Panic Attacks And Panic Disorders
Panic disorder is characterized by repeated, unexpected panic attacks episodes of sudden fear and feelings of danger or impending doom, along with physical symptoms. The illness may be accompanied by depression or other serious conditions because the effects on peoples lives are not just limited to the attack itself. Some people avoid everyday activities such as driving or shopping, for fear of experiencing a panic attack in a potentially dangerous setting. Others avoid any other environment where they had such an attack in the past.
Panic disorders symptoms include: Repeated, unexpected panic attacks episodes of sudden fear and feelings of danger or impending doom, along with physical symptoms such as heart palpitations, chest pain, lightheadedness or dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath, feelings of imminent danger, shaking or trembling, choking, fear of dying, sweating, feelings of unreality, numbness or tingling, hot flashes or chills, and a feeling of going crazy. Panic attacks strike without warning and usually last 15-30 minutes. Since many panic disorder symptoms mimic those found in illnesses such as heart disease, thyroid problems and breathing disorders, people with panic disorder often make multiple visits to emergency rooms or doctors’ offices, convinced they have a life-threatening illness.
Is It A Heart Attack Or Panic Attack
Its always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your health. So if you cant tell if youre having a heart attack or panic attack, seek medical attention right away.
If youre in the Gonzales, LA area, stop by Coastal Urgent Care of Gonzales to get checked out. Were open 7 days a week from 9 am to 8 pm to address your medical needs, so contact us any time.
Anxiety Vs Panic Attacks
Panic attacks, on the other hand, do not require a stressor. A panic attack can happen at any time and often has more severe symptoms than an anxiety attack. Panic attacks are episodes of overwhelming fear where the individual may have trouble breathing, chest pain, and feel as if they are going to have a heart attack or lose control.
The best way to begin learning how to manage these attacks is to recognize the symptoms and track any stressful circumstances that could serve as triggers. By taking the time to understand your condition and triggers better, you will be better equipped to handle these episodes. Both physical symptoms and mental symptoms can occur.
Signs and symptoms of an anxiety attack can include:
- Rapid heart rate
- Perceived loss of control
Experiencing frequent anxiety attacks can take a toll on your life. You may be wary of certain situations and be especially careful around any known triggers. This avoidance, while useful in preventing some anxiety attacks from occurring, can make going about a daily routine difficult. Certain places and situations that are ordinary chores or responsibilities may be difficult to fulfill.
Recommended Reading: Is Stress The Same As Anxiety
Diagnosing And Treating Anxiety
Its important to differentiate normal anxiety from the more severe type. Does the anxiety interfere with your family life or keep you from being productive in your professional life? Does it restrict you from engaging in the activities you like? If the answer is yes, then its the kind of anxiety that may require some degree of therapy or medical attention.
Depending on the duration, severity, and type of anxiety, treatment can include therapy, medication, or a combination of both. A common and effective method of treatment is cognitive behavioral therapy , which involves three main components:
Chest Tightness Due To Anxiety: Symptoms But It Can Vary From Person To Person Or Covid
Experiencing chest pain because of anxiety can be one of the symptoms of a panic attack, on the other hand, Some people may experience
See all 9 rows on www.healthline.comThese may include: Rapid heart rate Profuse sweating Nausea Dizziness Tingling in the legs Difficulty breathing Fear of losing control Fear ofChest pain from a heart attack typically feels like pressure or a squeezing sensation, and a feeling like your health is in serious jeopardy, Pain due to anxiety fades away after a few minutes such as 10-20 minutes, but its very difficult without a better understanding of the way youChest pain due to anxiety might feel like a sharp pain but pain due to heart problems often feels like squeezing and heavy pressure in your chest, lightheadedness, When you feel anxious or are having a full-blown panic attack, Anxiety chest pain is Anxiety chest pain vs, Anxiety-related chest pain typically comes out ofAnxiety can take many forms, Its still always a good idea to visit a doctor to have them rule out heHow You Can Tell If Youre Suffering from Anxiety Chest TightnessThe easiest way to tell if youre suffering from anxiety related chest tightness rather than cardiac chest tightness is by ruling out heart and lunWays to Reduce Chest PressureWhen youre experiencing chest pressure, This, People feel the tightness in other areas, Home Remedies, physical symptoms of anxiety, But if your heart is causing the anxiety, call emergency immediately.
Don’t Miss: How To Treat Anxiety At Home
One Thing I Wish People Understood About Anxiety
Anxiety is an experience, not a fundamental state of being. It is the bodys physical and mental response to fear. Whether youre afraid of getting attacked by a mountain lion or that you wont do well at your job, the same parts of the bodys nervous system light up.
For whatever reason, some of us are more sensitive to lifes stressors. I use that to my advantage. Anxiety may seem like it comes out of nowhere, but for me, its usually a sign that something is wrong Im overworked, Im caught in an unhelpful worry loop, I havent meditated for a few days. So if youre feeling anxious, pay attention to where its coming from. Stopping and listening to my anxiety and then loosening my grip on it is the key to keeping it under control.
Interested in contributing to a future installment of Anxiety Chronicles? Fill out this form.
What Does Anxiety Feel Like Physically
The physical symptoms of anxiety are often the first sign of an underlying problem. You may have experienced these symptoms before without realizing what they were caused by.
If you notice any new or worsening physical symptoms, talk with your doctor about what they could mean for your health.
In this article, we will explore the physical symptoms of anxiety and why they happen.
Read on to learn more about this condition that many people experience but few understand well enough!
Recommended Reading: Is Anxiety Considered A Disability
It Can Feel Physically Suffocating
The mind and body are closely connected, and people store anxiety in the body. Some of the most common symptoms can manifest as:
- Chest tightness
In some cases, anxiety can lead to panic attacks. These panic attacks can be so intense and debilitating that people and their loved ones might mistake the symptoms for a heart attack. Every year, emergency rooms admit patients who wrongfully assume they had a heart attack.
That is because anxiety can feel physically suffocating. When symptoms flare, you may feel as if you cannot breathe, think, or even see clearly. And when that happens, it may trigger even more anxiety, which perpetuates the vicious cycle.
How Anxiety Causes Chest Pain
When youre anxious, your brain sends a surge of adrenaline and cortisol through your body. These hormones immediately trigger a rapid rise in your heart rate and blood pressure. As a result, many people experience chest pain and sweating, or have a hard time breathing.
The sudden boost of adrenaline can narrow the arteries in your heart and attach to cells inside the heart. This condition, called stress cardiomyopathy, mimics a heart attack, from symptoms all the way down to changes in your hearts electrical activity.
Though stress cardiomyopathy usually heals within a few days or weeks, it may lead to weak heart muscles, congestive heart failure, and abnormal heart rhythms.
Levels of adrenaline and cortisol dont return to normal in people with anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Chronically high hormone levels may trigger a panic attack and increase your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Don’t Miss: Do Anxiety And Depression Go Together
Ask Them To Seek Professional Help
If the anxiety is severe, interfering with life activities, or causing problems, ask them to seek professional help.
You can encourage them to make an appointment with a mental health professional.
If they resist, remind them it is only an appointment and not a commitment to a long-term treatment plan.
You can also offer to help them explore their options and help them find a provider.
Phobias And Irrational Fears
A phobia is an unrealistic or exaggerated fear of a specific object, activity, or situation that in reality presents little to no danger. Common phobias include fear of animals , fear of flying, and fear of heights. In the case of a severe phobia, you might go to extreme lengths to avoid the object of your fear. Unfortunately, avoidance only strengthens the phobia.
Don’t Miss: How Does Social Anxiety Develop
What Do Knots Feel Like
Muscles knots can cause aching sensations and pain in your muscles and joints. When you touch a muscle knot, it may feel swollen, tense, or bumpy. It could also feel tight and contracted, even when youre trying to relax, and theyre often sensitive to the touch. The affected area may even become inflamed or swollen.
What Should You Do When Anxiety Attacks
While some symptoms build up and persist over time, symptoms of anxiety can also attack often referred to as a panic attack.
A panic attack comes with intense symptoms that can often be mistaken for symptoms of a heart attack, says Dr. Sawal. Symptoms of a panic attack include a racing heartbeat, trembling or shaking, shortness of breath and chest pain.
If you know that what youre experiencing is a panic attack, Dr. Sawal recommends the following:
- Remove yourself from the source of your panic attack
- Engage in deep breathing exercises and positive self-talk
- Take steps to address why you are anxious to help prevent future panic attacks
But, if youre not sure that what youre experiencing is a panic attack and youre experiencing chest pain, its critical that you talk to your doctor.
Both anxiety and chest pain can be a sign of something more serious, and your doctor will need to confirm that your symptoms arent caused by an underlying medical condition, adds Dr. Sawal.
Read Also: Can Anxiety Cause Weight Gain
Supporting Someone With Anxiety Or Depression
There are ways that you can help someone with anxiety or depression. It may be helpful to:
- let them know if youve noticed a change in their behaviour
- spend time talking about their experiences and let them know youre there to listen without being judgmental
- help them to get information from a website, library or community health centre
- suggest they go to a doctor or health professional, and help them to make an appointment
- offer to go with them to their appointment and follow up with them afterwards
- encourage them to get enough sleep, to exercise and to eat well
- encourage family and friends to invite them out and keep in touch, but dont pressure them to participate in activities
- contact a doctor or hospital if they become a threat to themselves or others.
It is unhelpful to:
- put pressure on them by telling them to snap out of it or get their act together
- stay away or avoid them
- tell them they just need to stay busy or get out more
- pressure them to party more or wipe out how theyre feeling with drugs and alcohol
- assume the problem will just go away.
If you or someone you know needs support, talk to a doctor or other health professional about getting appropriate treatment.
Also Check: Whats The Point Of Life Depression
Heres How And When To Get Professional Help
Now for a bright side: Its totally possible to treat anxiety and panic attacks. Therapy is often a crucial part of treatment, especially methods like cognitive behavioral therapy, to help you retrain your brains anxious thoughts. Medications like antianxiety drugs may help too, as can lifestyle changes, including joining a support group or picking up some stress-management techniques. The best course of treatment is different for everyone and will depend on your specific symptoms. For many people, a blend of techniques will work best.
Speaking of professional help, you might find yourself wondering when to know its time to seek some for your physical symptoms of anxiety. Honestly, theres no clear-cut answer, but a good rule of thumb is if these symptoms are getting in the way of your life, you might want to consider seeing someone. Even if they dont feel super disruptive, it cant hurt to check with your doctor or make an appointment with a therapist. Because, hey, you could always feel better.
If youre feeling ready to take a step toward professional help, this guide to finding an affordable therapist is a solid place to start.
Also Check: How Does Meditation Help Anxiety
Is It A Heart Attack Or Anxiety
It makes sense to respond to pain especially when you dont know its source with anxiety or worry. But if that pain is caused by anxiety in the first place, your natural response can spiral into an anxiety attack.
One reason you might respond to chest pain with anxiety is if you think, What if Im having a heart attack?
Knowing the difference between anxiety symptoms and heart attack symptoms can help you feel more at ease when having chest pain. And chances are, naming this pain could help you reduce it quickly.
When youre in the midst of a high-anxiety moment, your body is more likely to be experiencing:
- higher blood pressure
- more oxygen to the heart
- heart palpitations
Are You Having An Anxiety Attack Or A Heart Attack
People who suffer from panic attacks often say their acute anxiety feels like a heart attack, as many of the symptoms can seem the same. Both conditions can be accompanied by shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, sweating, a pounding heartbeat, dizziness, and even physical weakness or temporary paralysis.
Perhaps most powerful, though, is the sense of dread that overshadows both events. The fear itself can lead to an increase in these symptoms.
To learn more about living a heart-healthy lifestyle and what to do when anxiety feels like a heart attack, contact UPMCs Heart and Vascular Institute today.
Recommended Reading: Can Anxiety Give You Chills
Treating A Tight Chest
Your doctor will conduct tests to determine the cause of your chest tightness. If the tests for a heart attack come back negative, your symptoms may be caused by anxiety.
You should discuss your symptoms with your doctor to determine when to seek immediate medical attention if you experience chest tightness again. It may be possible to link your chest tightness to other symptoms thatll help you identify anxiety versus a cardiac event.