The Best Treatment For Anxiety Facing Your Fears
We know that anxiety disorders are maintained by avoidance. For example, if you are afraid of dogs, you avoid them. While this keeps you safe in the moment, it also feeds your fear because it takes away any opportunities you may have to learn more about dogsthat while some bite, others are cuddly, empathic, and silly.
If you are experiencing anxiety that has been prolonged, causes you significant distress, or impairs your ability to function, it may be time to seek help. The good news is that effective treatment is available in a variety of forms.
Although there are different ways to approach anxiety treatment, we know that exposure therapy has proven to be incredibly helpful. At the heart of the approach is tackling problematic avoidance and increasing willingness to experience discomfort.
Sometimes medications are used to augment exposure-based treatment for anxiety. Serotonin reuptake inhibitors and other antidepressants may be useful here to help individuals better engage in exposure-based work.
Newer treatments, like mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, meditation, and acceptance-based approaches, like acceptance and commitment therapy, have also been shown to be effective.
Finally, maintaining healthy behaviors, such as regular physical exercise, good sleep hygiene, and avoiding the use of alcohol or caffeine, can also be helpful.
The Best Free Panic Attack Diary Template
If youre just looking into journaling for anxiety for the first time, it can be tough to know how to start. After all, choosing the right anxiety journaling prompts can be difficult.
I wanted to make this process a bit easier for you. Ive created what I consider to be the best free panic attack diary template available online. Feel free to print this panic attack diary template out, or recreate your own with a pen and paper:
What makes this a great panic attack diary template is the carefully selected anxiety journaling prompts. Lets explore what makes each prompt so important:
How To Calm Someone With Anxiety Over Text
Here are some things you can do to calm someone with anxiety over text:
- Tell them you are there
- Tell them they can take their time
- Breathe with them
- Ask them to get some ice and keep it against their forehead
- Tell them to drink some water
- Well get through this together
What to say to someone having a panic attack over text? It is not a simple and easy question to answer.
Some people expect to find a template that could make their lives easier but in reality, it is not that simple.
There are a few things we need to consider when helping someone who is having a panic attack over text.
Moreover, text messages have a communicative intent but lack the usual characteristics of a conversation such as the tone of voice, non-verbal behavior, visual contact, etc. and you can find various articles about people who suffer from anxiety or panic disorders and some tips on how to help but there is not much about what to say to someone having a panic attack over text.
Additionally, we can say that the easiest way to help someone when having a panic attack is having someone they trust and feel comfortable talking to and assuring them everything is going to be OK, after all, panic attacks are just temporary, usually lasting between 20 and 30 mins.
However, it is recommended to seek professional advice if you think someone you care about is having serious issues managing their anxiety or panic attacks.
Panic attacks can happen anywhere at any time, without warning.
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How To Calm Down During A Panic Attack
I havent had a panic attack in over three months, but nevertheless, getting on the train has me feeling a little anxious. I know that if a panic attack does start, it will most likely peak within a few minutes, so I try to distract myself by focusing on my phone.
But even with all the mental preparation Ive done, I cant seem to stop thinking about trying not to have a panic attack. And this makes me feel even more anxious.
On the train, Im surrounded by people and theres nowhere to go because its jam packed. I start to feel claustrophobic and my heart races. Then, I start to feel lightheaded and like Im about to be short of breath.
I know what to do. Ive been through this before, and I have the tools to get through it. And so, I start running through the process of what I know works. Before long, Im back to feeling like myself again. No panic attack this time.
The fear of having another panic attack is something that I deal with on a daily basis. Its like a weight thats always hanging over my head.
But even though I know that I cant control when or where a panic attack will happen, Ive learned how to manage them. In time, I hope to eventually become panic-free.
Use Muscle Relaxation Techniques
Muscle tension is a symptom of anxiety, and muscle relaxation techniques can help reduce tension and promote relaxation during an attack. Progressive muscle relaxation aims to release tension in one group of muscles at a time to relax the whole body.
Much like deep breathing, muscle relaxation techniques can help stop your panic attack in its tracks by controlling your bodys response as much as possible.
If you attend muscle relaxation therapy, your therapist might take you through the following
- First, you may learn how to tense the muscles before releasing the tension.
- Then, you will learn how to relax the muscles without tensing them first.
- You may also learn how to relax specific sets of muscles, for example, in the shoulders, for practical use in everyday situations.
- Finally, you may learn how to practice rapid relaxation, when you can identify any areas of tension and release it as needed.
To start relaxing your muscles at home, consciously relax one muscle at a time, starting with something simple like the fingers in your hand, and move your way up through your body.
Muscle relaxation techniques will be most effective when youve practiced them beforehand.
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How Are Panic Attacks Managed Or Treated
Psychotherapy, medications or a combination are very effective at stopping panic attacks. How long youll need treatment depends on the severity of your problem and how well you respond to treatment. Options include:
- Psychotherapy:Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of psychotherapy, or talk therapy. You discuss your thoughts and emotions with a mental health professional, such as a licensed counselor or psychologist. This specialist helps identify panic attack triggers so you can change your thinking, behaviors and reactions. As you start to respond differently to triggers, the attacks decrease and ultimately stop.
- Antidepressants: Certain antidepressant medications can make panic attacks less frequent or less severe. Providers may prescribe serotonin selective reuptake inhibitors , serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors or tricyclic antidepressants . SSRIs include fluoxetine and paroxetine . SNRIs include duloxetine and venlafaxine . TCAs include amitriptyline and doxepin .
- Anti-anxiety medications: Benzodiazepines are the most commonly prescribed anti-anxiety medication to treat and prevent panic attacks. They help with anxiety but have risks of addiction or dependence. These medications include alprazolam and lorazepam .
What Other Behaviours Are Related To Panic Disorder
Adults with panic disorder will often change their behaviour to feel safer and try to prevent future panic attacks. Examples include:
- Carrying items such as medication, water or a cell phone
- Having a companion accompany them places
- Avoiding physical activities that might trigger panic-like feelings
- Avoiding certain foods or beverages because they might trigger panic-like symptoms
- Sitting near exits or bathrooms
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Getting Through A Panic Attack At Night
Nighttime panic attacks or night terrors can be especially frightening because they have the same symptoms as regular panic attacks, except they wake you up from your sleep, making it difficult to get back to sleep at times. Theyre fairly common, but experts dont really know why they happen.
Its possible that our brains are still dealing with our anxieties and fears while were sleeping or that theres something genetic that increases a persons likelihood of experiencing them. Chronic stress, some medications, chronic physical illnesses, and consuming alcohol, cannabis, or caffeine can increase the chances of nighttime panic attacks.
To help deal with panic attacks that strike at night, I follow some of the same tips as listed above, but I also make sure to do a few things specifically for bedtime:
- Create a relaxing bedtime routine including reading, journaling, meditation, etc.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol or other substances before going to bed.
- Abstain from eating three hours before bedtime
- Make sure the room is cool, well ventilated, and darkwith as few distractions as possible.
- Take a hot shower or bath before going to bed to help the mind and body relax.
Top 3 Exercises For Relieving Anxiety
The exercises discussed above are useful tools your client can use to prevent and control a panic attack.
They might also find it useful to know techniques for managing generalized anxiety that might exist in the broader context of their panic attacks.
As you learned above, anxiety can act as a sensitizing factor, making it more likely for a panic attack to occur. In a more general sense, your client may find it easier to engage with their therapy and maintain a positive attitude if they feel confident controlling their everyday mental health.
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Panic Attacks Dont Last As Long As They Feel Like They Do
Panic attacks feel like an eternity to the sufferer, but the reality is that your body cant sustain them for very long. The brain goes into fight or flight mode when people experience panic attacks.
Panic attacks typically reach their peak within ten minutes and resolve within thirty minutes. They rarely last more than an hour. That thirty-minute period is so physically and emotionally overwhelming, however, that it feels like much longer and requires a significant recovery period after. Panic attacks are very draining and its difficult to jump right back into school, work, or family fun immediately following an attack.
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The Symptoms Of Writing Anxiety
Writing anxiety, like any anxiety, is first and foremost a physical phenomenon. Your heart beats like a drummer in a punk rock band. You may feel dizzy and have the jitters so you cannot sit, or stand, or concentrate. You may tremble, sweat, or even have a full-blown panic attack.
On top of the physical experience come racing, negative thoughts. You cant do it, youre not good enough, itll be a waste of time, youll never finish it. Memories of every rejection, every past failure, every mistake or embarrassment crowd out all others.
It feels like an all-out, full-frontal attack on the serenity and confidence you need to be creative, to write. And it is. But heres something you need to understand: youre attacking yourself. No one else is on your back. This is a self-inflicted problem.
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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.
Some Other Facts About Panic Attacks You Can Use:
These are a few other facts that can be used while describing a panic attack. They can be used to create well-crafted scenes of panic attacks that readers who get them can actually relate to.
- People who get panic attacks run from public gatherings if they feel like getting them. Its a shame for them to get it in front of their friends and family mostly.
- Panic attacks cant be controlled.
Angela asked her to control it. Marjorie, she said, this is a big moment. You cant ruin it by panicking right now. Think of me, okay. Please. Do it for me.
So this is it! Now go on and write that scene of yours. Its time to impress your readers.
If you like to add in anything that will help the readers describe a panic attack realistically, just comment below and Ill see whether it needs to be added.
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Spotting A Panic Attack
Ive had many, so I know. You can spot a panic attack when you suddenly start feeling intensely anxious, like youre about to lose control over yourself, or like youre about to die. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Increased heart rate
- Difficulty breathing
- Heart palpitations
My anxiety and fear of experiencing these symptoms is what used to cause me to avoid places like malls or big, busy events. Its also what caused me to check the locks on my doors 10 times before I go to bed at night.
Feel It Deal With It And Write Anyway
So, there you have it. I cant cure your writing anxiety But I know that this three-step process works to help acknowledge the problem, understand it, and get it under control.
Youll live with writing anxiety for the rest of your career. But instead of it being a mountainous monster that undermines your every effort, you can turn it into an annoying flea that isnt too difficult to swat away while you get on with what you need to do. And then theres no reason you shouldnt be a prolific and successful writer despite your anxiety.
Go for it.
If youre serious about learning how to make a living as a freelance writer despite the anxiety! Ive compiled a 22-lesson series for beginners which will teach you everything you need to get started on the road to a profitable freelance writing career. Its free to Medium subscribers. Theres no affiliate link, no up-sell, no hidden cost, and no need to share your email with me. Honestly, I just want to help! Start by reading this next:
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What Is An Anxiety Attack
As mentioned previously, an anxiety attack is not a recognized medical condition as defined by the DSM-V. But this doesnt mean that it doesnt exist. Rather it is a term people with anxiety use to describe very intense or extended periods of anxiety.
Many people live with low-level anxiety on a daily basis. But every now and then, their anxiousness may increase, either gradually or suddenly, to a higher level than is usual for them. Symptoms of these anxiety attacks are more severe than the simple feeling of anxiety but less severe than a panic attack and may be short-lived or persist for days, sometimes weeks. Symptoms may include:
- Feeling particularly wound up or on edge
- Feeling irritable
- Difficulty concentrating or periods where your mind goes blank
- Having difficulty controlling worries
- Tire easily
Sometimes an anxiety attack is a prelude to a panic attack. For example, some people have experienced anxiety attacks on the way to an airport because they have previously had a panic attack on an airplane.
Anxiety attacks do not necessarily indicate that a person has an anxiety disorder, although anxiety as a symptom is linked to numerous mental health conditions, including depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and PTSD. Anxiety is appropriate in some circumstances and anxiety attacks are only more intense forms of that emotion.
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Breaking The Silence And Stigma Of Mental Illness
Struggling and on the brink of suicide, Mark Markham turned to an expert team of mental health professionals at Mayo Clinic to help him regain his footing. With their guidance and care, Mark has been able to find his way back to a fulfilling life of purpose.
Editorsnote: It wasnt that long ago that Mark Markham found himself with little willto live. Mark, a medical administrative assistant in Mayo Clinics Departmentof Neurosurgery, sought help from the Department of Psychiatry and Psychologyat Mayo Clinic in Rochester. He credits the compassionate staff at Mayo, thepower of mindfulness and meditation, and the unwavering support of friends,family and co-workers for where he is today: thriving in a life he loves. Markshares his story here in his own words.
I am a 34-year-old who suffers with anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder and panic disorder. But I am not just that. I also am a 34-year-old who is a creative musician, a husband, a father to the cutest Yorkie you could ever meet , a devoted staff member in Neurosurgery at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, a compassionate and kind friend, and an individual who finds joy and laughter daily.
This story is about dealing with a mental illness and still thriving with a job and life I passionately and deeply love and care about. I do this with the help of Mayo Clinic as an institution, its staff, my friends, family, and most importantly, Generose .
Mental illness has a funny way of pinning you against yourself.
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