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How to Stop Anxiety Attacks and their Symptoms

How to Stop Anxiety Attacks and their Symptoms. All of a sudden, something feels terribly off. You worry that you might be losing control. You encounter physical symptoms that mirror significant medical illnesses, and you occasionally experience a sense of imminent death or catastrophe.

The feeling intensifies over time. It becomes impossible to manage. You have a sudden, acute feeling of utter horror, as if this is your final moment on earth, and then it magically disappears.

Your symptoms might have been comparable to a heart attack in severity. It's more likely, though, that what you went through was an anxiety attack. Acute bursts of absolute agony known as anxiety attacks cause palpable bodily symptoms as well as devastatingly high levels of anxiety.

image credit: simplypsychology.org

An Introduction to Anxiety Attacks and Panic Attacks

People may define anxiety attacks slightly differently because they are not a clinical notion. But panic attacks and anxiety attacks are frequently used in the same sentence (or as a way of referring to lighter versions of panic attacks that are a bit less debilitating but still very troublesome).

A panic attack is a short-lived, usually around ten-minute period of intense anxiety. During an anxiety attack, you usually experience a combination of physical and emotional symptoms, which can leave you feeling incredibly terrified and weary afterward. These include:

During an anxiety episode, there are frequently other odd symptoms that all contribute to the fear. Typically, the intensity of an anxiety attack peaks around minute 10 and then progressively decreases over the course of many hours, leaving the victim irritated, worn out, and periodically wondering what went wrong.

Rarely are these panic attacks accompanied by merely fear or anxiety. They involve hard physical and mental work. It's possible that people who have never had a panic attack are sometimes unaware that they are having one. When someone experiences their first anxiety attack, they may feel so terrified that they need to call the hospital.

What Triggers an Anxiety Attack?

Anxiety attacks are unique in that they can happen during times of great stress or anxiety as well as seemingly for no reason at all. When a person is experiencing a great deal of stress in their life, the first anxiety episode frequently happens (although not always). But almost anything could trigger panic attacks in the future:

Another reason for this is that not everyone who experiences anxiety attacks is aware of or believes they are having an anxiety attack because they might seem and feel so unreasonable. People who have panic attacks too regularly may even start to develop other anxiety disorders, such as health anxiety, due to how difficult it is to feel as though one's anxiety episodes are genuinely happening.

Nevertheless, not everyone who has one anxiety attack will also have another. Some people only experience anxiety attacks at periods of high stress, exhaustion, or when they are in a dangerous situation. For instance, you might experience a panic attack if you almost got into a car accident, but only if your anxiety was at an all-time high at the time.

Many people who experience panic attacks, though, do so again. Depending on the individual.

What Do Anxiety Attacks Feel Like?

People frequently mistake anxiety attacks for serious illnesses because they are so physically intense, and in some circumstances, they can even make people feel uneasy about their health. A lot of people compare having an anxiety attack to having one of the following conditions:

If an anxiety attack just happens once, the person could be able to manage it and their concerns about a health problem might disappear. Others may experience anxiety attacks that are so severe that become extremely concerned about their health and require hospitalization or frequent doctor visits.

There is no harm in seeking medical advice from a doctor to receive a medical opinion on the causes of your experiences and to gain some piece of mind, keeping in mind that only a doctor can rule out more serious issues. But keep in mind that if you have anxiety attacks, it may be difficult for a doctor to convince you that you are healthy. The only method to stop anxiety episodes is to regularly take medication for them.

Alternative: Anxiety Attack Definition

As we've already mentioned, a "anxiety attack" is a very intense episode of anxiety rather than a real medical ailment. Most individuals, including some medical professionals, refer to panic attacks as "anxiety attacks" for simplicity's sake. The majority of people quickly conjure up images of Godzilla when you mention the word "panic." Usually, when you refer to it as "anxiety attacks," people can understand it better.

Since it is not a medical term, not everyone uses the phrase "anxiety attack" in the same manner. In order to express their experience, some people use the term "anxiety attacks" to characterize the severe symptoms of various anxiety disorders. For example, individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder may have "anxiety attacks" when they come across a trigger that causes them to get completely absorbed in their compulsions. Although they are really just talking about being extremely anxious, students may refer to their extreme anxiety when a test is approaching as a "anxiety attack" at school.

Keep this in mind if someone mentions having an anxiety attack because the phrase could lead to some misunderstandings. But for the sake of this article, we'll concentrate on panic attacks because they are a very real, very common anxiety disorder that most people mean when they say they encounter these attacks.

Why Do Anxiety Attacks Cause These Physical Symptoms?

One of the key reasons why anxiety attacks are such a terrible experience is because they frequently include physical symptoms that match those of more serious illnesses. This causes a lot of people to have extremely high levels of health anxiety because they don't believe that anxiety could possibly cause such a physical reaction.

The most prevalent physical reaction that anxiety may cause is hyperventilation, which might account for the bulk of the symptoms of anxiety.

What is hyperventilation?

Your body requires oxygen to survive, and when it runs out in the bloodstream, it turns it into carbon dioxide. However, your body also needs a healthy amount of carbon dioxide in your circulatory system to function properly. When you breathe too quickly or incorrectly and exhale too much carbon dioxide while inhaling too much oxygen, you are said to be hyperventilating.

It's fascinating to observe that during this time, you may feel as though you aren't breathing enough, and your natural tendency may be to take deeper breaths. You are really making your hyperventilation worse by trying to breathe in more oxygen in response to that sensation. Because of this, when people try to take deeper breaths, they typically find that their symptoms worsen, which increases their worry.

When there is not enough carbon dioxide in your blood, you experience the symptoms of an anxiety attack, which include:

This is why the symptoms frequently feel so physical and the condition frequently feels like a "attack": notice how each of these sensations is the same as when you have acute anxiety. In order to give the impression that something is seriously wrong, they reinforce one another.

The most likely reason for hyperventilation is overbreathing, a common response to anxiety. It's not the only explanation, though. Furthermore, you might breathe too much as a result of:

Therefore, although breathing quickly during times of stress or anxiety is the most common cause of hyperventilation, it is not the only one.

Hyperventilation brought on by anxiety is not dangerous. Simply waiting for the anxiety episode to end will allow your body to feel balanced once more. However, when anxiety symptoms manifest, they might appear frightening, which is why so many people experience a spike in fear and panic.

Other Causes of Anxiety Attack Symptoms

Hyperventilation is another element that affects an anxiety episode's symptoms. Stress and worry can cause highly unusual physical sensations in your body, which typically differ from person to person. Anxiety and tension may make some people feel as though they are unable to lift their heads or that something is amiss with their brain.

Additionally, anxiety frequently causes the brain to become too aware of apparently typical occurrences. Your mind has become overly attuned to your body as a result of oversensitization, and it now pays attention to really minute sensations that someone who isn't worried would often ignore.

Last but not least, the signs and symptoms of an anxiety attack themselves may act as a trigger. Its cause is unknown, however it is likely psychosomatic in some form (caused by your mind).

How to Control an Anxiety Attack

It might be difficult to stop an anxiety attack once it has started, but there are ways to minimize its severity. If you believe you are having or are about to have an anxiety attack, try the following:

Anxiety attacks are very difficult to stop once they start, but by heeding the above guidance, you can minimize their severity. The less intense your panic episodes need to be, and the less terrifying and difficult they will be to control.

Anxiety Attack Prevention

Once your anxiety attacks are more under control, you'll need to take action to stop them. Even if an anxiety attack may only occur once, it is nevertheless a symptom of a more severe anxiety condition, and many patients find that their episodes begin to recur regularly.

Prevention is about three things:

The doctor is usually a great place to start. Make sure you've had a complete physical if you want to feel more at ease about your health. However, try to stay away from panic attack medications as the majority have undesirable side effects including excessive tiredness and others that make them inappropriate for daily use.

Start exercising as well. Exercise is one of the finest ways to minimize daily concern because it is a proven stress reducer. Furthermore, it's a good way to retrain your breathing. Running forces your body to breathe as efficiently as possible, which might assist your body in relearning how to breathe properly.