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What Can Help With Anxiety Attacks

Try The File It Mind Exercise

How to Stop Panic Attacks Part 3/3

The File It technique works particularly well if youre lying awake at night thinking of all the things you have to do or havent done, or if youre rehashing something that happened during the day.

These are the steps for performing this exercise:

  • Close your eyes and imagine a table with file folders and a file cabinet on it.
  • Imagine yourself picking up each file and writing down the name of a thought thats racing through your mind for example, the fight you had with your spouse, the presentation you have to give tomorrow at work, or the fear you have of getting sick with COVID-19.
  • Once the name is on the file, take a moment to acknowledge the thought and how important it is to you. Then, file it away.
  • Repeat this process with every thought that pops into your head until you start to feel calmer
  • The idea with this exercise is that youre taking a moment to name your triggers, examine them, and then consciously put them aside with a deadline to tackle them later. In other words, youre validating your own feelings and making a plan to deal with them, one by one, when its a better time.

    Walk Or Do Some Light Exercise

    Walking can remove a person from a stressful environment, and the rhythm of walking may also help them regulate their breathing.

    Moving around releases hormones called endorphins that relax the body and improve mood. Taking up regular exercise can help reduce anxiety over time, which may lead to a reduction in the number or severity of panic attacks.

    Seeing A Psychologist About Anxiety Disorders

    Though many types of anxiety disorders exist, research suggests that most are driven by similar underlying processes. People with anxiety disorders tend to become easily overwhelmed by their emotions, and they tend to have particularly negative reactions to those unpleasant feelings and situations.

    Often, people try to cope with those negative reactions by avoiding situations or experiences that make them anxious. Unfortunately, avoidance can backfire and actually feed the anxiety.

    Psychologists are trained in diagnosing anxiety disorders and teaching patients healthier, more effective ways to cope. A form of psychotherapy known as cognitive-behavioral therapy is highly effective at treating anxiety disorders. Through CBT, psychologists help patients learn to identify and manage the factors that contribute to their anxiety.

    Through the cognitive component of therapy, patients learn to understand how their thoughts contribute to their anxiety symptoms. By learning to change those thought patterns, they can reduce the likelihood and intensity of anxiety symptoms.

    With the behavioral component, patients learn techniques to reduce undesired behaviors associated with anxiety disorders. Specifically, patients are encouraged to approach activities and situations that provoke anxiety to learn that their feared outcomes are unlikely.

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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.

    Should Antioxidants Be Included In Your Anti

    How To Calm Down During A Panic Attack

    Anxiety is thought to be correlated with a lowered total antioxidant state. It stands to reason, therefore, that enhancing your diet with foods rich in antioxidants may help ease the symptoms of anxiety disorders. A 2010 study reviewed the antioxidant content of 3,100 foods, spices, herbs, beverages, and supplements. Foods designated as high in antioxidants by the USDA include:

    • Beans: Dried small red, Pinto, black, red kidney
    • Fruits: Apples , prunes, sweet cherries, plums, black plums
    • Berries: Blackberries, strawberries, cranberries, raspberries, blueberries
    • Nuts: Walnuts, pecans
    • Vegetables: Artichokes, kale, spinach, beets, broccoli
    • Spices with both antioxidant and anti-anxiety properties include turmeric and ginger.

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    When To Seek Professional Help

    While self-help coping strategies can be very effective, if your worries, fears, or anxiety attacks have become so great that theyre causing extreme distress or disrupting your daily routine, its important to seek professional help.

    If youre experiencing a lot of physical symptoms, you should start by getting a medical checkup. Your doctor can check to make sure that your anxiety isnt caused by a medical condition, such as a thyroid problem, hypoglycemia, or asthma. Since certain drugs and supplements can cause anxiety, your doctor will also want to know about any prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, herbal remedies, and recreational drugs youre taking.

    If your physician rules out a medical cause, the next step is to consult with a therapist who has experience treating anxiety disorders. The therapist will work with you to determine the cause and type of your disorder and devise a course of treatment.

    Nutritional Strategies To Ease Anxiety

    According to the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States. Thats 40 million adults18% of the populationwho struggle with anxiety. Anxiety and depression often go hand in hand, with about half of those with depression also experiencing anxiety.

    Specific therapies and medications can help relieve the burden of anxiety, yet only about a third of people suffering from this condition seek treatment. In my practice, part of what I discuss when explaining treatment options is the important role of diet in helping to manage anxiety.

    In addition to healthy guidelines such as eating a balanced diet, drinking enough water to stay hydrated, and limiting or avoiding alcohol and caffeine, there are many other dietary considerations that can help relieve anxiety. For example, complex carbohydrates are metabolized more slowly and therefore help maintain a more even blood sugar level, which creates a calmer feeling.

    A diet rich in whole grains, vegetables, and fruits is a healthier option than eating a lot of simple carbohydrates found in processed foods. When you eat is also important. Dont skip meals. Doing so may result in drops in blood sugar that cause you to feel jittery, which may worsen underlying anxiety.

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    Engage In Light Exercise

    Research shows that regular exercise can not only keep the body healthy but boost mental well-being, too.

    Experts have found that exercising at 60 to 90 percent of your maximum heart rate for 20 minutes three times per week can help reduce anxiety.

    If you are not used to exercising, talk with your doctor before starting. There is some evidence that starting aerobic exercise anew can trigger additional anxiety in people with an anxiety disorder. Building up gradually can help your body adjust and avoid breathing problems. Aerobic exercise includes activities such as running on a treadmill.

    If you feel stressed or youre hyperventilating or struggling to breathe, stop and take a rest or choose a more moderate option, such as walking, swimming, or yoga.

    Panic Attack Survival Kit

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    The thing is, when we focus on panic attack symptoms, they become more intense. The key to stopping or minimizing any panic attack is to focus on your external world rather than the internal signs .

    Ever heard of a panic attack survival kit? If you or someone you love has dealt with panic attacks before, you know they can come on without warning. You can use these five tips to put together a small bag of items to reach for the next time a panic attack strikes.

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    How To Help Someone Experiencing A Panic Attack

    Panic attacks can occur for nor obvious cause or in situations that are not normally stressful. If someone is very anxious, check for a history of panic attacks, and ask if he/she has any intense fear, such as a terror of spiders or of being in a crowd.

    What to look out for:

    • Hyperventilation
    • Muscular tension, producing headache, backache, and a feeling of pressure in the chest
    • Extreme apprehension and fear of dying
    • Trembling, sweating, and dry mouth
    • High pulse rate and sometime palpitations

    Your aims:

    • To remove any obvious cause of panic
    • To help the person regain control

    How you can help:

    • Try to find out and remove the cause of the fear
    • Take the person to a quiet area
    • Reassure them and explain that they are having a panic attack, if they dont already know
    • Encourage them to breathe more slowly
    • If the person is hyperventilating, encourage them to breathe into a paper bag to help control the symptoms

    What to do if you are having a panic attack:

    If you experience panic attacks regularly, it may be best to see your GP who will be able to recommend further solutions.

    Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator

    This online resource, provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration , helps you locate mental health treatment facilities and programs. Find a facility in your state by searching SAMHSAs online Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator. For additional resources, visit NIMH’s Help for Mental Illnesses webpage.

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    Focus On What You Can Change

    Many times anxiety stems from fearing things that havent even happened and may never occur. For example, even though everything is okay, you may still worry about potential issues, such as losing your job, becoming ill, or the safety of your loved ones.

    Life can be unpredictable and no matter how hard you try, you cant always control what happens. However, you can decide how you are going to deal with the unknown. You can turn your anxiety into a source of strength by letting go of fear and focusing on gratitude.

    Replace your fears by changing your attitude about them. For example, stop fearing to lose your job and instead focus on how grateful you are to have a job. Come to work determined to do your best. Instead of fearing for your loved one’s safety, spend time with them, or express your appreciation of them. With a little practice, you can learn to pick up a more positive outlook.

    At times, anxiety may actually be caused by a real circumstance in your life. Perhaps youre in a situation where it is realistic to be worried about losing your job due to high company layoffs or talks of downsizing.

    In this situation, taking action may be the answer to reducing your anxiety. For example, you may need to update your resume and start job searching.

    How Can It Affect Your Life

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    Social anxiety disorder prevents you from living your life. Youâll avoid situations that most people consider ânormal.â You might even have a hard time understanding how others can handle them so easily.

    When you avoid all or most social situations, it affects your personal relationships. It can also lead to:

    • Low self-esteem
    • Poor social skills that donât improve

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    How Cbd Can Help With Panic Attacks

    A lot of people now choose to consume CBD for dealing with panic attacks, instead of the prescribed medicines. Doctors usually prescribe benzodiazepines for treating this mental disorder. But this medication comes with a large number of side effects including confusion, lethargy, addiction, gastrointestinal problems, and low blood pressure. Hence, it became important to find a new medicine that can help with panic attacks without creating these side effects. This is when CBD can be useful for you.

    Studies conducted for finding the effectiveness of CBD for panic attacks showed promising results. This compound is useful for controlling different symptoms associated with this disease. CBD can influence stress and emotional responses thereby effectively controlling panic attacks. It can bind with the cannabinoid receptors in the brain and control the feeling of anxiety for reducing panic attacks.

    What Triggers An Anxiety Attack

    Anxiety attacks are unusual, in that they can be triggered under moments of heavy stress or fear, or they can be triggered by nothing at all. Often the first anxiety attack comes at a moment in a person’s life when they’re experiencing a lot of stress . But future panic attacks can be caused by almost anything:

    • Worry that theyll have another panic attack.
    • Paying too much attention to how the body feels.
    • Absolutely nothing.

    Once again, it is because anxiety attacks can seem and feel so random that not everyone that has them even knows or believes that theyre having an anxiety attack. Those that have panic attacks too often may even start to develop other anxiety conditions, such as health anxiety, because of how difficult it is to feel like their anxiety attacks are real.

    Not everyone that has an anxiety attack once will have it again, however. Some people only experience an anxiety attack because they are under profound stress and exhaustion, or theyre faced with a dangerous situation. For example, if you almost got into a car accident you may experience a panic attack, but only because your anxiety in that situation was so strong that it was uncontrollable.

    But many that have panic attacks will have them again. It depends on the individual.

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    When To Use Medication

    Sometimes, panic attacks cannot be managed entirely alone. If panic attacks become an ongoing concern or they cause significant anxiety or fear about future panic attacks, it might be necessary to see a therapist or doctor.

    Types of therapeutic interventions that have been shown to have the best outcomes include cognitive behavioral therapy and humanistic therapy. CBT involves understanding the relationship between thoughts and behaviors and working toward changing negative or distorted thoughts to more positive, helpful ones.

    One study found CBT to be between 85% and 90% successful in treating panic disorders.

    Humanistic therapy is a type of intervention that helps people make rational decisions and accept responsibility for themselves. Common humanistic therapy approaches include client-centered therapy, gestalt therapy, and existential therapy.

    If therapy alone is not effective in treating panic attacks, as may be the case in severe cases of panic disorders, medications may be recommended and prescribed by a psychiatrist. Commonly prescribed medications that have been shown to be effective in helping with panic disorders include antidepressants and benzodiazepines.

    Anxiety Vs Panic Attacks

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    Anxiety and panic attacks are both very common. They are both often underdiagnosed or misdiagnosed as medical conditions.

    Anxiety is characterized by ongoing worry or fear about the future. With generalized anxiety disorder , for example, anxiety symptoms are present for normal everyday experiences and can create mild-to-severe interruptions in a person’s life. With anxiety, symptoms may be present on some level all the time or during specific periods of known stressors, such as during a public presentation.

    Panic attacks tend to come on suddenly and can happen from either a calm state or a state of feeling anxious. They often occur without warning or a known trigger and bring a sense of doom, intense fear, and a feeling of dying.

    Similarly, both anxiety and panic attacks have physical and psychological symptoms. With panic attacks, however, the symptoms tend to come on quickly and are often only present for up to 10 minutes. With anxiety, symptoms can be present for a much longer period of time.

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    How Can I Prevent Panic Attacks

    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.

    Breathwork In Any Environment

    The above tips can be difficult to do in a crowded spot or if you don’t have the kit with you. Luckily, breathwork techniques can be done anywhere, anytime.

    “Depending on your environment, you can try progressive muscle relaxation, meditation or square breathing,” says Bruha.

    Square breathing uses four actions, each lasting for about four seconds.

    Square breathing instructions:

    • Breathe in through your nose while counting to four
    • Hold your breath for a count of four
    • Exhale slowly to a count of four
    • Hold your breath for a count of four

    Repeat these four actions, for as long as you want to.

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    Name What Youre Feeling

    When youre experiencing an anxious episode, you may not realize whats going on until youre really in the thick of it.

    Recognizing anxiety for what it is may help you calm down quicker.

    Name that this is anxiety not reality and that it will pass, says Kim Hertz, a psychotherapist at New York Therapy Practice. When you are in a heightened state of anxiety, you want to disrupt that cycle, and for some people, thought-stopping techniques are effective and as simple as saying stop to the internalized messaging that heightens anxiety.

    In other words, consider recognizing that what youre feeling is anxiety and talking yourself through it.

    Embrace absolute truths, says Steven Sultanoff, clinical psychologist and professor at Pepperdine University. I will get through this one way or another.

    Naming your sensations and feelings may help you step away from them. This is anxiety, it is not you and it wont last forever.

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