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.
Symptoms Of A Panic Attack
This can trigger serious physical reactions. Many people who have one often think theyre having a heart attack. In fact, some even call 911 because they dont know whats happening. They usually have at least some of the following symptoms and these usually last about 10 to 15 minutes:
- A feeling of death or imminent danger.
What Does It Feel Like When You’re Having A Panic Attack
Well, it can literally feel like you’re about to die. You can have chest pain, shortness of breath, numbness, tingling, and or sweating. That’s why many people who are having panic attacks end up going to the emergency room. Most panic attacks peak over a matter of minutes and they’ll last for less than 30 minutes, but that time or the total duration of the attack can vary. So, panic attacks can actually last from a matter of seconds to hours.
Have You Ever Had A Panic Attack? If So, Please Comment Down Below And Please Share Your Symptoms Of A Panic Attack.
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What Is The Root Cause Of Anxiety
There is a multitude of sources that could be triggering your anxiety, such as environmental factors like a job or personal relationship, medical conditions, traumatic past experiences even genetics plays a role, points out Medical News Today. Seeing a therapist is a good first step. You cant do it all alone.
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.
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Focus On Something Else
After a panic attack, your personal thoughts and energy may be overly focused on your anxiety and other symptoms. Instead of feeding your anxiety with more attention or worry, try to concentrate on something that brings you some happiness or a sense of peace.
For example, you may find it helpful to bring your awareness to something fun you plan on doing in the future or to joyful times from your past. If possible, try taking a walk in the fresh air or engage in an activity you enjoy to help clear your mind.
Some distraction techniques that can be effective include counting breaths, watching television, reading a book, meditating, or a creative hobby.
What Do Panic Attacks Feel Like
During a panic attack, physical symptoms can build up very quickly. These can include:
- a pounding or racing heartbeat
- feeling faint, dizzy or light-headed
- feeling very hot or very cold
- sweating, trembling or shaking
- pain in your chest or abdomen
- struggling to breathe or feeling like you’re choking
- feeling like your legs are shaky or are turning to jelly
- feeling disconnected from your mind, body or surroundings, which are types of dissociation.
During a panic attack you might feel very afraid that you’re:
- losing control
- going to die.
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Calming Step : Have A Script Ready
A panic attack can fill your head with racing, negative thoughts, which can keep the panic going and make you feel worse. But you can wield a powerful weapon against them: A script of positive thoughts.
Write down encouraging words you can read to yourself during a panic attack, Dr. Josell says. Your script should answer the negative thoughts. So if you feel like youre going to pass out, tell yourself you wont. If you feel like youre dying, tell yourself you wont die from a panic attack. The words you hear are powerful, and over time, they become your truth.
Ideally, write your script when youre feeling calm. Tuck it in your pocket or purse or type it into your smartphone notes so its easy to access.
If youre in the middle of a panic attack and dont have your script, you can fight negative thoughts on the fly. Try repeating in your mind or out loud phrases like, Im strong, and I can handle this, or This is only temporary, and it will pass.
Your script helps you deal with an attack that arises, but its a preventive measure, too. It can calm your fear of having another panic attack because you know youre in control. The more confident you are that you can manage a panic attack, the less likely you are to have future attacks.
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:
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Symptoms Of Panic Attacks And Panic Disorder
A panic attack involves the sudden appearance of intense fear or discomfort plus at least four of the following physical and emotional symptoms:
Chest pain or discomfort
Many people with panic disorder also have symptoms of depression.
Symptoms usually peak within 10 minutes and disappear within minutes, leaving little for a doctor to observe except the person’s fear of another terrifying attack. Because panic attacks may occur for no apparent reason, people who have them frequently anticipate and worry about another attackâa condition called anticipatory anxietyâand try to avoid situations that they associate with previous panic attacks.
Because symptoms of a panic attack involve many vital organs, people often worry that they have a dangerous medical problem involving the heart, lungs, or brain. For example, a panic attack can feel like a heart attack. Thus, people may repeatedly visit their family doctor or a hospital emergency department. If the correct diagnosis of panic attack is not made, they may have the additional worry that a serious medical problem has been overlooked. Although panic attacks are uncomfortableâat times extremely soâthey are not dangerous.
The frequency of attacks can vary greatly. Some people have weekly or even daily attacks that occur for months, whereas others have several daily attacks followed by weeks or months without attacks.
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.
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How Do I Overcome Anxiety Attacks
Breathing exercise for panic attacks breathe in as slowly, deeply and gently as you can, through your nose. breathe out slowly, deeply and gently through your mouth. some people find it helpful to count steadily from one to five on each in-breath and each out-breath. close your eyes and focus on your breathing.
Sit Close To The Door
At times when I was experiencing high anxiety in class, I always sat close to the door. This gave me the confidence knowing that if I had to leave due to a panic attack in class, I could.
However, not all teachers allowed you to pick your own seats. Even if they do, you wont always get the seat you want. Plus, if youre chatty like I am, the seat you choose is likely to change as youll get moved away from your friends. The key? Stop talking in class and you can sit in the spot you chose.
Although, thats often easier said than done.
If you find yourself getting stuck in the back corner furthest away from the door, resort back to step three. Speak with your teacher. Let them know that you feel most comfortable closest to the door in case you have a panic attack in class. Chances are, theyll let you sit there. At times, teachers even let me set in the hallway to do my work more like I was forced to sit out there because I wouldnt stop talking, but you get what I mean.
Teachers provide solutions. Thats what they do. So, reach out to them.
The worst thing you can do when having a panic attack in class or in school is bottle it up. Speaking with a teacher or guidance counselor will instantly decrease your anxiety. When a teacher doesnt know whats going on, they cant help you. So, dont be ashamed of your mental illness. Reaching out to a teacher will help them help you overcome this terrible struggle in and outside of the classroom.
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Are Panic Attacks A Mental Health Condition
Having a panic attack, or even a few, doesnt mean you have a mental health condition.
But once youve had one panic attack even if it was just the one time its not uncommon to worry itll happen again.
As a result, you might start avoiding places, situations, and people that you think will trigger another panic attack. For example, you might start changing your daily routines or stop working out or going grocery shopping.
While changes in routines and habits can sometimes be a good thing, if they start causing problems in relationships or work, it might indicate an anxiety disorder.
Also, feeling constantly anxious about having a panic attack might actually lead you to experience one.
If this avoidant behavior and high anxiety continues and you experience regular, unexpected panic attacks, you might be diagnosed with panic disorder.
But you wouldnt be alone. Its estimated that at least 6 million people in the United States alone live with this mental health condition.
If you start avoiding social events or getting out of the house altogether for fear of having another panic attack and not being able to escape, then you might receive an agoraphobia diagnosis.
But not everyone who experiences panic attacks will be diagnosed with a condition such as panic disorder or agoraphobia.
In other words, anyone can experience panic attacks without having a panic disorder or mental health condition.
Crying During Anxiety Attacks
Its also not uncommon to feel like crying before, during, or after an anxiety attack. Many people feel impending doom, as though they are about to die. They respond by crying because thats a natural response to a feeling of intense dread along with the physiological reaction that occurs during a panic episode.
After an anxiety attack is over, others may still experience the intense emotions, often regarding the helplessness, they felt during the attack. Panic attacks are so intense that, when theyre over, the need to cry is natural and expected. Not everyone cries after anxiety attacks, but the intensity makes it natural to feel like crying.
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What To Do During A Panic Attack Or Anxiety Attack
Here are some strategies that can help.
Acknowledge that you are having an attack.
While this can be very frightening, the first thing to do is to acknowledge that the symptoms will pass.
Breathe slowly and deeply.
One of the most common symptoms of both panic and anxiety attacks is difficulty breathing. Slow your breathing as you inhale and exhale to help you get to a steady rate of breathing that will help your symptoms to subside. Count to four, with each inhale and exhale.
You can opt to use a number of methods for relaxation such as guided imagery. This can help you with reducing your anxiety and feelings of panic. You can learn these techniques from a qualified therapist.
This practice can help you to stay grounded in the current moment. Those with anxiety will find this practice very beneficial and will notice the effects soon after they start practicing.
How To Cope With An Anxiety Attack
Lets start with the immediate, quick hacks to help you freeze your anxiety attack once it kicks into your life. No matter how scared or helpless you feel at that moment, try to do the following things:
Do a Simple Stretch
When you have an attack, your breath is too short and shallow, meaning it worsens further symptoms. Once you feel the panic stand up and start doing some simple stretching. If you manage to squeeze in a yawn, that will help you tame the attack even faster. Stretching and yawning instantly helps you relieve muscle tension and interrupt the vicious cycle that is just about to roll in full strength.
Focus on your breathing.
No need to master the art of meditation for this. Simply inhale for three counts and exhale for five. Repeat the exercise for as long as you need to.
Drink a glass of ice-cold water.
To regulate your bodys temperature and reduce the escalating cycle of panic, slowly drink a glass of icy water. Take small sips and focus on every gulp you make. While drinking, imagine how your body and mind is cooling down.
Focus on using peripheral vision
To activate your parasympathetic nervous system, use this simple meditation technique: focus your gaze on an imaginary point in front of you relax your focus and use your peripheral vision, as if you are trying to take in everything around you with soft focus. It signals to your brain to relax. The more you practice this technique the faster it will help you to relax in any situation.
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When To See A Doctor
While panic attacks can feel awful and terrifying, they are manageable and can be treated with coping strategies, therapy, and sometimes medication.
Remember, having one panic attack doesnt mean youll have another. But if you do, or are having anxiety about having another, talking to a health professional can help.
Consider seeking out a healthcare professional your primary doctor or a mental health professional if youre:
- finding it difficult to make it through the day and your symptoms are interfering with your relationships, work, or any other daily activities
- having recurrent physical symptoms, such as insomnia, heart palpitations, headaches, or any form of pain
- using substances to cope with your anxiety and physical symptoms
- having panic attacks after sustaining an injury or being diagnosed with a medical condition
- staying home despite having responsibilities that require you to leave the house
- interested in better understanding your symptoms or would like to be screened for diagnosis
- interested in learning the best ways to self-manage your symptoms or the various treatment options for panic attacks
These resources might be a good starting point when seeking help:
Breathing Exercise For Panic Attacks
If youre breathing quickly during a panic attack, doing a breathing exercise can ease your other symptoms. Try this:
- breathe in as slowly, deeply and gently as you can, through your nose
- breathe out slowly, deeply and gently through your mouth
- some people find it helpful to count steadily from one to five on each in-breath and each out-breath
- close your eyes and focus on your breathing
You should start to feel better in a few minutes. You may feel tired afterwards.
Visit the No Panic website for another breathing exercise to calm panic.
Numbness And Tingling Sensations
Feelings of numbness and tingling can also occur during a panic attack. Areas of the body may have pins-and-needles sensations or feel completely frozen and numb. These symptoms can occur anywhere on the body but are most often felt in the hands, arms, legs, fingers, toes, and face.
Focused breathing can help here, too. Shaking your limbs and body may also help.
What Happens Inside Your Body
Your bodyâs âfight or flightâ response is behind these intense physical symptoms. Normally when you encounter a threat — whether itâs a grizzly bear or a swerving car — your nervous system springs into action. The hormone adrenaline floods into your bloodstream, putting your body on high alert. Your heartbeat quickens, which sends more blood to your muscles. Your breathing becomes fast and shallow, so you can take in more oxygen. Your blood sugar spikes. Your senses get sharper.
All of these changes — which happen in an instant — give you the energy you need to confront a dangerous situation or get out of harmâs way quickly.
With random panic attacks, your body goes on alert for no reason. Researchers donât know exactly what triggers them. But the physical effects are real: During a panic attack, the adrenaline levels in the body can spike by 2 1/2 times or more.
Panic attacks may not come as unexpectedly as they seem. The physical changes may start about an hour before an attack. In one study, people with panic disorder wore devices that tracked their heart activity, sweating, and breathing. The results showed lower-than-normal levels of carbon dioxide, a sign of rapid, deep breathing that can leave you breathless, as early as about 45 minutes before the panic attack.