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How To Know If Your Having An Anxiety Attack

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Are You Having An Anxiety Attack Or A Heart Attack

How do you know if you’re having a panic attack?

People who suffer from panic attacks often say their acute anxiety feels like a heart attack, as many of the symptoms can seem the same. Both conditions can be accompanied by shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, sweating, a pounding heartbeat, dizziness, and even physical weakness or temporary paralysis.

Perhaps most powerful, though, is the sense of dread that overshadows both events. The fear itself can lead to an increase in these symptoms.

To learn more about living a heart-healthy lifestyle and what to do when anxiety feels like a heart attack, contact UPMCs Heart and Vascular Institute today.

Tell Me About What Youre Feeling

During a panic attack, people often do one of two things: distract themselves from whats happening, or try to make the feeling go away.

The problem is that during a panic attack, both of these attempts can actually exacerbate the experience,Dr. Dustin Siegel, licensed clinical psychologist and owner of The LEAP Center for Anxiety, says. By talking about what youre experiencing, and what youre feeling afraid of during the panic attack, the person will begin a mindfulness practice of observing the experience rather than trying to escape it.

Signs Of An Anxiety Attack And 6 Effective Ways To Cope With It

Dec 15, 2015 | Anxiety, Blog

An anxiety attack is the worst. The lights seem too bright your heart feels like it might explode out of your chest. Your body shakes. You may find yourself unable to breathe your chest hurts. You have an intense desire to escape, scream or cry. Your hands might twitch and you feel like you are going to be sick in just a few seconds.

Thats what an anxiety attack feels like. Sounds familiar? Well that used to be my story too.

On a normal day, I would just be hanging out with my friends and suddenly have a wave of panic wash over me. I couldnt breathe and felt like I was dying.

Anxiety attacks can strike unexpectedly.

In fact, it feels like the worst thing in the world, but the truth is its all caused by a massive boost of adrenaline that your brain sends into your bloodstream.

In todays post, Id like to break down the most common anxiety attack symptoms, plus share some personal tips on how to tame this beast.

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Dealing With Anxiety The How

Here are some ways to manage anxiety by strengthening the structure and function of your brain in ways that protect it against anxiety. Remember though, the brain is like any other muscle in your body it will get stronger with practice. I wish I could tell you that it would get stronger with pizza and tacos but that would be a dirty big lie and very unhelpful. Delicious maybe, but unhelpful. What isnt a lie is that the following strategies have been proven by tons of very high-brow research to be very powerful in helping to reduce anxiety.

  • Mindfulness. But first to show you why.
  • A mountain of studies have shown that mindfulness can be a little bit magic in strengthening the brain against anxiety. In a massive analysis of a number of different mindfulness/anxiety studies, mindfulness was found to be associated with robust and substantial reductions in symptoms of anxiety.

    Mindfulness changes the brain the way exercise changes our body but without the sweating and panting. Two of the ways mindfulness changes the brain are:

      Okay then. What else can mindfulness do?

      Plenty. Mindfulness can improve concentration, academic performance, the ability to focus, and it can help with stress and depression. It also increases gray matter, which is the part of the brain that contains the neurons. Neurons are brain cells, so we want plenty of them and plenty of gray matter for them to hang out in.

      So mindfulness hey? What is it exactly?

      Is there an app for that?

      Exercise.

      What Is Generalized Anxiety Disorder

      What Are Panic Attack Symptoms Or Signs Of An Anxiety Attack

      With GAD, you may feel extreme and unrealistic worry and tension even if theres nothing to trigger these feelings. Most days, you may worry a lot about various topics, including health, work, school and relationships. You may feel that the worry continues from one thing to the next.

      Physical symptoms of GAD can include restlessness, difficulty concentrating and sleeping problems.

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      What Does It Mean To Be Diagnosed With Panic Disorder

      Some people find that a diagnosis comes as a relief. They may have thought they had a medical condition such as a problem with their heart or lungs, and that their life was at risk, says Simon A. Rego, PsyD, chief psychologist at Montefiore Health System in New York City. Other patients have a hard time believing the diagnosis since their symptoms are real and yet they are being told they have a psychiatric disorder.

      The diagnosis can be mistakenly taken to mean that it is all in their head, Rego says. The truth is that while the persons symptoms are real, the fears about them, such as that they are having a heart attack or going crazy, are often not accurate.

      What Are The Signs Of A Panic Attack

      If you’re having a panic attack, you may experience:

      • tingling fingers
      • ringing in your ears

      Some people think they are having a heart attack because it feels like their heart is beating fast or irregularly, or even that they are going to die.

      Panic attacks usually last somewhere from 5 to 20 minutes. Although it may feel like something is seriously wrong, they aren’t dangerous and shouldn’t harm you.

      You wont usually need to be admitted to hospital if you have had a panic attack.

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      When To Talk To Your Doctor

      If you believe your anxiety is a problem, it is important to talk to your doctor. Because women tend to experience anxiety symptoms more frequently than men, experts now recommend that all women and girls aged 13 and older be screened for anxiety disorders during routine health screenings. Early detection and intervention is important since anxiety may grow worse over time if left untreated.

      Excessive anxiety can be caused by a number of medical and psychological conditions. Problem anxiety has also been indicated in a variety of physical illnesses, such as heart disease, stomach problems, and pain. But, the best reason to talk to your doctor is that anxiety is controllable, and its complications are avoidable with treatment.

      If you or a loved one are struggling with anxiety, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.

      For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.

      When To Get Help

      What To Do When Your Having An Anxiety Attack

      See a GP if you’ve been experiencing symptoms of panic disorder.

      They’ll ask you to describe your symptoms, how often you get them, and how long you have had them.

      They may also carry out a physical examination to rule out other conditions that could be causing your symptoms.

      It can sometimes be difficult to talk about your feelings, emotions and personal life, but try not to feel anxious or embarrassed.

      You may be diagnosed with panic disorder if you have regular and unexpected panic attacks followed by at least a month of continuous worry or concern about having further attacks.

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      Would You Be Willing To Try Doing The Opposite Of What Your Brain Wants You To Do

      Sometimes its best not to follow your instincts.

      People who have panic attacks often fear not only the symptoms, but also the effect that these symptoms might have on their functioning, Dr. Siegel explains. For instance, they may believe that theyll lose control and embarrass themselves in front of others if they dont leave when panicking in public. Or they may think that they might pass out if they get up from the floor and walk around. In other words, their brains may be telling them to leave quickly or stay put.

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      In these cases, it can be really helpful to see what happens if they do the exact opposite and stay put or get up and walk around , Dr. Siegel adds. This helps drive home the idea that they do not need to let their anxiety dictate what they do or dont do even if they are having a panic attack.

      Next, read about the 12 best apps for anxiety.

      Anxiety Attack Vs Panic Attack

      Have you ever experienced an intense feeling of terror, fear, or apprehension for no apparent reason? If so, you may have experienced a panic attack.

      If you experience recurrent panic attacks, you may have a condition known as panic disorder. Panic attacks can also be a sign of other underlying medical or mental health conditions, including sleep disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder , or depression.

      Panic attacks can be confusing and scary for the person experiencing them, in that they are usually sudden and are accompanied by extremely intense physical sensations. This can lead a person to believe they may have a serious medical condition.

      Because panic attack symptoms do overlap with symptoms of certain serious conditions, it is important to rule out any medical causes.

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      When Should I Go To The Emergency Room For An Anxiety Disorder

      Symptoms of an anxiety disorder can resemble symptoms of a heart attack or another health emergency. If youre experiencing an anxiety attack for the first time, or youre concerned in any way about your health, call 911 or head to the nearest ER. A healthcare provider will check you for serious or life-threatening conditions.

      If youre having an anxiety attack and unsure whether you should head to an ER or not, its better to go. Healthcare professionals can make sure youre OK and give you any necessary treatment.

      What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Panic Disorder

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      People with panic disorder may have:

      • Sudden and repeated panic attacks of overwhelming anxiety and fear
      • A feeling of being out of control, or a fear of death or impending doom during a panic attack
      • Physical symptoms during a panic attack, such as a pounding or racing heart, sweating, chills, trembling, breathing problems, weakness or dizziness, tingly or numb hands, chest pain, stomach pain, and nausea
      • An intense worry about when the next panic attack will happen
      • A fear or avoidance of places where panic attacks have occurred in the past

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      What To Do When You Have An Anxiety Attack

      Anxiety attacks often need to run their course. Once they’ve started, there is very little that you can do to stop them completely. They’re a reaction that your body has that is somewhat beyond your control. They can be prevented, and their severity can be lessened, but they are very hard to stop.

      Reducing its severity has to do with reacting correctly to the symptoms. Remember – the physical symptoms you experience are very real, and very disruptive. But they’re not related to any health problem, and solely a result of your anxiety. If you believe you feel an anxiety attack coming or you’re certain you’re in the middle of the one, try the following:

      Drinking water may also calm the mind, and if you feel strong enough, a good jog can get your body to breathe better and use oxygen at a healthier pace.

      Who Is This Anxiety Quiz For

      Below is a list of questions designed for people who are experiencing anxiety-inducing thoughts. The questions relate to life experiences common among people who have been diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder .

      Please read each question carefully, and indicate how often you have experienced the same or similar challenges in the past few months.

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      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:

      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.

      Cause Of Anxiety Attacks

      Panic Attacks Symptoms – How Do You Know If You’re Having an Anxiety Attack?

      Anxiety attacks are usually although not always caused by severe stress. The symptoms depend on the type of attack. The term anxiety attack is sometimes used interchangeably with the term panic attack, but may also refer to any periods of extreme anxiety beyond what a person normally experiences.

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      How Are Anxiety Disorders Diagnosed

      If you have symptoms of an anxiety disorder, talk to your healthcare provider. Theyll start with a complete medical history and physical examination.

      There are no lab tests or scans that can diagnose anxiety disorders. But your provider may run some of these tests to rule out physical conditions that may be causing symptoms.

      Anxiety Attack: The Most Common Symptoms

      • Insane, overwhelming strike of panic
      • Hyperventilation
      • 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.

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      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.

      What Are Anxiety Disorders

      Tip to Help With an Anxiety Attack Look Around You Find 5 ...

      We all have feelings of anxiety, worry and fear sometimes. These can be normal responses to certain situations. For example, you might worry about a job interview, or about paying a bill on time. These feelings can give you an awareness of risks and what you need to do in a difficult or dangerous situation. This reaction is known as fight or flight.

      Your brain responds to a threat or danger by releasing stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. Even if the danger is not real, these hormones cause the physical symptoms of anxiety. Once the threatening situation has stopped, your body will usually return to normal.

      But if you have an anxiety disorder these feelings of fear and danger can be ongoing and interrupt your daily routine long after the threat has gone. They can make you feel as though things are worse than they actually are.

      Everyones experience of anxiety disorders is different. Not everyone who has an anxiety disorder will experience the same symptoms.

      Mental symptoms of anxiety can include:

      • racing thoughts,

      Anxiety can lead to depression if left untreated.

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      How To End An Anxiety Or Panic Attack

      An anxiety attack can be terrifying, but it wont kill you. If you want to overcome it, take a deep breath and know it will end soon.

      “Anxiety” is a general term that describes a variety of experiences, including nervousness, fear, apprehension, and worry, that are common in several mental health disorders. While most of us have anxiety at some time, this is completely different from an anxiety attack or anxiety disorder. Normal feelings of nervousness, worry, and fear often have a known trigger . But when you’re having a full blown panic attack or anxiety attack, the symptoms chest pain, flushing skin, racing heart, and difficulty breathing can make you feel as though you’re going to faint, lose your mind, or die. The reality is, you wont. The key to surviving is to learn all you can about anxiety attacks and practice the skills you need to get through them.

      According to the Mayo Clinic, signs of an anxiety attack include:

      • Abdominal cramping
      • Fear of loss of control or death
      • Feeling of unreality or detachment
      • Headache
      • Shortness of breath or tightness in your throat
      • Sweating
      • Trembling or shaking

      The Anxiety and Depression Association of America offers practical strategies in how to deal with stress and anxiety attacks, including:

      • Accept that you cannot control everything.
      • Do your best.
      • Maintain a positive attitude.
      • Learn what triggers your anxiety.

      Here’s how to stop an anxiety attack and recover.

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