What Does Anxiety Attack Mean
Anxiety attacks often have triggers, although they can be triggered by nothing at all. Some people experience anxiety attacks during periods of intense anxiety, but many others experience them “out of nowhere,” usually as a response to a physical sensation. For example, it’s not uncommon to have your first anxiety attack simply because your heartbeat speeds up, because anxiety has caused you to be hypersensitive to these changes.
The causes of anxiety attacks are everything from severe stress to hyperventilation to a need to regain control. It differs for different people, which is why treating it has a great deal to do with identifying triggers. Once you’ve experienced an anxiety attack, the fear of another anxiety attack may actually trigger an attack, because those that are afraid of getting a panic attack again often pay too much attention to their own body, and react to any changes in sensations.
What Does It Feel Like
Again, the experience may be different for everyone, but if you have social anxiety and youâre in a stressful situation, you might have physical symptoms like:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Inability to catch breath
- âOut-of-bodyâ sensation
You may start having symptoms and getting anxious immediately before an event, or you might spend weeks worrying about it. Afterward, you could spend a lot of time and mental energy worrying about how you acted.
Why Do I Feel Like Something Terrible Is About To Happen
A sense of impending doom is a common accompaniment to bouts of anxiety and especially panic attacks. Not only may it seemingly strike out of the blue, it also tends to exacerbate the anxiety. The feeling that something bad is about to happen is triggered by the bodys response when the mind senses a threat. Hormones released as part of the bodys stress response put the brain on high alert, scanning relentlessly for danger, and a strong stress response can lead to the feeling that catastrophe awaits. Measures to tamp down the stress response, such as deep-breathing for a few minutes, can dampen the sense of impending doom.
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Anxiety Can Be Normal And Beneficial
There is an infinite number of human experiences that cause normal anxiety. Life offers us the experience of many anxiety-provoking firsts,” such as a first date, the first day of school, the first time away from home.
As we journey through life, there are also many important life events, both good and bad, that cause varying amounts of anxiety. These events can include things such as, taking a school exam, getting married, becoming a parent, getting divorced, changing jobs, coping with illness, and many others.
The discomfort anxiety brings is considered normal and even beneficial.
Anxiety about an upcoming test, for example, may cause you to work harder in preparing for the exam. The anxiety you feel when walking through a dark and deserted parking lot to your car will cause you to be alert and aware of your surroundings.
What Are Anxiety Disorders
Its normal to feel anxious about moving to a new place, starting a new job, or taking a test. This type of anxiety is unpleasant, but it may motivate you to work harder and to do a better job. Ordinary anxiety is a feeling that comes and goes, but does not interfere with your everyday life.
In the case of an anxiety disorder, the feeling of fear may be with you all the time. It is intense and sometimes debilitating.
This type of anxiety may cause you to stop doing things you enjoy. In extreme cases, it may prevent you from entering an elevator, crossing the street, or even leaving your home. If left untreated, the anxiety will keep getting worse.
Anxiety disorders are the most common form of emotional disorder and can affect anyone at any age. According to the American Psychiatric Association, women are more likely than men to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.
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Can Foods Treat Anxiety
Medication and talk therapy are commonly used to treat anxiety. Lifestyle changes, like getting enough sleep and regular exercise, can also help. In addition, some research suggests the foods you eat may have a beneficial impact on your brain if you frequently experience anxiety.
These foods include:
What Is Panic Disorder
Everyone has probably experienced panic, or something like it, at least once in their lifetime: on a disturbingly turbulent airplane, or before giving an important presentation, or after realizing you hit reply all when you really, really should not have. We all know the paralyzed feeling and the heightened physical sensations. But panic attacks and panic disorder take a different shape. Panic attacks have many physical symptoms and tend to peak around 10 minutes, and may last for 30. Panic disorder is diagnosed by the frequency of these attacks, and the presence of a fear of having them.
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Why Do I Feel Anxious And Panicky
Anxiety is a feeling of unease, worry or fear. Everyone feels anxious at some point in their life, but for some people it can be an ongoing problem.
A little bit of anxiety can be helpful for example, feeling anxious before an exam might make you more alert and improve your performance. But too much anxiety could make you tired and unable to concentrate.
Trusted Organizations For Essential Anxiety Information
Founded in 1979, this organization raises awareness and offers support and education on mental health disorders such as anxiety, and provides information on how to cope with these disorders. You can access free crisis support via the NAMI HelpLine and find help through the sites online discussion groups, which have threads dedicated to dealing with various aspects of anxiety.
At the website for the federal governments mental health organization, you can find current statistics and other information on anxiety and other mental disorders. The site can also help you find ongoing studies to participate in.
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Why Do I Sometimes Feel Like I Can’t Breathe
Breathlessness is a common symptom of anxiety, and especially in its most extreme expression, panic. The feeling of being short of breath is caused directly by hormones released by the body any time the mind senses or chews over a threatwhatever it is that fills you with worry. Linked to the deep-seated stress response that automatically prepares the body for fight or flight, breathlessness is the sensation you get as the body speeds up heart rate and breathing in an attempt to speed extra oxygen to muscles.
The experience of breathlessness, especially in combination with awareness of a pounding heart, can set off a vicious cycle, itself exacerbating anxiety, leading to even more breathlessness. Breathlessness may last 10 minutes or more, but it eventually dissipates. Directly countering breathlessness with a minute or two of deep-breathing exercises is one of the most effective anti-anxiety measuresit not only sends oxygen to your overworking brain, it stimulates the parasympathetic nerve, the calming branch of the autonomic nervous system..
What Does It Mean To Be High
The term high-functioning generally means a person is operating at an elevated level, usually one that is above average functioning of others under the same or similar circumstances. The term is often used in relationship to developmental disorders, but it has often been used in relationship to mental health disorders to signify that a person is operating above whatever threshold is considered the norm.
With regard to anxiety disorder, the term high functioning has been the subject of much debate. While not an official diagnosis, the symptoms one feels are very real. But because people who suffer from high functioning anxiety appear not to have any disruptions or impairments of life functions, many people do not know anything is wrong, not even the person who is experiencing the anxiety. A person might look fine, even though his or her heart rate might be elevated, and intense feelings of doom and gastrointestinal distress are present. However, the ability to power through to get the job done is also high enough to overcome the anxiety while in public. Some of the same people later crash when in private. The exercise of controlling intense emotions can take a toll and require time alone, or periods of very low functioning in order to regroup. Other medical and mental health issues can develop under these circumstances.
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What Kind Of Anxiety Disorder Do You Have
As with every health issue, an accurate diagnosis is essential. A few common anxiety disorders include:
- Generalized anxiety disorder: A pattern of excessive worry about a variety of issues on most days for at least six months, often accompanied by physical symptoms, such as muscle tension, a hammering heart, or dizziness.
- Social anxiety disorder: Feeling significant anxiety in social situations or when called on to perform in front of others, such as in public speaking.
- Phobias: A particular animal, insect, object, or situation causes substantial anxiety.
- Panic disorder: Panic attacks are sudden, intense episodes of heart-banging fear, breathlessness, and dread. Its the feeling youd have if you just missed being hit by a Mack truck but for people with panic disorder there is no Mack truck, says Dr. Beresin.
Causes And Risk Factors Of Anxiety Disorders
Researchers think that various factors may contribute to anxiety. The more risk factors an individual has, the greater the likelihood that theyll develop an anxiety disorder, notes Dr. Chand.
An author of the study, Koraly Perez-Edgar, PhD, a professor of psychology at the Pennsylvania State University in University Park, says that this focus on threat may be one way that anxiety begins to take hold.
Individuals who attend to aspects of the environment that they consider threatening can potentially create a cycle that strengthens biases toward threat, as well as toward the view that the environment is threatening, which can then lead to social withdrawal and anxiety, she says.
People can learn to be anxious in various situations, says Jonathan Abramowitz, PhD, a professor of clinical psychology at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and the founding editor of the Journal of Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders.
This can occur through experiences in which anxiety or fear becomes associated with a specific stimulus or a stressful or traumatic event, by learning about something fearful, and through vicarious conditioning, he says.
Vicarious conditioning, says Dr. Abramowitz, occurs when you watch someone else experience a stressful and traumatic event like food poisoning or being bitten by a dog and come to see certain situations as dangerous.
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What Makes People Vulnerable To Anxiety
Anybody can experience a bout of debilitating anxiety. But some people seem to be inclined to anxiety: Because of genes or temperament, possibly as a result of early experience, possibly through over- or underactivity of some area of the brain, they interpret neutral situations as threatening or overreact to threatening situations.
Stress is a major contributor to anxiety, and the two conditions overlap in many ways. Stress can both set off anxiety and be a response to it.
For more see What Makes People Vulnerable to Anxiety?
Choose The Right Synonym For Anxiety
care, concern, solicitude, anxiety, worry mean a troubled or engrossed state of mind or the thing that causes this. care implies oppression of the mind weighed down by responsibility or disquieted by apprehension. a face worn by years of careconcern implies a troubled state of mind because of personal interest, relation, or affection. crimes caused concern in the neighborhood solicitude implies great concern and connotes either thoughtful or hovering attentiveness toward another. acted with typical maternal solicitudeanxiety stresses anguished uncertainty or fear of misfortune or failure. plagued by anxiety and self-doubt worry suggests fretting over matters that may or may not be real cause for anxiety. financial worries
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How Can I Get Help If I Think I Have An Anxiety Disorder
You should make an appointment to talk with your GP if you are worried about your symptoms. Or they are causing problems in your day to day life.
Your doctor will look at different things when deciding on your treatment such as the following.
- Your diagnosis and symptoms.
- Any other conditions you have.
- Guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence .
Talking therapiesThe NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapies programme has made psychological therapy more available on the NHS. IAPT services mainly provide support for low to moderate anxiety and depression.
The service can be run by the local NHS Trust or a non-NHS agency, like a charity who work with the local Trust.
IAPT should be available in your area. You can often self-refer or ask your GP to refer you.
To find your local the IAPT service you can search online here:
You can also ask your GP or PALS service for details of local IAPT services.
You can get more information about:
- GP: What to expect from your GP by clicking here.
- Medication. Choice and managing problems by clicking here.
- Talking therapies by clicking here.
When To Talk To Your Doctor
If you believe your anxiety is a problem, it is important to talk to your doctor. Because women tend to experience anxiety symptoms more frequently than men, experts now recommend that all women and girls aged 13 and older be screened for anxiety disorders during routine health screenings. Early detection and intervention is important since anxiety may grow worse over time if left untreated.
Excessive anxiety can be caused by a number of medical and psychological conditions. Problem anxiety has also been indicated in a variety of physical illnesses, such as heart disease, stomach problems, and pain. But, the best reason to talk to your doctor is that anxiety is controllable, and its complications are avoidable with treatment.
If you or a loved one are struggling with anxiety, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.
For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.
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When Does It Happen
Anyone with social anxiety disorder can experience it in different ways. But here are some common situations that people tend to have trouble with:
- Talking to strangers
- Eating in front of other people
- Going to school or work
- Starting conversations
Some of these situations might not cause a problem for you. For example, giving a speech may be easy, but going to a party might be a nightmare. Or you could be great at one-on-one conversations but not at stepping into a crowded classroom.
All socially anxious people have different reasons for dreading certain situations. But in general, itâs an overwhelming fear of:
- Being judged by others in social situations
- Being embarrassed or humiliated — and showing it by blushing, sweating, or shaking
- Accidentally offending someone
- Being the center of attention