Learn How To Manage Your Anxious Thoughts
Anxiety doesnt come out of the blue. When you have anxiety attacks, its often because your mind tends to spiral into negative thoughts often without your control. Sometimes you can control this anxiety by keeping these thoughts at bay and learning to dismiss triggers that cause you anxiety.
For many, this is easier said than done. But there are many different strategies you can try that may be effective. These include:
A Question Checklist
When you feel anxious, have a checklist on hand of questions to ask yourself about that anxiety experience. The longer the checklist, the more youll find that your thoughts become more realistic. Questions that you can use include:
- Is there a reason to believe something is wrong?
- What evidence is there that something is wrong?
- Is there a chance Im blowing this out of proportion?
Affirmations not for everyone, but those that do use them find them to be very beneficial. Affirmations are things that you say to yourself to make yourself feel better. These include:
- Im okay. This is just anxiety and I will get passed this .
- I have a great life and Im looking forward to tomorrow.
- My anxiety wont control me.
Getting Used to Physical Symptoms
The latter is known as exposure therapy and there are countless ways to create exercises that will habituate you to your panic attack triggers.
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Panic Attack Or Heart Attack
The symptoms of a panic attack can be similar to those of a heart attack. The Ada app can help you check your symptoms. or find out more about how it works.
It is common for people experiencing a panic attack to become convinced that they are having a heart attack during the episode. Although this may be related to the distressing thoughts that accompany a panic attack, emergency medical services should be called if a heart attack is suspected, as â unlike a panic attack â a heart attack requires prompt medical attention and can be life-threatening.
Key differences between a heart attack and a panic attack include:
Despite being able to identify these differences, it is advisable to always seek medical attention if the affected person:
- Has a history of heart attacks
- Meets the risk criteria for a heart attack, such as high blood pressure, being overweight, getting limited physical exercise
- Has never had a panic attack before
If one is not deemed to be at risk of a heart attack, psychotherapeutic techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy may be recommended in order to help the affected person overcome any long-term anxiety about having a heart attack. This will help prevent a fear of having a heart attack from manifesting in, or forming the basis of, future panic attacks.
What Are Some Coping Mechanisms In The Moment
First things first: Breathe. Youre probably hyperventilating, but stabilizing your breathing can quickly calm your bodys fight-or-flight response.
Try counting your breaths. One deep breath in, one deep breath out. Count up to 10 and then start again until your breathing is back to normal.
Other quick coping strategies include:
- recognizing that what youre experiencing is a panic attack
- finding an object to focus on
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Fear Of Having An Attack
Naturally, when youre afraid of something, youll be more likely to attract it. One of the most common causes of panic attacks is actually the fear of experiencing one. The more you think about it, the more you will worry, and the more anxious you will be in general.
So whenever you start worrying for no reason, I encourage you to break your thought pattern by focusing on something else your surroundings, what you see, what you hear, or even a text message on your phone.
Panic Disorder In Children
Panic disorder is more common in teenagers than in younger children.
Panic attacks can be particularly hard for children and young people to deal with. Severe panic disorder may affect their development and learning.
If your child has the signs and symptoms of panic disorder, they should see a GP.
After taking a detailed medical history the GP will carry out a thorough physical examination to rule out any physical causes for the symptoms.
They may refer your child to a specialist for further assessment and treatment. The specialist may recommend a course of CBT for your child.
Screening for other anxiety disorders may also be needed to help find the cause of your child’s panic attacks.
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How Are Anxiety Disorders Treated
Anxiety disorders can be treated by mental health professionals, or therapists. A therapist can look at the symptoms someone is dealing with, diagnose the specific anxiety disorder, and create a plan to help the person get relief.
A particular type of talk therapy called cognitive-behavior therapy is often used. In CBT, a person learns new ways to think and act in situations that can cause anxiety, and to manage and deal with stress. The therapist provides support and guidance and teaches new coping skills, such as relaxation techniques or breathing exercises. Sometimes, but not always, medication is used as part of the treatment for anxiety.
Symptoms Of Anxiety Disorders:
Anyone may experience these symptoms during stressful times. However, individuals with anxiety disorders may experience them in absence of stress, with more severe symptoms and/or with several symptoms appearing together.
- Inability to relax
- Rapid pulse or pounding, skipping, racing heart
- Nausea, chest pain or pressure
- Feeling a “lump in the throat”
- Dry mouth
- Feelings of dread, apprehension or losing control
- Trembling or shaking, sweating or chills
- Fainting or dizziness, feelings of detachment
- Thoughts of death
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Interesting Panic Attacks Facts Symptoms
- The most reported panic disorder symptoms are Pounding Heart ,, Dizziness , Sweating in men , Shaking/trembling in women .
- The least reported panic disorder symptom is Paresthesias in study and nausea in study .
- People with panic disorder have a significantly lower heart rate variability, compared to healthy individuals, which suggests reduced flexibility and adaptability across biological, affective and behavioral dimensions ,.
- Restless legs syndrome has been linked to panic disorder 16.7% of the people with restless legs syndrome had panic disorder, compared to 4.1% of the normal population .
- The amount of panic attacks is highest in people who have Panic disorder with Agoraphobia, and lowest in people who only have a panic attack in their lives.
- Panic disorder and major depression is a common combination of disorders .
- Normal day and night rhythm is very important to reduce the amount of panic attacks. People who sleep too little or go to bed too late worry more. The more you worry, the bigger the chance you will start worrying about a next panic attack .
- Panic attacks can occur suddenly or expected. Suddenly: when people are triggered by external stimuli they can get a panic attack without warning. Expected: someone who associates going to the supermarket with having a panic attack will most likely have a panic attack in the supermarket again. Not because the supermarket causes the panic attack, but because the person is misinterpreting his own physical cues.
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.
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Panic Attack Signs And Symptoms
The signs and symptoms of a panic attack develop abruptly and usually reach their peak within 10 minutes. They rarely last more than an hour, with most ending within 20 to 30 minutes. Panic attacks can happen anywhere and at any time. You may have one while youre in a store shopping, walking down the street, driving in your car, or even sitting on the couch at home.
Panic attack symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath or hyperventilation
- Heart palpitations or racing heart
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Feeling unreal or detached from your surroundings
- Feeling dizzy, light-headed, or faint
- Numbness or tingling sensations
- Fear of dying, losing control, or going crazy
Is it a heart attack or a panic attack?
Most of the symptoms of a panic attack are physical, and many times these symptoms are so severe that you may think youre having a heart attack. In fact, many people suffering from panic attacks make repeated trips to the doctor or the emergency room in an attempt to get treatment for what they believe is a life-threatening medical problem. While its important to rule out possible medical causes of symptoms such as chest pain, elevated heart rate, or difficulty breathing, its often panic that is overlooked as a potential causenot the other way around.
Believing You Have No Control Over Your Feelings
One of the objectives of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is giving you more power over your thoughts. And because your thoughts are directly linked to your body and your feelings, when you heal your mind your physical symptoms will decrease.
It may seem like panic happens to you, but in reality it doesnt. Once you understand this, you will have more control.
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How To Deal With Panic Attacks
A panic attack is a feeling of sudden and intense anxiety.
Panic attacks usually have physical symptoms. These can include shaking, feeling disorientated, nausea, rapid and irregular heartbeats. You may also experience dry mouth, breathlessness, sweating and dizziness.
The symptoms of a panic attack are not dangerous but can be very frightening. They can make you think that something catastrophic is just about to happen.
They can feel as though you are having a heart attack, or that you are going to collapse or even die.
Most panic attacks last somewhere from 5 minutes to half an hour.
What Causes Panic Attacks
Experts dont know why some people experience panic attacks or develop panic disorder. The brain and nervous system play key roles in how you perceive and handle fear and anxiety. Your risk of having panic attacks increases if you have:
- Family history:Anxiety disorders, including panic disorders, often run in families. Experts arent sure why.
- Mental health issues: People who have anxiety disorders, depression or other mental illness are more prone to panic attacks.
- Substance abuse problems:Alcoholism and drug addiction can increase the risk of panic attacks.
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Tips To Prevent Panic Attacks At Night
Experiencing a panic attack at night may make you worry about having another, causing a vicious circle, and leading to insomnia. There are a number of things you can do to try and avoid this becoming a frequent problem, and ensure that youre getting a good nights sleep:
Give yourself enough time to get the sleep you need
On average, adults need eight to nine hours sleep each night to feel rested and refreshed. Therefore, its important to make sure you go to bed at least eight hours before you need to get up so youre giving yourself enough time to have a good nights sleep. Going to bed too late and not leaving enough time for sleep may result in you constantly checking the clock and worrying that youre not going to feel rested the next day. These negative thought processes can fuel anxiety, and potentially spiral into a panic attack.
Prepare yourself for the following day
Many people struggle to get to sleep because they are anxious about the following day. You can try to reduce this anxiety by making sure that you have everything prepared. For example, you could have a to-do list, or even have your clothes laid out.
Establish a consistent sleep routine
Limit caffeine, sugar and alcohol before bed
Avoid electronic devices late at night
Symptoms During A Panic Attack
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders , four or more of the following physical and psychological symptoms must be present:
- Palpitations, pounding heart or accelerated heart rate
- Paresthesias numbness or tingling sensations
- Derealization or depersonalization
- Fear of losing control or going crazy
- Fear of dying
If four or more of the above symptoms are present, it is known as a full-symptom panic attack. The Ada app can help you check your symptoms. or find out more about how it works.
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Dealing With A Panic Attack
Although a panic attack comes on suddenly, often with no prior indication that it is going to happen, its initial symptoms intensify, and it tends to reach its peak after around 10 minutes. One can begin deploying various coping strategies to reduce the severity of a panic attack as soon as one notices the first signs.
Techniques which are useful in navigating a panic attack focus on calming the mind and body. Used effectively, they can reduce the severity of a given panic attack or prevent its initial stages developing into a full-symptom panic attack. Many helpful techniques related to managing a panic attack or preventing future episodes are derived from cognitive behavioral therapy , which focuses on making changes to a personâs usual thought processes and behavior in relation to particular concepts.
Strategies for managing an oncoming panic attack include:
Relaxing the muscles
A panic attack causes oneâs muscles to tense up, so performing muscle relaxing exercises, focused on relaxing both specific muscle groups and oneâs entire body, can help calm the body during a panic attack.
Stopping all activities
There are many CBT techniques designed to help with deconstructing anxious thoughts and restoring calm during and after a panic attack. Doctors or psychotherapists will be able to recommend techniques appropriate to each person’s mental health status and the nature of their panic attack.
Breathing Exercise For Panic Attacks
If you’re breathing quickly during a panic attack, doing a breathing exercise can help. Follow these steps:
You should start to feel better in a few minutes. You may feel tired afterwards.
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How To Direct Your Breath
- Start by breathing slowly and purposely.This will counteract the shallow breathing characterized by most attacks.
- If possible, place your hands on your stomach and fill your belly with breath. When you inhale, you will feel your center rise and expand.
- As you exhale, it will then contract inward. These deliberate breaths will assist in soothing your body and mind.
It may also be helpful to count each breath. Such as counting your first full breath in and out as one, the next breath in and out as two, and so on. This will not only help you breathe better, but it will also help you feel calmer by giving your mind something to focus on.
Many people experience anxiety at some point in their lives. In fact, anxiety is a very normal response to stressful life events like moving, changing jobs, or having financial troubles.
However, when anxiety symptoms become larger than the events that triggered them and begin to interfere with your life, they could be signs of an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety disorders can be debilitating, but people can manage them with proper help from a medical professional. Recognizing the symptoms is the first step.
In this article, we discuss common symptoms of an anxiety disorder, as well as how to reduce anxiety naturally and when to seek professional help.
One of the most common symptoms of an anxiety disorder is excessive worrying.
People with anxiety disorders will worry disproportionately about events or everyday situations.
Panic Attacks Do Not Always Have Further Health Implications
Experiencing a panic attack is inherently distressing for the individual involved, especially if they were previously unaware of being affected by any form of anxiety. The possibility of experiencing a future panic attack â particularly if one encounters scenarios similar to the circumstances of the initial attack â is a common concern, but feeling this way does not necessarily mean that one will experience future panic attacks.
Furthermore, it is possible to experience one or more panic attacks without being affected by a related condition, such as anxiety disorder or panic disorder. Many people, who do not normally have anxiety or depressive disorders, experience one or more panic attacks in relation to a specific stressor or over the course of a lifetime.
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