Feeling Dizzy Or Tingling In Your Limbs
According to Prevention, “When you start having a panic attack, there is less blood in your extremities. In turn, some people feel weaker in their arms, legs, hands, and feet.” This decrease in blood flow can also make your feet and hands tingle, or feel a bit numb, as if you stayed put in one position too long.
It’s As If A Vice Is Squeezing Me
Anita Lesko, 61, Pensacola, Fla.
Courtesy Anita Lesko
Anita Lesko has always been a germaphobe, so her anxiety started to build when she first read about the coronavirus in early 2020.
A certified registered nurse anesthetist , Lesko knew she was at higher risk of exposure because of her job administering anesthesia to patients before surgery. When she began hearing about the nationwide lack of personal protective equipment for health-care workers, Lesko really began to worry.
“The prospect of going to work, getting exposed and ending up on a ventilator or dead that’s what pushed me over the edge, she says.
One morning in March, when she was between patients at the hospital, Lesko developed a deep feeling of impending doom. She began to hyperventilate, her heart started racing and she broke out in a sweat. Pressure began building in her chest.
“I got a gripping sensation in my whole chest and throat area, as if a vice was squeezing me, she said. Then I started shaking literally to the core of my body.
Lesko asked to leave early and fled to her car. She collapsed into the driver’s seat and burst into tears.
“I was just sitting there trying to talk myself out of it, and trying to make myself breathe normally, she recalls.
It took about 30 minutes before she was calm enough to drive. When Lesko got home, she was so exhausted she had to sleep for a few hours before she could do anything.
Who Is At Risk For Anxiety Disorders
A mix of genetic and environmental factors can raise a persons risk for developing anxiety disorders. You may be at higher risk if you have or had:
- Certain personality traits, such as shyness or behavioral inhibition feeling uncomfortable with, and avoiding, unfamiliar people, situations or environments.
- Stressful or traumatic events in early childhood or adulthood.
- Family history of anxiety or other mental health conditions.
- Certain physical conditions, including thyroid problems and heart arrhythmias .
Anxiety disorders occur more often in women. Researchers are still studying why that happens. It may come from womens hormones, especially those that fluctuate throughout the month. The hormone testosterone may play a role, too men have more, and it may ease anxiety. Its also possible that women are less likely to seek treatment, so the anxiety worsens.
Differences In How They Start
Anxiety can be a response to a specific worry or fear. It tends to develop gradually, and a person is usually worried or concerned at the outset. It can be mild, moderate or severe. There may be a sense that if only this problem can be solved, everything will be all right.
A panic attack can happen without warning, and there is no way to prevent it. It can happen whether a person feels calm or anxious, and even during sleep. There is often no obvious cause, and the level of fear is out of proportion to the trigger. In fact, according to the APA, the reaction is unrelated to the situation.
Stress Anxiety And Then Panic: Neal’s Story
As Sideman says, his attack occurred in the early 1990s, and few people seriously considered the possibility of a panic attack in a 39-year-old man. So he went home thinking all would be fine, only to have another, more severe attack one week later.
Now, looking back, the situation seems clearer.
I was under a lot of stress starting a new business, working 16-hour days, a close friend was ill and dying, and on top of all that, I was doing a super heavy workout regimen at the gym with a trainer,” Sideman says. “So it was a lot of physical stress, emotional stress, and a lot of financial stresses.” He says he also can see roots of anxiety in his childhood and teen years as well as in other family members.
In the moment, he didnt know what to think because it can be tough to know what a panic attack is like until you have one. His second panic attack was really a full-blown panic attack, where I thought I was going to die,” Sideman says. “I thought I was going to pass out, not wake up, go crazy, have a heart attack.”
He recalled being terrified, and the response he chose was one that can actually make panic disorder worse: He started to avoid the situations where he had attacks.
Types Of Anxiety Disorder
There are several different classified anxiety disorders. Each one features different types of symptoms that can, in some cases, be triggered by specific situations.
Panic disorder : This involves at least two panic attacks accompanied by the constant fear of future attacks. People with panic disorder may lose a job, refuse to travel or leave their home, or completely avoid anything they believe will trigger an attack of anxiety.
Generalized anxiety disorder : This is a constant state of worry about a number of events or activities in the persons life.
Phobic disorder: This features an incapacitating and irrational fear of an object or situation, for example, a fear of spiders or open spaces . Most adults with phobic disorder are aware that their fear is irrational.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder : This condition is marked by unwanted repeated thoughts and behaviors .
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.
What To Do During A Panic Attack
There are strategies that you can learn to help you to cope with an unexpected panic attack, including the following:
- As you are likely to hyperventilate during a panic attack, stop whatever you are doing when you feel one coming on , close your eyes and focus on your breathing. During these moments, breathe in for three seconds, hold the breath for two seconds and then breathe out again for three seconds, taking deeper breaths than usual. Getting back in control of your breathing can help you to stop the panic attack from intensifying or lasting longer.
- Learn and use positive mantras such as this is just my anxiety and these feelings will pass to stop your panic cycle. Panic attacks can cause you to think that you are going to collapse, have a heart attack or that you are going to lose control, which can result in you panicking even further. Having positive, factual and simple mantras to hand can help you to address and challenge your anxious thoughts so that you can alleviate the panic attack.
- Distract yourself from your negative thoughts by shifting your focus from your panic attack onto your surroundings. Concentrate on one thing that is in your eye line, whether that is a vase, a plant, or a building. Allowing yourself to think about its colour, texture, shape and size can help you to calm your mind and relieve you from your panicked thoughts.
Anxiety Attack: The Most Common Symptoms
- Insane, overwhelming strike of panic
- Dizziness, feeling faint or light headed.
- Accelerated heartbeat or heart palpitations
- Numbness, particularly in your feet and hands.
- Feeling detached and unreal. Basically, you feel like you are going crazy.
- Fearing youre dying.
An anxiety attack can roll in with most of the above or just a few symptoms, coming one after another or all at once.
The symptoms can last from a few seconds to a terrible half an hour, though the average number is 10 minutes says, Doctor Merav Gur.
How To Tell If You’re Having A Panic Attack Versus An Anxiety Attack
The terms panic attack and anxiety attack are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. Both have several symptoms in common but there are key characteristics that help to distinguish them both. The different attacks have a different duration and have different intensities as well.
Exactly What To Do If You’re Having A Panic Attack
Usually, a panic attack only lasts a few minutes, but those moments can feel like an eternity. To shorten its duration, the most important thing you can do is not fight it. Easier said than done, right? But its important. “The more you struggle not to panic, the more anxious you make yourself and the more adrenaline you feed into your system, which extends the panic attack,” Chambless says.
Instead, take slow, calming breaths and tell yourself that this will all pass in a few moments. Progressive muscle relaxation can also help, says Ellen Albertson, PhD, a psychologist in private practice. With this technique, you work from head-to-toe systematically tensing groups of muscles, like your neck and shoulders, and then relaxing those muscles and noticing how that makes you feel.
Panic attacks can be a one-time thing for some people. So even though theyre pretty freaky, theyre not necessarily a cause for concern. Theyre often more of a wakeup call that you need to minimize the stress in your life. But if youre experiencing panic attacks often, your best long-term strategy is to learn how to deal with your feelings of worry and fear in a way that doesnt allow them to escalate. “Cognitive behavioral therapy can help you recognize which anxious thoughts and feelings often trigger an attack and how to better manage them,” says Albertson.
How To Calm Yourself Down When Crying
Many feelings can result in tears. There are happy tears, angry tears, tears of frustration, grief, or embarrassment. Even though its a universal experience, most people dont want to cry in front of others. Berating yourself doesnt make it any better. Here are some self-compassionate ways to manage tears.
- Cry it out
Ever try not to cry? It doesn’t feel great. If you can, let yourself cry. It’s often over much more quickly then it would be if you tried to fight it. Sometimes, you just need to feel whatever the feeling is.
- Wash your face
Yes, it helps cover up the fact that you’ve been crying. However, it feels really good to wash your face with some cool water when you cry.
- Drink something warm
You know that swollen feeling in the throat of trying to choke back tears? Drinking something warm can help you relax. It also helps you to slow down. Nothing inspires mindful breathing more than blowing on a hot beverage.
Keep Lavender On Hand
Lavender is known for being soothing and stress-relieving. It can help your body relax. If you know youre prone to panic attacks, keep some on hand and put some on your forearms when you experience a panic attack. Breathe in the scent.
You can also try drinking lavender or . Both are relaxing and soothing.
Lavender should not be combined with benzodiazepines. This combination can cause intense drowsiness.
Recognizing Panic Attack Symptoms
The particular symptoms of a panic attack will vary depending on the personand not every panic attack mimics what you might see on TV or in movies. But typically, Chambless says, in addition to a sudden onset of anxiety and fear, a panic attack is accompanied by four or more of the following symptoms, which are outlined in a widely used professional guidebook :
Anxiety Can Cause Mild To Severe Depression
Anxiety, as a distinct disorder, can affect your social life, your work life, and your ability to find joy in activities. It also puts a great deal of stress on your mind and body.
Anxiety may reduce your involvement in activities that would usually give you pleasure and fulfillment. If this continues over time, it can lead to depression. In fact, depression is often a comorbid diagnosis with anxiety. In many cases, anxiety comes first and contributes to the development of depression.
Anxiety may not necessarily cause long-lasting depression, but the stress on your brain and the feelings of constant fear and fatigue can often lead to a temporary low mood and, thus, crying.
Myth: Only People Diagnosed With A Mental Illness Experience Panic Attacks
Reality: Anyone can experience a panic attack, even without a diagnosis of mental illness.
That said, some people are more at risk for experiencing multiple panic attacks throughout their life, including people with a family history of panic attacks or history of child abuse or trauma. Someone also has a higher risk if they have diagnoses of:
Shortness Of Breath And Smothering Sensation
During a panic attack many people hyperventilate or feel like theyre suffocating. This can cause you to cough, gag, or even vomit.
As intense and uncomfortable as these symptoms can be, theyre a natural response to the adrenaline rush youre experiencing.
Try to focus on steadying your breathing by taking deep breaths in and out. Your regular breathing rate should return within 5 to 30 minutes.
What Is An Anxiety Disorder
Its normal to have some anxiety. You may feel anxious or nervous if you have to tackle a problem at work, go to an interview, take a test or make an important decision. And anxiety can even be beneficial. For example, anxiety helps us notice dangerous situations and focuses our attention, so we stay safe.
But an anxiety disorder goes beyond the regular nervousness and slight fear you may feel from time to time. An anxiety disorder happens when:
- Anxiety interferes with your ability to function.
- You often overreact when something triggers your emotions.
- You cant control your responses to situations.
Anxiety disorders can make it difficult to get through the day. Fortunately, there are several effective treatments for anxiety disorders.
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.
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 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 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.
Faq Regarding Medical Treatments
If you are debating whether you need to seek treatment or not, here are some of the questions you may be asking yourself and some possible answers.
Does Therapy Work?
Therapy can help you to identify triggers as well as helps you to manage your symptoms. Therapy may also help you to deal with issues from your past. Persons diagnosed with panic disorder or anxiety disorder may find cognitive behavioral therapy to be the most effective type of treatment.
Does Medication Help?
Medication is helpful for reducing symptoms for those who have recurrent panic or anxiety attacks or severe attacks. Medication is often used in conjunction with therapy for those with panic or anxiety issues. Some of the medications that can be prescribed include:
From Crying To Apathy
In a way, its almost advantageous that youre able to cry. Crying is actually a natural stress reliever. When you cry, you let out your emotions. By triggering a crying reaction, you may help to reduce your stress levels.
There are people who may struggle with other emotions. Some peoples anxiety is so strong that it leads to emotional numbing or the inability to feel emotions. These people may cry less, but they are also unable to experience any happiness or joy. They generally experience constant negativity each and every day, shutting themselves off from all emotions. As they have become so used to blocking out their emotions, when something tips them over the emotional threshold and they cry, it may feel like it has come from nowhere.
How To Help Calm Other People
It can be hard to know how to help your friends and colleagues when theyre upset. And you likely know how frustrating Just calm down can be. Here are some ways you can help calm other people down when theyre upset:
1. Just listen
A listening ear is surprisingly hard to find. Sometimes, the best thing you can do for someone whos upset is provide a safe, non-judgemental space. Avoid giving them advice or interjecting with your experience. Just let them get it out.
2. Ask questions
Instead of telling them what they should do, ask questions about their experience. Aim to understand where theyre coming from. Validate them and their feelings. Statements like I cant imagine how frustrated you must be can help them feel heard without adding fuel to the fire.
3. Encourage them to get out of their head
When dealing with emotions, the physical sensations can be just as overwhelming as the emotional ones. Utilize the brain-body connection and do something physical. Depending on what theyre feeling, you can have them push against a wall, stretch, do jumping jacks, or just exhale slowly.
4. Help them change their scenery
If its possible, take them on a walk or get them into a different space. This can be especially helpful when the location theyre in is contributing to their stress. Grab a cup of coffee or visit a nearby park. If thats not possible, see if you can grab an open conference room or other, neutral space.
What Happens In Your Brain
Scientists are still studying how panic attacks affect the brain. Itâs possible that the parts of the brain that are tied to fear become more active during an episode. One recent study found that people with panic disorder had lots of activity in a part of their brains tied to the âfight or flightâ response.
Other studies have found possible links between panic disorder and the chemicals in your brain. The condition may also be linked to an imbalance in serotonin levels, which can affect your moods.
Picture Your Happy Place
Whats the most relaxing place in the world that you can think of? A sunny beach with gently rolling waves? A cabin in the mountains?
Picture yourself there, and try to focus on the details as much as possible. Imagine digging your toes into the warm sand, or smelling the sharp scent of pine trees.
This place should be quiet, calm, and relaxing no streets of New York or Hong Kong, no matter how much you love the cities in real life.
Can Crying Kill You
No, crying cant kill you, but it could aggravate an underlying medical condition if that condition is aggravated by stress. In many cases, crying is cathartic and a healthy expression of emotion. But don’t cry too much or often, as crying does stress the body. Occasional crying is beneficial whereas too frequent anxiety crying isnt, and can lead to a depressed mood, which also stresses the body.
Why Am I Crying For No Reason:
1. Most people are overwhelmed and dont even realize it.
You may be heading home from work sitting in traffic, and all of a sudden tears begin to fall. At that moment you probably are thinking, what is wrong with me? Why am I crying? Im not even sad! If you are unaware of the amount of stress you are under, then stress can find a way to express itself, whether you are expecting it to or not. Stress lives in the body and crying is one form of release that stress finds. So pay attention to the amount of stress youre under, it may be contributing to your experience of crying for no reason.
2. You dont have to be clinically diagnosed with depression to experience symptoms of depression.
While it is a common mood disorder, many of the symptoms are common for people to experience as well. Some symptoms of depression are persistent sadness, empty mood, or hopelessness. Amongst other symptoms, these feelings tend to make people cry. The conscious connection may not be made so people assume they are crying for no reason.
3. Similar to stress, many people experience anxiety.
4. If you are a woman, unexpected crying can be related to premenstrual syndrome.
5.Processing the death of someone you love or cared for does not have a deadline.
6. Have you heard of the pseudobulbar affect?
Involuntary Laughing During Panic/anxiety Attacks
Guest over a year ago
But lately the stuff that have been triggering the anxiety attacks have been bothering me a lot lately and I’ve been wanting to bring it up to my therapist, which I struggle to do regardless so actually the first time the laughing fit happened during an anxiety attack was the time I was home alone venting to my voice memos app to try and practice how I’d bring up my stressors to my therapist, I stopped audio recording as soon as I began hyperventilating because at that point I was like what’s the point but now I guess since that first happened 3 months ago, I never even contemplated bringing it up with my therapist because I’m afraid that’ll happen in front of her.The 3-4 times these recent anxiety attacks have happened, were when I was home alone, first being when I was trying to vent to myself and to my voice memos to try and figure out how to express everything to my therapist, and the other times were solely because I thought about the factors of my stress I apologize if this is lengthy, I just can’t keep letting everything build up I guess.
TLDR/Summary: Recent anxiety attacks have included involuntary laughter that don’t provide any form of relief or benefit, and were out of sync with the emotions I was feeling. What could be causing this?