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How Would You Describe A Panic Attack

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Types Of Anxiety Disorder

Panic disorder – panic attacks, causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment & pathology

There are several different classified anxiety disorders. Each one features different types of symptoms that can, in some cases, be triggered by specific situations.

Panic disorder : This involves at least two panic attacks accompanied by the constant fear of future attacks. People with panic disorder may lose a job, refuse to travel or leave their home, or completely avoid anything they believe will trigger an attack of anxiety.

Generalized anxiety disorder : This is a constant state of worry about a number of events or activities in the persons life.

Phobic disorder: This features an incapacitating and irrational fear of an object or situation, for example, a fear of spiders or open spaces . Most adults with phobic disorder are aware that their fear is irrational.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder : This condition is marked by unwanted repeated thoughts and behaviors .

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What Does A Panic Attack Feel Like

Even if youve never experienced a panic attack yourself, you probably know someone who has, or have seen one portrayed in the media. Panic Disorder affects 2-3% of individuals in the United States in a given year , which equates to almost 10 million people. Even tough guys are not immune to panic, as in the classic case of HBOs Tony Soprano .

Words To Describe Anxiety

Anxiety is a feeling of fear, worry, and uneasiness. It can cause physical feelings such as nausea, stomach upset, dizziness, dry mouth and tension.

Everyone experiences stress and anxiety at some point in their lives.

Anxiety is normal when faced with difficult or stressful situations.

Living with a long term health condition, such as a lung condition, poses different challenges day-to-day.

For some people living with anxiety or panic can affect some or all of the things you do.

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How Do You Explain Anxiety And Panic Attacks

An anxiety attack usually involves a fear of some specific occurrence or problem that could happen. Symptoms include worry, restlessness, and possibly physical symptoms, such as changes in heart rate. Anxiety is different from a panic attack, but it can occur as part of an anxiety or panic disorder.

I Thought I Was Having A Heart Attack

What a panic attack feels and looks like

Nicholas Ruggiero, 42, Dumfries, Va.

Police Sgt. Nicholas Ruggiero was packing his lunch for work one morning in October 2018 when his heart started dancing in his chest.

He felt hot and sweaty, and he couldn’t catch his breath. Then the room began to spin. As he fell to the floor, his wife called 911.

“I actually thought I was having a heart attack, Ruggiero remembers.

An ambulance rushed him to the hospital, where we underwent a full workup. Afterward, the doctor gave Ruggiero an unexpected diagnosis: He was having a panic attack.

“At first, I just started laughing, Ruggiero says. As a police officer, I’d been in a lot of stressful situations shooting scenes, homicides and I had never panicked. How could I be having a panic attack?

It turned out that the stress of his job had built up over time and triggered the attack. In the two years since, Ruggiero estimates he has had another 100 panic attacks, but medication and lifestyle changes have helped make them less frequent.

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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 Are The Differences

Here are some of the features that distinguish them.

An anxiety attack, or anxiety:

  • can have a specific trigger, such as an exam, workplace issues, a health issue, or a relationship problem
  • is not a diagnosable condition
  • is less severe than a panic attack
  • usually develops gradually when a person feels anxious
  • involves physical symptoms, such as a racing heart or knot in the stomach

A panic attack:

The term anxiety attack is not listed in the American Psychological Associations Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 5th Edition .

Panic attacks, however, are a symptom of panic disorder in the DSM-V. Only a licensed professional can diagnose panic disorder.

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I Feel Out Of Control

Genevra, an activist, explains that the first time she had a panic attack, she thought she was actually dying.

“It usually starts in my throat it closes off to where I feel like I am suffocating. I cannot swallow. My heart races, and I feel like I have fire ants all over my face. I feel out of control,” she says. “My panic attacks last anywhere from twenty minutes, to several hours. The only thing that works for my panic attacks is .”

How Long Do Panic Attacks Last

What are Panic Attacks Why You Get them?

Panic attacks are generally brief, lasting less than 10 minutes, although some of the symptoms may last longer. An isolated panic attack, while extremely unpleasant, is not uncommon or life-threatening.

Panic attacks can be a symptom of other anxiety disorders, and people whoâve had one panic attack are at greater risk for another compared to those whoâve never had one. Panic attacks and panic disorder are not the same thing. When the attacks happen repeatedly and you worry about having more episodes, you may have panic disorder.

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I Get Physically Sick

Lisa, a certified nursing assistant, explains to Bustle her panic attacks tend to present in two different ways: “One of which comes out in anger and stress, and my thoughts race as if I canât grasp one to hang onto. And, I get physically sick,” she says.

She adds that, “I am usually able to identify that Iâm having a panic attack, but I canât seem to get enough air. I start to shut down and cover my face and breathe very quickly. I can hear directions given to me , but I canât seem to process the phrases.”

What Is A Metaphor For Anxiety

Anxiety is like being strapped to a chair whilst looking at an open door. Anxiety has a way of holding people in a game where you know the next step but the ability to move is inconceivable. The desire to take action is present and well-intentioned, however, every time you move, anxiety tightens the grips.

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What Can I Do During A Panic Attack

When you feel a panic attack coming on, there are some quick strategies you can try.

  • Breathe. Focusing on breathing slowly and deeply can help you manage rapid breathing or anxious feelings. The NHS website has a calming breathing technique you can try. Or the meditation website Calm has a simple animation you can follow to slow down your breathing.
  • Recognise this is a panic attack. Its temporary, it will pass, and it isnt a heart attack.
  • Dont fight it. Stay where you are if you can. Leaving might mean you start to fear the place you had the panic attack and avoid it in future.
  • Find an object to focus on. Pick something you can see and notice everything you can about it. Your panic may subside as you focus all your energy on the object and describe it in detail to yourself.
  • Focus on positive, peaceful images. You could imagine yourself in a quiet, calming place like a beach or a forest.
  • Try a grounding exercise. This can be help if you feel out of touch with your body or surroundings. One technique is to think about five things you can see four things you can feel three things you can hear two things you can smell and one thing you can taste.
  • If you have a friend with you, it can be helpful to tell them whats happening. They can reassure you it will pass and that the symptoms wont hurt you.

    Mental Health Treatment Program Locator

    Anxiety and Anxiety Disorder

    The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration provides this online resource for locating mental health treatment facilities and programs. The Mental Health Treatment Locator section of the Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator lists facilities providing mental health services to persons with mental illness. Find a facility in your state at . For additional resources, visit

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    Explaining Your Panic Disorder To Friends And Family

    Carly Snyder, MD is a reproductive and perinatal psychiatrist who combines traditional psychiatry with integrative medicine-based treatments.

    If you have been diagnosed with panic disorder, you may be all too familiar with the impact your condition can have on your relationships. It can be difficult for loved ones to understand your experience.

    For example, friends and family may not acknowledge that you have a real mental health disorder. Some loved ones may not realize how difficult it can be to deal with panic attacks. Others may have false assumptions about anxiety disorders in general.

    Considering the many misunderstandings and myths about panic disorder, it can be difficult for your family and friends to understand your condition. They may have many questions that are hard to answer. But telling others about your panic disorder does not always have to be such a challenge. Use these explanations to help you get the conversation going.

    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.

    Differences In How They Start

    Anxiety can be a response to a specific worry or fear. It tends to develop gradually, and a person is usually worried or concerned at the outset. It can be mild, moderate or severe. There may be a sense that if only this problem can be solved, everything will be all right.

    A panic attack can happen without warning, and there is no way to prevent it. It can happen whether a person feels calm or anxious, and even during sleep. There is often no obvious cause, and the level of fear is out of proportion to the trigger. In fact, according to the APA, the reaction is unrelated to the situation.

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    What Is Panic Disorder

    If you’re having lots of panic attacks at unpredictable times and there doesn’t seem to be a particular trigger or cause, you might be given a diagnosis of panic disorder. It’s common to experience panic disorder and certain types of phobia together. People who experience panic disorder may have some periods with few or no panic attacks, but have lots at other times.

    Panic disorder and high sensitivity

    Some research suggests that people who have panic disorder might be very sensitive to sensory experiences , but there’s not enough evidence yet to say for sure.

    Also it’s not clear whether having a high level of sensitivity to these sorts of things is something that might cause you to develop panic disorder, or whether it may be an effect of having it.

    “Never knowing when I was going to have a panic attack was the worst feeling in the world.”

    What Helps To Manage Panic Attacks

    What causes panic attacks, and how can you prevent them? – Cindy J. Aaronson

    Panic attacks can be frightening, but there are things you can do to help yourself cope. It could help to print off these tips, or write them down, and keep them somewhere easy to find.

    During a panic attack:

    • Focus on your breathing. It can help to concentrate on breathing slowly in and out while counting to five.
    • Stamp on the spot. Some people find this helps control their breathing.
    • Focus on your senses. For example, taste mint-flavoured sweets or gum, or touch or cuddle something soft.
    • Try grounding techniques. Grounding techniques can help you feel more in control. They’re especially useful if you experience dissociation during panic attacks. See our page on self-care for dissociation for more information on grounding techniques.

    After a panic attack:

    • Think about self-care. It’s important to pay attention to what your body needs after you’ve had a panic attack. For example, you might need to rest somewhere quietly, or eat or drink something.
    • Tell someone you trust. If you feel able to, it could help to let someone know you’ve had a panic attack. It could be particularly helpful to mention how they might notice if you’re having another one, and how you’d like them to help you.

    See our pages on self-care for anxiety and treatments for anxiety for more information on what could help.

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    How To Write Realistic Symptoms Of A Panic Attack:

    Now we move on the task of describing a situation while our character is having a panic attack. Before writing the symptoms your character is feeling, remember that panic attacks occur suddenly.

    • If your character gets a panic attack for the first time, he/she can easily confuse it with a heart attack and panic even more.

    Writing example:

    . Her breathing was labored and her palms felt sweating. She felt it would burst, her heart. She couldnt think anything, only that her chest might get crushed any minute and her heart might burst open. Oh lord, she prayed, just save me this once.

    • Panic attacks can cause un-triggered crying and hysterics.
    • Some people shake uncontrollably while having a panic attack.

    Writing example:

    She wanted to text her mother back but she couldnt. The news had made her sweaty. She was feeling like her life was running out of her. Her body felt so weak. Her fingers! She looked at them. They were shaking uncontrollably. Trying to catch her breath, she tried to type but to no avail. Her hands werent following her brain.

    • Some people have cold sweats while panicking.
    • Dry mouth or dry throat is also a sign that you are having a panic attack.
    • Some people feel like their windpipe is clogged up while panicking.

    Writing example:

    • Nausea and dizziness are often experienced during a panic attack.
    • Heart rate picks up while someone is panicking.

    Writing example:

    Can Panic Disorder Be Prevented Or Avoided

    You cant prevent panic disorder because doctors arent sure what causes it. But you may be able to prevent a panic attack by knowing your triggers. Your doctor can help with that. He or she can help make sure your panic attacks dont become worse or more frequent. Its also a good idea to be physically active. Getting exercise is a known stress reliever and may also guard you against panic attacks.

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    The Anticipation Of Future Attacks Triggers Me

    Due to the sudden and unpredictable nature of panic attacks, it can be difficult to make plans to venture too far from home. Anticipatory anxiety can make ordinary outings, like watching a baseball game, feel overwhelming due to intrusive thoughts about the difficulty of finding an escape route or getting caught in a crowd.

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    How Do You Describe Anxiety

    How Anxiety and Panic Attacks Differ

    How do you describe anxiety? The American Psychological Association defines anxiety as an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure.

    What is a brief description of anxiety? Anxiety is a feeling of nervousness, worry, or unease that is a normal human experience. It is also present in a wide range of psychiatric disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and phobias.

    How do you describe anxiety in writing? People with writing anxiety might even get physical symptoms if they try to write, or to over-edit: perspiring, trembling, shortness of breath, pacing, and so on.

    How do you describe anxious? 1) Words to describe anxiety

    Anxiety is a feeling of fear, worry, and uneasiness. It can cause physical feelings such as nausea, stomach upset, dizziness, dry mouth and tension. Everyone experiences stress and anxiety at some point in their lives. Anxiety is normal when faced with difficult or stressful situations.

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    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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