People often experience feelings of anxiety when they feel they are in danger. It’s a natural reaction to the sense that you may be in trouble or about to face a stressful situation. They differ from panic attacks, which can be a side effect of a diagnosed anxiety disorder.
For most people, anxiety is short-lived and usually goes away once the stressful situation has passed. But for some people, anxiety can be more long-lasting. It might not go away on its own and can get worse over time. If your anxiety is severe and is affecting your day-to-day life, it’s important to get help.
Anxiety can manifest itself in different ways. It can cause physical symptoms such as a racing heart, sweating, and feeling of being on edge. It can also cause mental symptoms such as worry, intrusive thoughts, and difficulty concentrating. Everyone experiences anxiety differently, so it’s important to be aware of your own symptoms.
What is an Anxiety Attack?
Let’s go over the different signs of an anxiety attack, and what you can do when you find yourselves in the grips of one. First, however, let’s define exactly what an anxiety attack is.
An anxiety attack is often brought on by a specific issue. You may be worried about being prepared for an upcoming exam or concerned about various workplace problems. There may also be some things going on in your personal life that could trigger an anxiety attack. Anxiety attacks do not cause the same level of feelings as panic attacks and are not something that can be diagnosed.
An anxiety attack is not the same thing as a panic attack, though people may use the terms interchangeably. A panic attack is not tied to a specific trigger. They come on even when a person feels calm in a particular moment. The intensity of the emotions may come on all at once, while anxiety attacks typically build up gradually for people who are already in a tense mood.
Signs of an Anxiety Attack
One of the first signs of an anxiety attack is a feeling of fear or approaching doom. A person may feel that their heart is racing or pounding in their chest. As time passes, an individual may experience feelings of lightheadedness, problems breathing, chest pains, and irrational thinking.
An anxiety attack may start small and gradually build up to stronger sensations. However, you typically sense the signs of an anxiety attack, whereas a panic attack can hit you out of the blue. Most panic attacks peak at around ten minutes, while an anxiety attack can last for a more extended period.
Anxiety attacks can vary in intensity, and some people only experience very mild symptoms. However, for others, anxiety attacks can be much more severe and debilitating. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, it is important to seek medical help:
- A feeling of overwhelming fear or dread
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Chest pain, chest tightness, or a racing heartbeat
- Numbness or tingling in the hands and limbs
- Irrational thoughts or fears about your safety
- A sense of detachment from reality
If you are experiencing anxiety attacks, it is important to seek medical help. There are treatments available that can help you manage your symptoms and live a normal life.
Handling an Anxiety Attack
One of the best ways of handling an anxiety attack is by changing your thought process. If you’re worried about a specific situation, force yourself to challenge if it is as dire as it seems. Don’t let negativity take you straight to the worst-case scenario. Instead, take back control by focusing on a positive outcome.
If you find yourself experiencing the signs of an anxiety attack, try using controlled breathing to control your reactions. Do slow breaths in counts of four in and four out for a few minutes until you find yourself calming down.
Exercise is an excellent way of helping you push through anxious thoughts. Try yoga or go for a 20-minute walk to help get some perspective. It may also be helpful to write out your reasons for worrying and get the negativity out of your head.
Anxiety Treatment at Promises Five Palms
Promises Five Palms provides a safe, relaxed atmosphere for those seeking help for their issues, including:
Our treatment programs center on the use of therapy to help our patients cope with both addiction and its emotive triggers. Behavioral therapy, conducted in either groups or between a therapist and the patient, helps change a person’s thoughts and habits. Therapists help patients discover the social and emotional roots of their anxiety and co-occurring addictions and work towards solving both issues via dual diagnosis treatment. By treating co-occurring disorders, such as benzo addiction and anxiety, as a connected issue, both disorders are able to be treated.
Therapies at Promises Five Palms include:
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy: a common form of behavioral therapy used to treat addiction and anxiety disorders. It combines learning theory with behavioral modification techniques to help people identify their destructive thoughts, beliefs and behaviors. The therapist helps patients recognize negative thought patterns that lead them to use drugs or alcohol as medication.
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy: Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy that emphasizes the importance of accepting reality in order to change it. DBT helps patients learn to cope with their emotions without numbing them with drugs or alcohol.
- Trauma Therapy: Many people who suffer from addiction have also experienced some sort of trauma in their lives. Trauma therapy is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy that focuses on helping patients heal the emotional wounds that may be driving their addiction.
- Individual Therapy: Individual therapy is a form of psychotherapy that allows patients to work one-on-one with their therapist. Individual therapy helps people explore and change the thoughts, beliefs and behaviors that lead them to use drugs or alcohol.
- Group Therapy: Allows people who share similar struggles to support one another and learn from each other. Group therapy helps people build healthy relationships, communicate effectively and manage their emotions in a supportive environment.