Many people suffer from anxiety due to a mental disorder. The severity of this condition varies greatly between people. Some people only suffer from mild anxiety and need little or no intervention, while others may need to take medication on a regular basis in order to function properly. Unfortunately, many people don’t really understand anxiety and may feel that something else is wrong with them. For this reason, it is important to learn more about it so you can determine if this is your problem or there may be other causes. Have You Had an Anxiety Attack?
What Is Anxiety?
When you are in danger, it is a natural response to feel fear and anxiety. However, for some people, this reaction is more severe and may occur during situations that don’t pose a risk to the individual. This is when it can become a serious problem. Anxiety is perfectly normal on some levels, but there comes a point where you may be suffering from a panic disorder instead.
What Does an Anxiety Attack Feel Like?
A simple answer to this question is it can often feel similar to a heart attack. In fact, many people mistake their first attack as a heart attack and may find themselves in the emergency room. Thankfully, these people quickly find out their heart is just fine and something else is the cause of their issue. Even though anxiety symptoms feel like a heart attack, it is important to realize the difference so you get the right kind of help. Some of the common symptoms of an anxiety attack include:
- A sense that something bad will happen
- Difficulty breathing
- Rapid heart rate
- Chest Pain
- Stomach Pains
- Hot Flashes
- Trouble Swallowing
While many of these symptoms are frightening, they are relatively harmless from a medical standpoint. However, if you have never suffered from an anxiety attack before, it is best to talk to your doctor about it to ensure something else isn’t happening. Once you are cleared of other health problems, you will better understand your anxiety disorder symptoms so you can handle it better.
Why Do You Have Anxiety Attacks?
There are many reasons people may suffer from these conditions. For instance, some people experience them because of genetic issues that have been passed down. People who are more likely to suffer from stress are also more likely to suffer an attack. If you are experiencing a particularly stressful problem in your life, you may also be susceptible. Other people have changes in their brain that contribute to their attacks. Talking to your doctor can help you identify your triggers and determine how to fight them.
A Variety of Anxiety Disorders
If you want to find out what causes your attacks and how to deal with them, determining which anxiety disorder you have can be important. There are several kinds of anxiety disorders you may have, including:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Panic Disorder
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
- Social Anxiety Disorder
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Many of the treatments are the same, while others are different, depending on the cause and the symptoms.
Understanding the type of anxiety you experience is a necessity. To help your doctor provide the right diagnosis, make a list of the symptoms and when you experience them so you can discuss it with your doctor. Your doctor will ask you a number of questions and may perform some additional tests to determine what the best treatment plan can be. The right plan of action is necessary to ensure you get the treatment you need to overcome your feelings of anxiety.
How to Stop an Anxiety Attack?
When you are in the midst of an attack, it can be difficult to calm yourself down enough to handle the symptoms. If you suffer from an anxiety disorder, the symptoms can cause even more stress and can actually lead to an increase in symptoms and their severity. This creates a serious cycle that can be difficult to overcome. For this reason, it is important for those who suffer from one of these disorders to learn how to handle attacks on their own to prevent problems.
If you regularly suffer from attacks, you can do the following:
- Take slow, methodical breaths
- Slowly count to five or 10
- Focus on relaxing your muscles
- Take a peaceful walk
- Exercise or practice yoga
In addition to these methods of helping you overcome an anxiety attack while it is in progress, there are other things you can do to decrease the number of attacks you experience and help you live a more normal life. If you need help with your anxiety disorder, consider taking the following steps for treatment:
- Write down your worries to help you let them go.
- Set aside time to think about your worries.
- Learn relaxation techniques you can use in the midst of an attack.
- Change to healthier eating habits.
- Stop using nicotine or alcohol.
- Exercise often.
- Make sure you get enough sleep.
All of these steps can help you reach a healthier state of mind and assist in reducing the number of panic attacks you experience.
One of the best things you can do is learn more about the practice of mindfulness. If you work with a therapist, chances are this topic will come up as some point during your treatments. The idea behind mindfulness is that you train your mind to focus on what is going on right now. In today’s busy society, it is common for people to constantly be looking forward, worrying about what will happen tomorrow, next week, next month, next year or even further. This can create a higher level of anxiety for many people. Learning how to focus on the now can help you overcome much of your anxiety so you can experience a less stressful life.
Professional Treatment Options
While some people are able to function with their own relaxation techniques and changes to their habits, others suffer from more severe versions of the disorder and require professional treatment options to help them overcome their problems. For these individuals, there are a variety of treatment options from which they can choose.
Counseling and therapy are a common tool to help them manage their symptoms and even stop some of their attacks. Sometimes talking about their triggers and brainstorming for new ways to handle the symptoms is enough to help people cope with their condition. In severe cases, forms of hypnosis and other similar treatments can be used to train the brain to think about situations in a different light. This can be extremely useful for those who are having difficulty functioning in their everyday activities.
While psychotherapy is one of the most natural ways to overcome anxiety, some patients require medication to reduce their anxiety levels and feel better about life situations. Most doctors will prescribe either a benzodiazepine or antidepressant to patients to reduce their feelings of anxiety. Because there are many kinds of medications available and everyone reacts to them differently, it is important to work closely with a doctor to determine the right medication, as well as the proper dosing, to give the best relief without giving too much medication. It is also important to understand any potential side effects and weigh them against the benefits of taking the medication.
Sometimes a doctor may wish to use an alternative treatment for those who suffer from anxiety. For instance, some studies have revealed taking a specific nutritional supplement, inositol, can have a positive impact on your anxiety symptoms. There may be other alternative options available. Talk to your doctor if you aren’t comfortable taking medications to determine if there may be other options as well.
Identifying Your Triggers
One of the most important things you can do to help you overcome your anxiety attacks is to identify your triggers. Depending on what those triggers are, you may be able to avoid them altogether so you can reduce the number of attacks you experience or eliminate them altogether. Some of the most common triggers for individuals include:
- Heart Problems
- Alcohol and Drugs
- Certain Medications
- Weight Loss Supplements
- Thyroid Problems
If you can determine which of these or other factors trigger your attacks, you can seek assistance. For instance, if it is a medical condition that affects your level of anxiety, seeking medical treatments for that condition can help. However, if your trigger is related to something you consume or situations in your life, you may be able to make changes in your life so you can suffer from fewer attacks.
Potential Long-Term Effects
Some people think anxiety disorders are fairly harmless. While they can be if they are properly treated, there are serious consequences that can develop when left untreated. Some of these problems can be reversible, while others may not. Some of the potential problems that can develop include:
- Development of fears of specific events
- Avoid social situations
- Increased risk of suicide
- Financial problems
- Trouble at work and school
- Substance abuse
Fear can be a good thing, but you can’t let it run your life. For this reason, it is important to talk to your doctor about any uncontrolled fear you may experience. Getting the right treatment is necessary so you can feel less fear and live your life to its fullest.
Anxiety attacks are a serious problem that affect a large number of people. Just about anyone can suffer from an attack because of stresses in their life or some other trigger. While these attacks are a normal part of life, some people suffer from them at a severe level that may require additional assistance. Understanding the causes of these attacks, particularly the different anxiety disorders that can trigger them, will help you determine the best plan of action to avoid them and handle them when they do occur. There are many reasons people suffer from these attacks. Learning to identify your triggers and when to seek professional help can assist you in making the right choices for your mental health. Too many people allow their mental health to go untreated, leading to even grater problems further down the line. Don’t be afraid to seek help.