Causes Of Anxiety Fear And Panic
There are many different causes of anxiety, fear or panic and it’s different for everyone.
When you’re feeling anxious or scared, your body releases stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol.
This can be helpful in some situations, but it might also cause physical symptoms such as an increased heart rate and increased sweating. In some people, it might cause a panic attack.
Regular anxiety, fear or panic can also be the main symptom of several health conditions. Do not self-diagnose speak to a GP if you’re worried about how you’re feeling.
Do Not Try To Make Sense Of The Moment
Anxiety and panic attacks do not make sense. Trying to understand why they happen will frustrate you and your loved one. The person experiencing the attack may not understand why it is happening.
Do not spend time trying to get to the bottom of the matter. Instead, work on helping them to overcome it. Once they are calm, you can look into the causes and triggers of the attack.
Ways To Prevent Panic Attacks
You need to try to work out what particular stress you might be under that could make your symptoms worse, says Professor Salkovskis. Its important not to restrict your movements and daily activities.
- Doing breathing exercises every day will help to prevent panic attacks and relieve them when they are happening
- Regular exercise, especially aerobic exercise, will help you to manage stress levels, release tension, improve your mood and boost confidence
- Eat regular meals to stabilise your blood sugar levels
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol and smoking these can make panic attacks worse. Panic support groups have useful advice about how you can effectively manage your attacks. Knowing that other people are experiencing the same feelings can be reassuring. Your GP can put you in touch with groups in your area
- Cognitive behavioural therapy can identify and change the negative thought patterns that are feeding your panic attacks
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Can I Give You A Call
Difference Between A Heart Attack And Panic Attack
Unlike a heart attack which is caused due to blockage of the coronary arteries, a panic attack is triggered by stress or fear. A panic attack is caused when the Amygdala senses danger and it sends message to the sympathetic nervous system, this in turn releases adrenaline creating physiological symptoms as if there is a life & death situation in front of the person.
Thus, a person ends up getting into a fight or flight mode, which one experiences when facing any kind of physical threat. The heart starts pumping blood in full force to all organs, hands get sweaty, a strange feeling of fear creeps in but in all this what the person is unable to comprehend is, why this is happening. Thereby, a person ends up fearing even more & falling prey to the symptoms more often as time goes on.
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How To Calm A Panic Attack
Relax Ok, I know you want to reach out of the screen right now to tell me to screw off, because trying to relax during a panic attack seems almost impossible. I suffered from anxiety for 18 years, so I absolutely know the feeling. But what you must know is trying to relax is the most important step in stopping a panic attack! You need to be able to eliminate all the stress hormones that are pumping through your body in order to stop the panic attack. Some relaxation techniques involve deep breathing, tensing and releasing your muscles, stretching, and taking a walk outdoors in nature.
Breath Overcome panic attack breathing by trying these breathing exercises for anxiety. The most effective anxiety breathing technique is 4 7 8 breathing, which involves inhaling through your nose for a count of 4, holding your breath for a count of 7, and exhaling through your mouth for a count of 8.
3) Self talk
Self-talk Talk to yourself during your panic attack. Try to reassure yourself that you will be fine, and it will be over very soon. Look at yourself in a mirror if possible and try to reason with your bossy brain. Use positive reinforcement and tell yourself that you are strong, and you will get through this. Use conviction in your words and really believe that what you are saying is true. You can also try to laugh at yourself in the mirror to make the situation a little more lighthearted.
4) Distract yourself
5) Face your fears
What To Do When Someone Else Is Having A Panic Attack
This section will provide some tips on how to help a person having a panic attack.
First, try talking them through a few of the methods above. For instance, help them find a peaceful spot, encourage them to take slow, deep breaths, and ask them to focus on a nearby object.
If you do not know the person, introduce yourself and ask them if they need help. Ask them if they have had a panic attack before, and if so, what helps them regain control.
People can also try the following tips when someone else is having a panic attack:
- Try to remain calm. This will help them relax a little more.
- Suggest moving to a quiet spot nearby and help them find one. Sitting down in a comfortable place can be very effective, as it allows them to focus on their breathing.
- Remind the person that panic attacks always end.
- Stay positive and nonjudgmental. Avoid validating any negative statements.
- Try having a gentle, friendly conversation to distract them and help them feel safe.
- Avoid telling them to calm down or telling them that there is nothing to worry about, as this devalues their emotions.
- Stay with them. If they feel that they need to be alone, make sure they remain visible.
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But Dont Become A Psychologist
and start diagnosing them or trying to give advice beyond your knowledge that is best left to the professionals. Just listen to them, believe everything they tell you and let them know youll love and support them every step of the way.
Dont force treatment on them, but remember to seek further help immediately if theyre feeling suicidal or showing no willingness to get better if you feel there is a risk of immediate danger tell a trusted adult or call 999.
You can always contact Ditch the Label or other charities like Samaritans or Mind if you feel you need guidance on this matter. Supporting someone with depression can be stressful and frustrating so be careful not to neglect your own needs too.
Taking time to look after yourself is really important talk to others about how youre feeling or consider joining a local support group with people who are also in a similar situation to you.
Remember That It Will Pass
During a panic attack, it can help to remember that these feelings will pass and cause no physical harm, however scary it feels at the time.
Try acknowledging that this is a brief period of concentrated anxiety, and that it will be over soon.
Panic attacks tend to reach their most intense point within 10 minutes of their onset, and then the symptoms will begin to subside.
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Making Conversation And Positive Affirmations
What a person says in response to someone having a panic attack is just as important as what they do. Engaging in conversation can distract from the extreme symptoms and help the person regulate their breathing. It is important to ask whether a person requires help rather than just assuming that they do. Here are some guidelines on what to say and do:
- Ask questions: Introduce yourself and ask if the person needs help. If so, ask them if they think that they are having a panic attack and whether they have had one before. This prompt may remind them about previous attacks and how they recovered.
- Stay or go: Let the person know that they do not have to stay where they are. Leaving a certain situation can take the pressure off someone having a panic attack. Find out what makes them feel most comfortable.
- Kind words: Staying positive and nonjudgmental is important. Help the person understand that you are there to assist them, they are safe, and they are going to get through this. Remind them that the panic attack is only temporary.
- Have a friendly conversation: An engaging chat can help distract a person from their symptoms. If you are a friend, gently bring up a topic that they are interested in to help them think of something else.
Things People With Anxiety Want You To Know About Panic Attacks
Imagine that in the course of your daily life while in a meeting, eating in a restaurant or watching TV you’re gripped with panic. Your heart races, you can’t breathe, your hands shake. You’re certain you’re dying.
Plenty of people don’t have to imagine this: They’ve experienced it. This is what a panic attack often feels like. But there’s far more to it than just the symptoms alone. Here’s what you need to know about what it’s really like to experience panic attacks.
Everybody experiences panic in a different way so don’t assume you know what to do. Instead, the best course of action is simply to ask them what they would like.
The first thing you can do is learn to accept and understand but what the person is suffering is very real and true. It is not a figment of their imagination, is not a sign of weakness, it is actually something quite terrifying and uncontrollable because the entire mind and body is experiencing an extreme case of the fight or flight response.
Understanding this means that you can provide the necessary comfort and encouragement to help that person through their episode.
A common concern people have is that everyone is staring at them which can lead to feelings of embarrassment. So it’s a good idea to move them away to a quiet space.
High levels of anxiety will affect a persons ability to think straight, so be concise and clear in your language and don’t offer a range of choices as this will only confuse the situation.
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Try Muscle Relaxation Techniques
Another symptom of panic attacks is muscle tension. Practicing muscle relaxation techniques may help limit an attack. This is because if the mind senses that the body is relaxing, other symptoms such as rapid breathing may also diminish.
A technique called progressive muscle relaxation is a popular method for coping with anxiety and panic attacks.
This involves tensing up and then relaxing various muscles in turn. To do this:
Make Them Smell Some Lavender:
Anxiety can be reduced by a soothing scent. The scent helps in relieving or reducing anxiety by tapping into the senses and thus helping the affected person remain grounded and giving them something to concentrate on. This helps them take away their attention from their anxiety.
A common traditional home remedy that is known for bringing about a sense of calm and relaxation is Lavender. Several studies have reported that lavender can help in relieving anxiety. You can try this remedy with someone experiencing panic attacks and anxiety.
Try to hold the lavender oil under the nose of the affected person and let them gently inhale. But make it very sure that if the person dislikes the smell then try to replace the lavender oil with any other essential oil like the chamomile oil, bergamot orange, or lemon.
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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.
Tip 1: Talk To Someone
Dont forget the importance of a friend in helping you combat panic attacks.
Sometimes talking to someone who can empathise with your situation can be one of the most helpful ways you can deal with panic attacks. Seek out friends who are able to encourage and provide you with a sense of comfort during difficult times. All it takes is a simple phone call or text.
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Tip : Shift Your Focus To An Object
If you find yourself getting stuck in a panic attack inducing situation, try shifting your focus temporarily to a feel good object in your room. This could be a favourite object, a book, a picture or anything that brings in a feeling of happiness.
It is important for you to find what works for you and to change your focus temporarily.
Causes Of Panic Attacks And Panic Disorder
Although the exact causes of panic attacks and panic disorder are unclear, the tendency to have panic attacks runs in families. There also appears to be a connection with major life transitions such as graduating from college and entering the workplace, getting married, or having a baby. Severe stress, such as the death of a loved one, divorce, or job loss can also trigger panic attacks.
Panic attacks can also be caused by medical conditions and other physical causes. If youre suffering from symptoms of panic, its important to see a doctor to rule out the following possibilities:
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When To Seek Help
A significant percentage of panic attacks include chest pain as a symptom, making it challenging to distinguish from a heart attack or other medical illnesses when they first emerge. If you are unsure whether someone is having a panic attack or something more medically serious, contact a healthcare provider immediately to rule out any potentially life-threatening illnesses.
How To Handle A Panic Attack
Professor Paul Salkovskis, Professor of Clinical Psychology and Applied Science at the University of Bath, says it’s important not to let your fear of panic attacks control you.
“Panic attacks always pass and the symptoms are not a sign of anything harmful happening,” he says. “Tell yourself that the symptoms you’re experiencing are caused by anxiety.”
He says don’t look for distractions. “Ride out the attack. Try to keep doing things. If possible, it’s important to try to remain in the situation until the anxiety has subsided.”
“Confront your fear. If you don’t run away from it, you’re giving yourself a chance to discover that nothing’s going to happen.”
As the anxiety begins to pass, start to focus on your surroundings and continue to do what you were doing before.
“If youre having a short, sudden panic attack, it can be helpful to have someone with you, reassuring you that it will pass and the symptoms are nothing to worry about,” says Professor Salkovskis.
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Encourage Them To Breathe
Another way you can help soothe the individual having a panic attack is by encouraging them to breathe. However, do not be forceful about it. If you demand they take deep breaths or act harshly, you are quite likely to make their anxiety worse. Being encouraged to breathe can sometimes be frustrating for those having panic attacks, since they do not always have control over it. If it seems like the encouragement is doing more harm than good, use other means of soothing them.
One way to help with breathing is by doing active breathing exercises with the individual rather than telling them to take a deep breath. Have them breathe in with you for a count of four, then exhale for a count of eight. If they cannot manage that, try breathing in for a count of two and then out for a count of four. The most important thing is for them to exhale longer than they inhale. This helps activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which acts in opposition to the adrenal system by giving the body signals that it is safe.