Anxiety Attack

Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Remedies

Anxiety Attack Symptoms Treatment Remedies

The contents of this app are provided for educational purposes only and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition. The information provided should not be considered as a substitute for the advice of a medical doctor or other healthcare professional.

What is Anxiety Attack?

Anxiety attack, which is also known as panic attack, is characterized by a sudden surge of intense fear and anxiety.

If left untreated, anxiety attack easily develops into panic disorder.

Anxiety attacks are typically brief (lasting 10 minutes or less) although some of the symptoms associated with it may persist for some time.

In moderation, anxiety isnt always a bad thing. In fact, anxiety can help you stay alert and focused, spur you to action, and motivate you to solve problems.

But when anxiety is constant or overwhelming, when it interferes with your relationships and activities, it stops being functionalthats when youve crossed the line from normal, productive anxiety into the territory of anxiety disorders.

Persons who have had episodes of anxiety attack at one point in their life are more likely to be hit by a subsequent attack than those who have never been diagnosed with the condition before.

Individuals with the disorder are usually overly anxious because of the uncertainty that exists regarding the occurrence of the next episode.

Anxiety attacks unlike panic disorder may not be recurrent.

One of the underlying causes of anxiety attack is genetic predisposition.

Everyone is born with some innate tendencies; this explains why some persons stand a higher risk of having an anxiety attack than others.

It is also very important to note that an anxiety attack may not be accompanied by an obvious trigger factor.

The condition tends to appear suddenly and randomly and most often a response to danger.

The heightened fear fades away immediately the stressor is no more. This confirms the fact that anxiety attacks are short lived, unpredictable, and unprovoked (may not be triggered).

Anxiety Attack Symptoms

During anxiety attacks, one is gripped with overwhelming fear, terror, or apprehension.

A person may even lose control or suffer a heart attack. Because of the frightening nature of this attack, there is always that fear of an impending attack (the second attack).

Surge of overwhelming panic.

Feeling of losing control or going crazy.

Heart palpitations or chest pain.

Feeling like youre going to pass out.

One may experience difficulty breathing and in some cases a choking sensation.

Some people feel unreal and detached during an anxiety attack. This is a result of depersonalization where one feels isolated from reality and from normal emotions.

There is also that urge to break loose, to escape as fast as possible to some far off place away from danger.

Sometimes, one is struck by the fear of going crazy, an emotional upset and distress.

Some people feel that urgent need to visit the bathroom (could be to respond to short or long calls).

In some cases, some persons may report blanching (turning pale).

Trouble breathing or choking sensation.

Hot flashes or chills.

Feeling detached or unreal.

Blushing and skin blotches is also common.

Some people may find it difficult to calm themselves down after an anxiety attack.

A racing heart or heart palpitations are also a common occurrence with persons who have experienced an anxiety attack.

A choking feeling and sweating are also common.

Some people may also experience chills or hot flushes after suffering an anxiety disorder.

The other symptoms include numbness, dry mouth, trembling, sensitive fingers, shivering, and a churning stomach.

Despite its frightening symptoms, an anxiety attack rarely causes physical harm.

Anxiety Attack Causes

To some extent, anxiety and panic are considered to be an essential part of mans survival. However, heightened levels of anxiety or panic undermine mans thought process leading to overwhelming fear.

In some people, Amygdala may be activated even in the absence of imminent danger. Such people are at a higher risk of anxiety attacks compared to other people whose activation of Amygdala is a reaction sparked off by imminent danger.

It is also important to note that adrenaline (also known as epinephrine) is produced when we get the signal to react to imminent danger.

When our system is loaded with adrenaline in the absence of imminent danger, there is a build up of adrenaline which causes an anxiety attack. This is because the adrenaline produced is not used up to escape or run away due to absence of a stressor (danger).

Studies also indicate that a significant percentage of persons who have had anxiety attacks have a history of traumatic or painful childhood events (such as loss of a loved one).

Genetic predisposition has also been cited as one of the causes of this condition. Anxiety attack is believed to run in families. This implies that people with a family history of anxiety disorder are at a higher risk of the condition than those with no history.

The rate of anxiety attacks is reported more amongst persons also diagnosed with abnormalities in their brain. This is a result of a problem in one or more parts of the brain.

Agoraphobia refers to the fear that grips a person when he realizes that he cannot escape from a dangerous situation, for example, when trapped in the middle of the ocean.

Certain medications are also responsible for causing anxiety attacks as a side effect. These medications include asthma medications and some steroids.

Other anxiety attacks are linked to neurotransmitters.

Neurotransmitters are the naturally occurring chemicals in the brain. Any imbalance of these chemicals in the brain could trigger an anxiety attack.

Anxiety Attack Diagnosis

During diagnosis of anxiety attacks, a general practitioner seeks to understand the symptoms of his or her patient, the nature of the symptoms, and the various effects of the condition. This is necessary for correct diagnosis.

A patients complete medical history is also important and fundamental for diagnosis of anxiety attacks.

Laboratory tests for anxiety attacks are not available.

Your doctor is also likely to perform a physical examination to unravel any signs of a physical condition that might be the cause of your symptoms.

For instance, signs of hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid gland) could present similar symptoms. This would be necessary to rule out such medical conditions.

The doctor premises his diagnosis on the intensity of the symptoms reported, their duration, and the frequency of the attacks.

If your doctor does not find any physical illness as the cause of your signs and symptoms, he may refer you to a psychologist or a psychiatrist for advanced assessment, diagnosis and treatment.

Psychologists and psychiatrists are specially trained mental health professionals who make use of special tools to interview, assess, and evaluate an individual for anxiety attacks.

The attitude and behaviour of the patient may also be observed during diagnosis of anxiety attacks.

When diagnosing the condition, other causes of abnormal vaginal discharge need to be ruled out, such as the yeast infection thrush and trichomoniasis.

Anxiety Attack Treatment

Anxiety attacks are treatable conditions that respond well to therapy sessions and self-help strategies.

The primary objective of treating anxiety attacks is to cut down the frequency of attacks and to dampen the severity of its symptoms.

Cognitive behavioural therapy centres on the patients behaviour and thinking patterns that spark off the anxiety attacks. The therapy changes the patients perception on fear.

During exposure therapy, one is exposed to physical sensations of terror or panic in a controlled environment considered to be safe. While in this environment, you may be requested to shake your head from one side to another, to hold your breath, hyperventilate, or other exercises believed to cause similar sensations as those of an anxiety attack.

With each episode of exposure, the patient learns to cope with his or her panic and less afraid. Exposure therapy gives you control over fear, panic, or feelings of terror.

Medication treatment is also suggested by doctors to treat and manage the symptoms of anxiety attacks. It is the preferred option for severe cases of anxiety attacks.

It is however important to note that medication treatment is most effective if used alongside other forms of treatment like lifestyle changes and therapy.

Antidepressants are meant for long-term treatment and have to be taken on a continuous basis to register positive results. Usually, it will take them several weeks to produce results. Antidepressants should not only be used when the attack strikes but way before the attack.

Benzodiazepines on the other hand are anti-anxiety medications that begin to work almost immediately (typically within 30 minutes). They are taken during an attack to provide rapid relief.

Benzodiazepines unlike antidepressants are highly addictive and the patient is most likely to experience withdrawal symptoms.

Doctors also suggest the use of self-help techniques to fight anxiety attacks other than just professional treatment or therapy sessions. Such include relaxation techniques, controlled breathing and many others.

Psychological therapy remains an effective treatment for anxiety disorder with long-term benefits.

Exercising for at least 30 minutes every single day reduces the symptoms of anxiety attacks. Courtesy of these exercises, the brain releases endorphins (natural chemicals) that calm you.

Avoid caffeine or drinking alcohol for these are believed to trigger the symptoms of anxiety attack.

Doctors also suggest the importance of meditating and doing yoga as treatment options for anxiety attacks.

Meditating involves focussing of concentrating on one process in your body, for example, breathing. Yoga on the other hand is a combination of meditation and slow movements.

Anxiety Attack Prevention

There is no one sure approach used to prevent anxiety attacks; however, a number of suggestions are available.

Engaging in regular activities helps to lower the risk of anxiety attacks. Regular exercises are natural anxiety relievers and stress busters. Aerobic exercises (for say 30 minutes a day) are enough to keep anxiety attacks at bay.

Getting sufficient sleep is also recommended to prevent anxiety attacks. Failure to get enough sleep aggravates anxious thoughts as well as other unhealthy feelings.

Doctors recommend that you get at least 7 hours of quality sleep every night.

Alcohol and nicotine consumption should be avoided.

Request a different form of contraception if you are using an intrauterine device.

Try to wash your underwear with a gentle detergent rather than something stronger as remnants may remain following a wash which can then influence the vagina whilst you wear them.

Healthy eating habits are also recommended by doctors to reduce the risk of anxiety attacks. Start off your day with breakfast and follow it up with small meals in between throughout the day.

Skipping meals may result to low blood sugar, a recipe for anxious thoughts.

A number of relaxation techniques have also been suggested to keep off anxiety attacks.

Mindfulness meditation, controlled breathing, and progressive muscle relaxation can all lead to emotional well-being and relaxation.

Anxiety Attacks Types

Generalized anxiety disorder.If constant worries and fears distract you from your day-to-day activities or youre troubled by a persistent feeling that something bad is going to happen, you may be suffering from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).

People with GAD are chronic worrywarts who feel anxious nearly all of the time, though they may not even know why.

Anxiety related to GAD often shows up as physical symptoms like insomnia, stomach upset, restlessness, and fatigue.

Anxiety attacks (Panic disorder).Panic disorder is characterized by repeated, unexpected panic attacks, as well as fear of experiencing another episode.

Panic disorder may also be accompanied by agoraphobia, which is a fear of being in places where escape or help would be difficult in the event of a panic attack.

If you have agoraphobia, you are likely to avoid public places such as shopping malls or confined spaces such as an airplane.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder.Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by unwanted thoughts or behaviors that seem impossible to stop or control.

If you have OCD, you may be troubled by obsessions, such as a recurring worry that you forgot to turn off the oven or that you might hurt someone.

You may also suffer from uncontrollable compulsions, such as washing your hands over and over.

Phobia. A phobia is an unrealistic or exaggerated fear of a specific object, activity, or situation that in reality presents little to no danger.

Common phobias include fear of animals such as snakes and spiders, fear of flying, and fear of heights.

In the case of a severe phobia, you might go to extreme lengths to avoid the thing you fear. Unfortunately, avoidance only strengthens the phobia.

Social anxiety disorder.If you have a debilitating fear of being seen negatively by others and humiliated in public, you may have social anxiety disorder, also known as social phobia.

Social anxiety disorder can be thought of as extreme shyness. In severe cases, social situations are avoided altogether.

Performance anxiety (better known as stage fright) is the most common type of social phobia.

Post-traumatic stress disorder.Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an extreme anxiety disorder that can occur in the aftermath of a traumatic or life-threatening event.

PTSD can be thought of as a panic attack that rarely, if ever, lets up. Symptoms of PTSD include flashbacks or nightmares about what happened, hypervigilance, startling easily, withdrawing from others, and avoiding situations that remind you of the event.

Anxiety Attack Statistics/Facts

Anxiety attacks are characterized by sudden episodes of intense fear and gripping terror which are accompanied by smothering sensations, heart palpitations, and dizziness.

Typically, an anxiety attack will last for just 10 minutes.

Anxiety attacks can still occur when you are asleep. These nocturnal anxiety attacks have similar symptoms as those experienced with daytime attacks. The attack in most cases will jolt you out of your sleep.

Nocturnal anxiety attacks are characterized by gasping for air, shortness of reath, shaking, and chest pains as well.

The prevalence rate of anxiety attack is 0.88 percent in the United States. This translates to about 2.4 million Americans.

The incidence rate (annual) of anxiety attacks is estimated to be 1.70 percent (4.6 million Americans).

At least 4,624,000 cases of anxiety attack are reported in the U.S alone every year. This implies 385,333 cases in a month, 88,923 in a week, 12,668 in a day, 527 cases in one hour, and at least 8 cases in one minute.

According to NIMH, the lifetime risk for anxiety attack is at 3 million Americans (1.6 percent of the adult population).

The condition is reported more in women than men (one man for every 2 women).

Regular exercises and a healthy diet (proper nutrition) help prevent anxiety attacks.

About 2 to 4 persons in every 100 persons will most likely face an anxiety attack at some point in their life.

Research shows that there is a hereditary component (genetic factor) which predisposes one to anxiety attack.

Anxiety attack often attacks persons aged between 20 and 40 years. It is common in young adults.

Up to 20 percent of those diagnosed with anxiety attack attempt suicide.

Panic attacks are very real, very awful, and emotionally debilitating.

Many people who experience their first panic attack find themselves at hospital emergency rooms......or at doctors offices, prepared to hear the very worst news possible about their health.

When they dont hear that theyve had a life-threatening condition (such as a heart attack), this news may actually increase their anxiety and frustration.If a person with panic goes undiagnosed, they can bounce around from doctor to doctor for years on end without experiencing any relief. Instead, it becomes more and more frustrating to the panic sufferer as no one is able to pinpoint the problem and provide any kind of help.

Because the symptoms of panic are very real, the anxiety is so traumatizing, and the whole experience is new and strange, a panic attack is one of the worst experiences a person can have.

Anxiety Attack Symptoms Treatment Remedies plus

The contents of this app are provided for educational purposes only and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition. The information provided should not be considered as a substitute for the advice of a medical doctor or other healthcare professional.

What is Anxiety Attack?

Anxiety is the body’s natural reaction to danger, a reflex response to a stressor and an automatic alarm that is triggered off when one feels threatened, stressed, or put under pressure.

An anxiety attack is an explosive and acute episode of overwhelming fear, terror, and feelings of panic (impending doom).

Anxiety attacks often strike without any warning, suddenly and out of the blue. In a majority of such cases, the condition occurs alongside other conditions including alcoholism, depression, or drug abuse.

Anxiety attacks are therefore evolutionary reactions or responses to a stressor-for example, you are on the rooftop, you look down to the ground and intense fear grips you.

It is however important to note that anxiety attacks are conditions that can be treated using medications and psychotherapy.

Anxiety Attack Symptoms

The most prominent symptom of this condition is the surge of intense panic. There is normally that fear of going crazy or dying.

One may also experience shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, and chest pains.

In most cases, the person under attack entertains feelings and thoughts of an imminent doom, the belief that something terrible is yet to happen.

There is also that urge to break loose, to escape as fast as possible to some far off place away from danger.

Stomach cramps, an upset stomach, and nausea are all but symptoms of a person hit by an anxiety attack.

The other symptoms include numbness, dry mouth, trembling, sensitive fingers, shivering, and a churning stomach.

Anxiety Attack Causes

Research has revealed that anxiety attacks typically occur as a result of stressful periods or life-changing events.

When the human brains register monolithic proportions (massive) of nervous signals intended to alert us of possible danger, a part of the brain known as Amygdala which regulates the brain’s anxious response is activated.

The increased heartbeat, irregular breathing, sweating, and churning in the stomach are all as a result of the release of the adrenaline (also referred to as the fright or flight hormone) into the system.

Anxiety attacks may also be triggered off by a number of conditions including mitral valve prolapse, hypoglycaemia, hyperthyroidism, heart attacks, social phobia, and agoraphobia.

Some medical conditions such as heart diseases and asthma may cause an anxiety attack as a side effect or symptom.

Anxiety Attack Treatment

Cognitive behavioural therapy is one of the most prominent and effective treatment approaches for anxiety attacks.

Doctors may also recommend exposure therapy as a treatment option for anxiety attacks. It focuses on equipping the patient with healthier ways of managing panic or intense fear. During exposure therapy.

For persons with agoraphobia, exposure therapy includes the situations they fear in treatment. After this treatment, you learn to control your emotions and accept that your situations are not as harmful as you used to believe.

The most common medications used to treat anxiety attacks are antidepressants and benzodiazepines.

Doctors also suggest the use of self-help techniques to fight anxiety attacks other than just professional treatment or therapy sessions. Such include relaxation techniques, controlled breathing and many others.

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