Archive | June, 2016

Anxiety Attacks: Definition, Symptoms and Treatment

Anxiety Attacks Treatment

 

Anxiety attacks are intense, sudden feelings of worry or fear that can result in a total loss of control for that fear. It has no clear cause and it usually occurs without any warning. It’s so sudden that it can even wake an individual from his sleep.

Apart from the intense, sudden feeling of fear, the attacks are also accompanied by the following symptoms: light-headedness, increased heartbeat, difficulty in breathing, chest pain, and irrational thinking. The duration of an anxiety attack can last from a few minutes to an hour or more.

Although the feeling of fear experienced during the attack seems terrifying, it’s not deadly. Specific approaches to managing the frequency of the attacks often begin with a thorough medical evaluation for other potential underlying cause then followed by recommended treatment plans.

Fast Facts about Anxiety Attacks

 

Below are some of the key points to remember:

  • It usually occurs when a person’s body experiences sudden and out of proportion adrenaline surges to anything that is perceived as threat or danger.
  • Often times, the cause of the attacks is unexplainable.
  • While the occurrence of the attacks isn’t fully understood, research suggests that environmental, psychological, biological and genetic factors could make a person more prone to anxiety.
  • It can be an indication of having a specific disorder such as generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder.
  • Individuals who had a single anxiety attack have higher chances to experience subsequent ones.
  • There’s no specific pattern on how frequent anxiety attacks can happen. Some individuals could have them on a daily basis while others may only experience few attacks per year.
  • Typically, an attack lasts for about 15 to 30 minutes but residual effects may persist for a much longer time.
  • Panic disorder is considered when the attacks are occurring repeatedly together with the preoccupation of experiencing more attacks.
  • The attacks are present in any anxiety disorder especially when they are triggered by recollections or occurrence of feared situations or circumstances.

 

Anxiety Attack Symptoms

 

Certain situations or events such as public speaking or performing may trigger an anxiety attack which is normal but most attacks suddenly occur without any apparent reason.

One main symptom of an anxiety attack is the intense feeling of irrational fear. Whether it is triggered or not, the feeling can be described like an incredible scare for an impending doom. Furthermore, here are some of the symptoms associated with an anxiety attack:

  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Heat or chilling sensation
  • Shaking
  • Racing or pounding heartbeat
  • Choking sensation
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Chest discomfort
  • Feeling of Passing out
  • Nausea
  • Feeling of detachment or avoiding reality
  • Crazy feeling about feared situations
  • Fear of dying especially when feeling weird symptoms

 

Anxiety Attack Causes

 

There’s no obvious cause of anxiety attacks but it is believed that the attack happens after the body has experienced sudden adrenaline surge from perceived dangers or threats.

The adrenaline hormone is usually involved in the body’s fight or flight response. Its sudden release prepares a person’s body to confront or escape the danger.

Normally, adrenaline levels immediately revert back to normal after the fear subsides but this doesn’t happen during the attacks. There are cases when the anxiety and its symptoms could last for hours which give the person a difficult time to fully recover.

 

Complications

 

Symptoms of an anxiety attack should be evaluated by a medical professional to determine other potential underlying causes. Usually, these symptoms are similar to other disorders and a health condition that’s why an evaluation from a health care professional is essential.

Some conditions that mimic the symptoms of anxiety attacks include:

  1. Respiratory problems
  2. Heart problems
  3. Irregularities in the hormones
  4. Abuse of drugs, caffeine, and other stimulants

 

Treatment

 

Occasional bouts of anxiety symptoms don’t require immediate medical evaluation or intervention. Instead, individuals should just recognize what triggers those anxiety levels and they should learn how to manage or overcome them.

For recurring and severe attacks, one standard treatment or approach is combining cognitive-behavioral therapy with mindfulness and medications like beta blockers, antidepressants, and antipsychotic pills.

Another significant factor in treating anxiety disorders is a lifestyle change. According to one study, doing simple exercises, meditation, yoga and tai chi together with having a healthy diet and good sleeping habits has helped in alleviating the anxiety symptoms. The study concluded that these are more effective instead of taking a placebo and other mainstream medications.

 

Aftercare

Anxiety attacks can be spontaneous and may recur in certain episodes but they definitely go away over a period of time. They are not life-threatening and can be successfully managed no matter how severe they are. Just always remember to see a doctor regularly to monitor other possible causes of the attacks. More than that, it pays to learn various ways of managing the anxiety symptoms and preventing possible attacks in the future.

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