If Feeling Anxious Is Normal When Does It Become A Clinical Disorder
Anxiety is formally diagnosed as generalised anxiety disorder after meeting these specific criteria from the DSM-V:
- The presence of excessive anxiety and worry about a variety of topics, events, or activities. Worry occurs more often than not for at least 6 months and is clearly excessive.
- The worry is experienced as very challenging to control.
- The anxiety and worry is accompanied with at least three of the following physical or cognitive symptoms :
- Tiring easily
- Increased muscle aches or soreness
A health practitioner will use standardised assessment tools, the above diagnostic criteria, and their clinical judgement to make a diagnosis of anxiety-related disorder.
Improves Systolic Blood Pressure
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, increases your risk for heart disease and stroke. Stress can worsen the condition, but PMR may help.
In a 2019 study , PMR with music therapy improved systolic blood pressure in older adults.
A study done in 2018, which used PMR by itself, also found that it had the ability to significantly improve systolic blood pressure in adults with high blood pressure.
In both studies, however, it didnt seem to have an effect on diastolic blood pressure.
How To Treat Panic Attacks: 6 Exercises And Techniques
Panic attacks can seem as challenging to treat as they are to control.
However, with a systematic approach and adherence to a few simple techniques, panic attacks can become manageable.
In this article, youll gain a working understanding of what triggers a panic attack and how to approach treatment for your client. Youll learn about the options for clinical treatment, as well as exercises and techniques your client can use to manage their panic attacks, both during an attack and in their everyday life to reduce the likelihood of an attack occurring.
Before you continue, we thought you might like to . These science-based exercises will explore fundamental aspects of positive psychology including strengths, values, and self-compassion, and will give you the tools to enhance the wellbeing of your clients, students, or employees.
What Makes A Home Panic Attack Treatment
It’s never a bad idea to consult a professional for treatment. There are proven techniques that can help reduce the frequency and severity of your panic attacks, and even some of the home remedies listed below work better when you can be observed by someone that can help if your anxiety becomes too overwhelming.
Similarly, you should always visit your doctor before starting any panic attack treatment. Physical causes of panic attacks are rare, but unless you visit a doctor, you’ll always have that nagging feeling in the back of your mind that your panic attacks represent something else – some type of health problem. Seeing a doctor relieves some of this anxiety. But be warned, many people still convince themselves that the doctor is missing something, so don’t expect seeing a doctor to take away all of your anxieties.
Finally, not all home remedies stop panic attacks altogether. Some simply reduce the severity or the frequency. But if your panic attacks are less severe, you’ll fear them less, and if you fear them less, you’ll be less prone to future panic attacks.
The following are some effective home ways to treat panic attacks:
What Is An Anxiety Attack
Anxiety attacks or Panic attacks typically occur when you experience intense physical symptoms of anxiety. These physical symptoms might be connected to anxious thoughts, but often clients tell me that they occur out of the blue.
When you have an anxiety attack, your mind and body perceive a threat in the environment that you may not be conscious of and fire up all of the systems necessary to meet that threat. Without a needed outlet for that energy, your body and mind experience that excess energy as a panic attack.
If youve never had a panic attack before, it can be really scary and unsettling. Many people go to the emergency room because they are concerned that they are having a heart attack.
Because anxiety attacks have physical and mental causes and symptoms, its essential to use tools that tackle both issues. To fully treat anxiety attacks, you need to focus on body, mind, and lifestyle interventions. Below are strategies that will help you stop an anxiety attack fast.
Recommended Reading: Anxiety Cause Burning Sensation
Risk Factors For Experiencing A Panic Attack
Although anyone may be affected by a panic attack, a range of factors may increase the likelihood for certain individuals. People who have a disorder that leads to elevated levels of anxiety are more likely to experience a panic attack. This includes:
- Generalized anxiety disorder . A form of chronic anxiety that is often unrelated to a particular cause.
- Obsessive compulsive disorder . In the case of OCD, a person experiences recurrent unwanted thoughts and compulsive behaviors. This can lead to panic attacks in some people, although, according to DSM-5 criteria, OCD is no longer listed as anxiety disorder.
- Post traumatic stress disorder . Although PTSD is a trauma and stressor-related disorder rather than an anxiety disorder, panic attacks may relate to anxiety from PTSD, that develops after first or second-hand exposure to a traumatic event.
- Social phobia. In people with social phobia, everyday situations regularly cause debilitating levels of anxiety.
Other mental health conditions, such as depression, can also cause the anxious kinds of thinking that may precipitate a panic attack.
Other factors, which increase oneâs likelihood of experiencing a panic attack, include:
Conditions which increase the likelihood of experiencing a panic attack include:
Give Yourself A Simple Massage
In order to stop panic attacks, youll need to help yourself relax. Unfortunately, going to the spa regularly can be out of some peoples price range. So youll have to practice pampering yourself. There are a few spots that do the trick.
When having a panic attack, massage the top part of your nose between the eyes. Just move your finger up and down gently to help you relax. You can also massage your wrists or feet. Sometimes rubbing your chest above the heart can help you unwind. Some people rub ice on themselves in a massaging motion to help stop panic attacks. So you can try that too!
Don’t Miss: Phobia Of Long Words
Focus On Your Five Senses
“Focus on your external reality, rather than the symptoms,” advises Bruha. “Use the five senses to ground yourself in the moment.” Be curious about your environment. What can you see, hear, touch, smell or taste?
This is where you can add tactile items to your kit: a fidget spinner, stress ball or a squishy toy.
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.
You May Like: Prodromal Stage Of Schizophrenia
Try To Find Evidence For Your Fear
When trying to stop a panic attack, you need to get to the root cause of it: your fear. Many times are fears are exaggerated in our mind. Our imagination can play some terrifying tricks on us. A simple way to stop panic attacks is to first label what the situation or trigger is. For example, an upcoming wedding. Then, list your feelings such as anxious, paranoid, scared, etc. Next, name the unhelpful thoughts that youre having. For example, feeling like youre in danger, feeling like youre about to die. Then, list the facts that support your unhelpful thought.
Keep in mind they need to be facts not beliefs. You might have some weird coincidences that you can list but that wont be considered actual evidence. Then, list facts that provide evidence against the unhelpful thought. For example, maybe youre still young and healthy so you likely arent about to die. Next, provide an alternative and more realistic. Next, focus on reevaluate you how currently feel. This is the Thought Record you can fill out to help you.
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are a popular class of antidepressants prescribed to decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression. Serotonin is a naturally occurring neurotransmitter in the brain.
These medications work by influencing only serotonin and by preventing serotonin absorption by the nerve cells in the brain. By balancing serotonin functioning, SSRIs are able to reduce anxiety and improve mood.
Common SSRIs include:
Studies have demonstrated the long-term effectiveness of SSRIs. These medications have also been found to cause limited side effects, making them the prescription medication of choice for panic disorder.
Don’t Miss: Can Being Dehydrated Cause Anxiety
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.
Acknowledge The Panic Attack
People spend most of their time in the two wrong places: the past or the future. In the past, you drown yourself in depression. In the future, youre scared for your life. But in the present, thats where you can find the most joy. While having a panic attack can be wildly unpleasant, its important to sit with yourself in the present moment and acknowledge it.
Tell yourself, Right now, Im having a panic attack. I feel scared, anxious, and worried that something will go wrong. However, right now nothing bad is happening right now. I am safe. I feel myself taking a deep breath in. I feel the oxygen entering my lungs. I feel my toes grounded on the floor. Im shaking my arms back and forth. This moment isnt perfect but it will pass. Good moments are up ahead. All I need to do is feel this present moment.
You May Like: Schizophrenia By Gender
Relax Your Body To Ease An Anxiety Attack
It’s easy to say, “Just relax,” right? But once you start to observe your body during an anxiety attack, you might find that certain parts of your body clench up during an attack. Make a deliberate effort to tighten and then relax those parts of your body.
Or, if those parts feel like they wont obey during an anxiety attack, pick a body part that will respond, such as your toes or your shoulders. The more you can breathe deeply and relax, the easier it will be to cope.
Learn How To Manage Your Anxious Thoughts
Anxiety doesn’t come out of the blue. When you have anxiety attacks, it’s 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 you’ll 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 I’m 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:
- I’m okay. This is just anxiety and I will get passed this .
- I have a great life and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.
- My anxiety won’t 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.
Recommended Reading: Can Low Blood Sugar Cause Anxiety
Tips For Helping Someone With An Anxiety Disorder:
- Make no assumptionsask the person what they need.
- Be predictabledon’t surprise the person.
- Let the person with the disorder set the pace for recovery.
- Find something positive in every small step towards recovery.
- Don’t help the person avoid their fears.
- Maintain your own life so you don’t resent the person with the disorder.
- Don’t panic when the person with the disorder panics, but realize it’s natural to be concerned with them.
- Be patient and accepting, but don’t settle for the affected person being permanently disabled.
- Say encouraging words such as: “You can do it no matter how you feel. I am proud of you. Tell me what you need now. Breathe slow and low. Stay in the present. It’s not the place that’s bothering you, it’s the thought. I know that what you are feeling is painful, but it’s not dangerous. You are courageous.”
- Avoid saying things like: “Don’t be anxious. Let’s see if you can do this. You can fight this. What should we do next? Don’t be ridculous. You have to stay. Don’t be a coward.” These phrases tend to blame the individual for the anxiety.
How To Stop An Anxiety Attack Fast
If youve ever had a panic attack, youve likely wondered how to stop an anxiety attack fast.
Anxiety attacks can be scary. Many of my clients tell me that they are afraid that they are “going crazy” or “losing control”.
Im a therapist for anxiety, and I help clients who struggle with regular panic attacks find their way back to calm again.
In this post, Ill cover some of the common causes of panic attacks and how to stop anxiety attacks fast.
The sweating, shaking, racing heart and shortness of breath that accompany panic episodes can leave you feeling out of control and drained.
Though these feelings and sensations are uncomfortable, they are symptoms that are typical of panic episodes, and they will pass. Approaching anxiety with fear or dread will only make symptoms worse.
Understanding what a panic attack is will help reduce fear AND give you the keys to stopping your panic attack as quickly as possible.
Treatment Options For Your Clients
Treatment options are suitable for clients who are experiencing panic attacks because of a clinically significant mental health condition such as panic disorder.
The first port of call for such clients should be Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy . CBT is a diverse therapy that can involve any combination of a suite of therapeutic interventions, unified by the goal of helping your client reevaluate their beliefs and reprogram the habitual links between their beliefs and behaviors.
As the name suggests, the mental health interventions involved in CBT can be categorized as either cognitive or behavioral.
Cognitive therapies involve identifying and disrupting beliefs that cause the negative mood or anxiety that trigger panic attacks and educating patients to understand their panic attacks and put psychological distance between themselves and their experiences.
Behavioral therapies can involve relaxation techniques, practicing how to navigate potentially triggering situations, and exposure therapy, in which a client is safely guided through a direct or visualized experience of a potentially triggering situation.
Whatever combination of interventions works best for your client, CBT has been shown to be a successful therapy in most cases and is well suited to managing panic attacks, where controlling those triggering links between beliefs and behaviors is crucial.
What Helps To Manage Panic Attacks
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.
You May Like: Fear Of Big Words