.


Making small lifestyle changes can improve your wellbeing and can help your recovery.

Routine helps many people with their mental wellbeing. It will help to give a structure to your day and may give you a sense of purpose. This could be a simple routine such as eating at the same time each day, going to bed at the same time each day and buying food once per week.

Breathing exercises

Breathing exercises can help to calm you when you are feeling anxious. Or having a panic attack. You will get the most benefit if you do them regularly, as part of your daily routine.

There is more information about breathing exercises in the further reading section at the bottom of this page.

Support groups

You could join a support group. A support group is where people come together to share information, experiences and give each other support.

You might be able to find a local group by searching online.

Rethink Mental Illness have support groups in some areas. You can find out what is available in your area if you follow this link:

Or you can call the Rethink Mental Illness Advice Service on 0300 5000 927 for more information.

Recovery College

You can find more information about Recovery by clicking here.

Treatment For Panic And Anxiety

Whether youre dealing with panic, persistent anxiety, or both, effective treatments are available. Some of the most common treatment options include therapy, prescription medications, and self-help strategies. You may decide to try one or a combination of these methods.

  • Psychotherapy can help better you understand your symptoms, develop ways to manage them, work through past pain, determine your path for the future, and gain a clearer perspective that will allow for a more hopeful outlook.
  • Medicationscan assist you in reducing your symptoms. They may only be needed for a short period of time to control symptoms while you work on the other long-term strategies.
  • Self-help techniques, such as breathing exercises and progressive muscle relaxation, can also be beneficial in allowing you to work through symptom management at your own pace.

Read Also: What Does Anxiety Feel Like Physically

What To Do During A Panic Attack Or Anxiety Attack

Here are some strategies that can help.

  • Acknowledge that you are having an attack.

  • While this can be very frightening, the first thing to do is to acknowledge that the symptoms will pass.

  • Breathe slowly and deeply.

  • One of the most common symptoms of both panic and anxiety attacks is difficulty breathing. Slow your breathing as you inhale and exhale to help you get to a steady rate of breathing that will help your symptoms to subside. Count to four, with each inhale and exhale.

  • Relax

  • You can opt to use a number of methods for relaxation such as guided imagery. This can help you with reducing your anxiety and feelings of panic. You can learn these techniques from a qualified therapist.

  • Practice Mindfulness

  • This practice can help you to stay grounded in the current moment. Those with anxiety will find this practice very beneficial and will notice the effects soon after they start practicing.

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    Key Points About Panic Disorder

    21 Infographics about Anxiety and How to Get Rid of this ...
    • Panic disorder is an overreaction of fear and anxiety to daily life stressors.
    • The reaction causes a hyperphysical response, followed by intense worry that another attack will happen soon. This can upset the ability to function normally.
    • It is a common disorder and can often lead to depression.
    • Panic disorders can be disabling because you become so afraid of when the next panic attack may happen that you can’t cope with regular tasks.
    • Treatment involves use of anti-anxiety medicines and antidepressants along with cognitive behavioral therapy.

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    What Are The Complications Of Panic Attacks

    Panic attacks are highly treatable. Unfortunately, many people put off seeking help because theyre embarrassed. Untreated panic attacks or panic disorder can interfere with your ability to enjoy life. You may develop:

    • Anticipatory anxiety: The possibility of having a panic attack triggers extreme anxiety.
    • Phobias: A phobia is an extreme, unreasonable fear of something specific. For instance, acrophobia is a fear of heights, while claustrophobia is a fear of enclosed spaces.
    • Agoraphobia: Approximately two-thirds of people with panic disorder develop agoraphobia. This anxiety disorder makes you afraid to be in places or situations where a panic attack might happen. The fear can become so extreme that you become too afraid to leave your house.

    Cause Of Anxiety Attacks

    Anxiety attacks are usually although not always caused by severe stress. The symptoms depend on the type of attack. The term anxiety attack is sometimes used interchangeably with the term panic attack, but may also refer to any periods of extreme anxiety beyond what a person normally experiences.

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    Do I Have An Anxiety Disorder

    If you identify with any of the following seven signs and symptoms, and they just wont go away, you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder:

  • Are you constantly tense, worried, or on edge?
  • Does your anxiety interfere with your work, school, or family responsibilities?
  • Are you plagued by fears that you know are irrational, but cant shake?
  • Do you believe that something bad will happen if certain things arent done a certain way?
  • Do you avoid everyday situations or activities because they cause you anxiety?
  • Do you experience sudden, unexpected attacks of heart-pounding panic?
  • Do you feel like danger and catastrophe are around every corner?
  • Need to talk to someone?

    Get affordable online counseling from BetterHelp or visit HelpGuides directory for free helplines and crisis resources. HelpGuide is reader supported. We may receive a commission if you sign up for BetterHelp through the provided link. Learn more.

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