Is This Your First Panic Attack
If you suspect that you are experiencing a panic attack for the first time, it is always recommended to go to the emergency room. So if youre wondering, Should I go to the ER for a panic attack? the answer is yes.
The primary reason for this has a lot to do with theunknown. You have never had a panic attack before, which means youve likely never been treated for one. Because of this, it can be very difficult for you to accurately diagnose yourself without the help of a medical professional.
A medical professional can help get your relief while ruling out other serious health complications that might be mistaken for a panic attack.
Keep Reading: Understand the difference between a panic attack and a heart attack
Managing Symptoms: Staying Healthy
Being healthy is important for all children and can be especially important for children with depression or anxiety. In addition to getting the right treatment, leading a healthy lifestyle can play a role in managing symptoms of depression or anxiety. Here are some healthy behaviors that may help:
- Having a healthy eating plan centered on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes , lean protein sources, and nuts and seeds
- Participating in physical activity for at least 60 minutes each day
- Practicing mindfulness or relaxation techniques
What Is A Panic Disorder
If you have a panic disorder, you get intense, sudden panic attacks. These attacks often feature stronger, more intense feelings than other types of anxiety disorders.
The feelings of terror may start suddenly and unexpectedly or they may come from a trigger, like facing a situation you dread. Panic attacks can resemble heart attacks. If theres any chance youre experiencing a heart attack, go to the emergency room. Its better to err on the side of caution and have a healthcare professional check you.
During a panic attack, you may experience:
- Chest pain.
- Feeling of choking, which can make you think youre having a heart attack or going crazy.
Panic attacks are very upsetting. People with panic disorder often spend a lot of time worrying about the next panic attack. They also try to avoid situations that might trigger an attack.
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How To Control Your Anxiety During Heart Palpitations
It’s always important to first get checked out by a doctor. Heart health issues are nothing to leave to chance. But it’s also important to remember that after your doctor has told you that you have a healthy heart, it’s common to continue to fear that the doctor missed something . Anxiety causes worst case scenario thinking, and so doctor’s visits may not always be sufficient to calm the mind – but they are necessary and constitute a step in the right direction.
If you’re suffering from heart palpitations, consider the following tips to prevent that palpitation developing into a panic attack:
One thing to notice, however, is that none of these are going to stop palpitations from occurring if you already have anxiety. Remember that focusing on your heart too much can in fact trigger or exacerbate palpitations. Although palpitations in and of themselves are generally harmless, the best way to address this issue is to commit to a formal anxiety reduction strategy. By lowering your anxiety levels, youre reducing the overall likelihood of experiencing palpitations.
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Symptoms Of Anxiety And Depression
According to the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders , the standard classification of mental disorders used by mental health professionals in the United States, anxiety and depression can share several common symptoms, including, but not limited to:
- Being easily fatigued
- Sleep disturbance
Other signs that a person may suffer from both anxiety disorder and depression include:
- Constant, irrational fear and worry
- Physical symptoms like rapid heartbeat, headaches, hot flashes, sweating, abdominal pain, and/or difficulty breathing
- Changes in eating, either too much or too little
- Persistent feelings of sadness or worthlessness
- Loss of interest in hobbies and activities
- Inability to relax
- Panic attacks
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Panic Disorder With Agoraphobia
Agoraphobia was traditionally thought to involve a fear of public places and open spaces. However, it is now believed that agoraphobia develops as a complication of panic attacks and panic disorder. Although it can develop at any point, agoraphobia usually appears within a year of your first recurrent panic attacks.
If youre agoraphobic, youre afraid of having a panic attack in a situation where escape would be difficult or embarrassing. You may also be afraid of having a panic attack where you wouldnt be able to get help. Because of these fears, you start avoiding more and more situations.
For example, you may begin to avoid:
- Crowded places such as shopping malls or sports arenas.
- Cars, airplanes, subways, and other forms of travel.
- Social gatherings, restaurants, or other situations where it would be embarrassing to have a panic attack.
- Physical exercise in case it triggers panic.
- Certain food or drinks that could provoke panic, such as alcohol, caffeine, sugar, or specific medications.
- Going anywhere without the company of someone who makes you feel safe. In more severe cases, you might only feel safe at home.
Whats The Outlook For People With Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders can often go undiagnosed and untreated. Fortunately, treatment can help. The right treatment can help improve your quality of life, relationships and productivity. It can also support your overall well-being.
You dont need to live with constant worry and fear. If you notice symptoms of an anxiety disorder, talk to your healthcare provider. Its best to get diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. Doing so can limit the problems that anxiety disorders can cause. Often, a combination of medications and counseling for anxiety can help you feel your best.
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Types Of Anxiety Disorders:
Generalized Anxiety Disorder is characterized by chronic and exaggerated worry and tension, much more than the typical anxiety that most people experience in their daily lives. People may have trembling, twitching, muscle tension, nausea, irritability, poor concentration, depression, fatigue, headaches, light-headedness, breathlessness or hot flashes.
Panic Disorder: People with panic disorder have panic attacks with feelings of terror that strike suddenly and repeatedly with no warning. During the attacks, individuals may feel like they can’t breathe, have lost control, are having a heart attack or even that they are dying. Physical symptoms may include chest pain, dizziness, nausea, sweating, tingling or numbness, and a racing heartbeat. Some people will have one isolated attack, while others will develop a long term panic disorder either way, there is often high anxiety between attacks because there is no way of knowing when the next one will occur. Panic disorders often begin early in adulthood. Many people with panic disorder also suffer from agoraphobia . See more on Panic Attacks.
Phobias are irrational fears. Individuals with phobias realize their fears are irrational, but thinking about or facing the feared object or situation can bring on a panic attck or severe anxiety.
Risk Factors For Panic Attacks While Taking Cannabis
Medical News Today states that research on cannabis use currently focuses on adolescents who are more likely to use marijuana for the first time. Adults who are regular users offer us a better picture of who may get a panic attack as a result of regular use.
Up to 25 percent of people who use marijuana may become problematic users. Of this group, another quarter of users may have an anxiety disorder. People who have anxiety as children are more likely to use cannabis in problematic ways.
There are a few things problematic users have in common.
- Many have experienced maltreatment or bullying as children.
- Some people who begin using marijuana as adults may simply have had fewer friends who use marijuana as teenagers, causing delayed problem use of marijuana.
- Persistent users normally had problems with marijuana as early as age 9.
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What Might Indicate That Both Anxiety And Depression Are Present
Traits that may signal the presence of both anxiety disorder and depression include:
- Irrational worries or fears that wont go away
- Physical symptoms, such as fatigue, headaches, rapid heartbeat, labored breathing or abdominal pain
- Difficulty going to sleep or staying asleep
- Changes in eating habits either too much or too little
- Trouble remembering, making decisions or concentrating
- Constant feelings of sadness or worthlessness
- Loss of usual interest in activities or hobbies
- Feeling often tired and cranky
- Inability to relax and live in the moment
- Suffering from panic attacks, including the sense of losing inner control2
Prevalence Of Panic Disorder
Panic disorder affects 2-3% of people every year in the United States and Europe, with varying rates depending on race and ethnicity. On average, Native American Indian populations experience panic disorder at higher rates than non-Latino white Americans. In contrast, African Americans, Latinos, Caribbean Blacks, and Asian Americans all experience the disorder at lower rates than non-Latino white Americans. In addition, it has been well established than females are twice as likely to be diagnosed with panic disorder than males . A number of factors have been identified as possibly influencing sex differences in rates of panic disorder . However, no one theory has been determined so the underlying reason for sex differences in rates of panic disorder remains unknown.
The typical course of panic disorder begins in adolescence and peaks in early to mid-twenties, with symptoms rarely present in children under the age of 14 or in older adults over the age of 64 . Caregivers can look for symptoms of panic attacks in adolescents, followed by notable changes in their behavior , to help potentially identify the onset of panic disorder. Panic disorder is most likely to develop between the ages of 20-24 years and although females are more likely to have panic disorder, there are no significant sex differences in how the disorder presents .
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Give Yourself A Simple Massage
In order to stop panic attacks, youll need to help yourself relax. Unfortunately, going to the spa regularly can be out of some peoples price range. So youll have to practice pampering yourself. There are a few spots that do the trick.
When having a panic attack, massage the top part of your nose between the eyes. Just move your finger up and down gently to help you relax. You can also massage your wrists or feet. Sometimes rubbing your chest above the heart can help you unwind. Some people rub ice on themselves in a massaging motion to help stop panic attacks. So you can try that too!
Anxiety And The Covid Vaccine
The best way to combat vaccine hesitancy from is with reputable data, says Thea Gallagher, PsyD, assistant professor and director of Outpatient Clinic at the Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Always choose scientific data over a Mom blog that says vaccines cause or offers an anti-vaxxer conspiracy theory.
What Strategies Are Often Used In Treating This Dual Diagnosis
Evidence-based research suggests that both anxiety and depression be treated at the same time.
Effective strategies often used in treating these co-occurring conditions include:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy CBT is often used to treat people with both disorders. Fears, anxieties and tendencies toward depression are managed by seeking out their root causes. Once uncovered, patients learn how to take control of their emotions and life.
- Antidepressant medications Often combined with CBT, these may be prescribed in treating both disorders. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are new antidepressant drugs that produce fewer side effects than their predecessors.
- Exercise This can be very helpful for both disorders. Physical activity causes feel-good chemicals to be released in the body. This aids in relaxation and feeling of well-being.
- Relaxation techniques This typically involves meditation or mindfulness. These techniques can often help to remedy both disorders and improve quality of life.2
How Is Panic Disorder Treated
First, talk to your doctor about your symptoms. Your doctor should do an exam and ask you about your health history to make sure that an unrelated physical problem is not causing your symptoms. Your doctor may refer to you a mental health specialist, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist.
Panic disorder is generally treated with psychotherapy, medication, or both. Talk with your doctor about the best treatment for you.
Psychotherapy. A type of psychotherapy called cognitive behavioral therapy is especially useful as a first-line treatment for panic disorder. CBT teaches you different ways of thinking, behaving, and reacting to the feelings that come on with a panic attack. The attacks can begin to disappear once you learn to react differently to the physical sensations of anxiety and fear that occur during panic attacks.
For more information on psychotherapy, see .
Medication. Doctors also may prescribe different types of medications to help treat panic disorder:
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
- Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors
Another type of medication called beta-blockers can help control some of the physical symptoms of panic disorder, such as rapid heart rate. Although doctors do not commonly prescribe beta-blockers for panic disorder, they may be helpful in certain situations that precede a panic attack.
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When Should You Call Your Doctor
- Chest pain or pressure, or a strange feeling in the chest.
- Shortness of breath.
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Pain, pressure, or a strange feeling in the back, neck, jaw, or upper belly, or in one or both shoulders or arms.
- Lightheadedness or sudden weakness.
- A fast or irregular heartbeat.
After you call 911, the operator may tell you to chew 1 adult-strength or 2 to 4 low-dose aspirin. Wait for an ambulance. Do not try to drive yourself.
- Attacks of intense fear or that seem to come on without a reason.
- A panic attack or worry that you will have another one, and your worrying keeps you from doing your daily activities.
- Physical symptoms now and then , and you arent sure what is causing them.
What Heart Palpitations Tell You About Your Anxiety
Heart palpitations can affect anyone with anxiety. They’re both a symptom and a cause of anxiety, and they are especially common in those that suffer from panic attacks.
Heart palpitations can be caused by anxiety. At other times, however, they may occur for no particular reason and then go on to cause subsequent anxiety. Palpitations are a confusing and potentially distressing event and people may erroneously assume that something is terribly wrong with their heart.
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What Causes Panic Attacks After Drinking Alcohol
A panic attack, after alcohol or otherwise, is an episode of extreme anxiety where emotions are amplified and terrifying. A person may experience shortness of breath or hyperventilate and feel detached from reality. Their mind is overloaded with worrying thoughts and fears, even of things that do not present any clear and immediate danger.
There are several explanations why alcohol is responsible. If you look at the biological side of things, it is well-known that alcohol causes a number of physiological symptoms such as dehydration, low blood sugar, and elevated heart rate. These may make a person feel uneasy, dizzy, and irritable, and may lead to a panic attack. Its not just alcohol that causes this. Too much of some drugs such as, caffeine, or even sugar can prompt a similar response.
Because alcohol affects GABA, an inhibiting neurotransmitter in the brain, it does make a person feel calmer at first. It acts like a depressant and sedative. However, when the alcohol wears off, GABA levels decrease, triggering an anxious, exaggerated and overstimulated state.
Serotonin levels go up and down in a similar fashion. They go up when a person drinks, and crash when they stop. If a person drinks regularly, the natural GABA and serotonin levels can get destabilised, making withdrawal symptoms and anxiety attacks worse.
If blackouts are involved, the extra stress of the unknown, especially if poor judgement was involved, can increase anxiety levels further.
Give Yourself A Bigger Problem To Work On
As mentioned before, your mind is inclined to go down rabbit holes when youre high.
Whatever train of thought you decide to follow, you tend to follow it much further than you would while sober.
Obviously, this is terrible if the subject of your attention is a panic attack, but what if you can shift your attention elsewhere?
If there is a big problem or question youve been struggling with for a while, this is the time to think through it.
Got a big decision to make? Thinking about your next career move?Pondering the meaning of life?
This is a good opportunity to put your overthinking to use.
If your thoughts want to run 100mph, give them a better direction to run in.
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What Causes Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders are like other forms of mental illness. They dont come from personal weakness, character flaws or problems with upbringing. But researchers dont know exactly what causes anxiety disorders. They suspect a combination of factors plays a role:
- Chemical imbalance: Severe or long-lasting stress can change the chemical balance that controls your mood. Experiencing a lot of stress over a long period can lead to an anxiety disorder.
- Environmental factors: Experiencing a trauma might trigger an anxiety disorder, especially in someone who has inherited a higher risk to start.
- Heredity: Anxiety disorders tend to run in families. You may inherit them from one or both parents, like eye color.