Anxiety attacks are a painful, stress-inducing and extremely intense experience that is often a symptom of some major underlying condition or mental health problem. Experiencing anxiety attacks can be very unpleasant, and the patient often needs help. Panic attacks or anxiety attacks are characterized by an intense feeling of fear or nervousness. Some of the physical symptoms of anxiety attacks include an increase in heart rate, light-headedness, palpitations, and difficulty in breathing and nausea among others.
A panic attack is often regarded as a severe form of anxiety attack. Quite often, when an anxiety attack is triggered due to seemingly stressful situations, the condition quickly escalates to a full blown panic attack. Anxiety attacks are random and unpredictable. Acting cautiously during such attacks involves understanding when one is having an anxiety attack. It takes about 10 minutes for the symptoms to reach their full potential. Some of the major signs of anxiety attacks are- shortness of breath, sudden sweating, nausea, trembling of body, a tightness or pain in the chest, chocking or palpitation, numbness in the body, extreme fear of death or harm, a feeling of looming danger, unnatural hot or cold sensations and detachment from the self. Some of the emotional signs of a panic attack involve excessive apprehension, restlessness, feeling a loss of control, feeling the loss of personality.
Causes of Anxiety Attacks
Anxiety attacks are a common symptom in a lot of mental health problems such as bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, and clinical depressive conditions. Added to this severe trauma can inflict damage which might induce anxiety attacks in a person when faced with similar scenarios. Other reasons might include extremely stressful and demanding jobs, near-death experiences and accidents, phobias such as agoraphobia, claustrophobia, and vertigo, chronic sicknesses and withdrawal from substances such as drugs, cigarettes, and alcohol.
Some home treatment methods for anxiety attacks
While it is absolutely necessary to consult a doctor or a psychiatrist after experiencing a panic attack, there are certain simple steps one can take at home to get treatment during the attack. Making a steady plan for dealing with anxiety attacks can help one stay in control during such episodes. Some of these simple home remedies are mentioned below.
- Taking deep, slow breaths – This is one of the most popular techniques that people often use when having an anxiety attack. Taking slow and deep breaths instantly bring relaxation. By taking deeper breaths, one increases the oxygen supply to the brain which calms the nerves and brings a bit of clarity. It is also recommended to count the number of breaths one is taking. A common practice is to count down from ten and take deep breaths which each count.
- Identifying and accepting the episode – People who have already experienced anxiety attacks are aware of the various symptoms that occur during such attacks. They also know that the attack is only temporary and they are going to be fine. When experiencing another attack, they can remind themselves of these facts and can try to calm themselves by remembering that it will pass.
- Cultivating mindfulness practices- Mindfulness if a psychosocial intervention technique that is quite popular in treating anxiety, depression and other mental health problems. Mindfulness involves the person silently observing the thoughts and emotions without delving into them or reacting to them.
- Practicing relaxation techniques- There is a wide range of relaxation techniques that can be used when experiencing anxiety attacks. Some of the common practices include aromatherapy, guided meditation, guided imagery, muscle relaxation, using soothing oils such as lavender and bathing.
Making Lifestyle changes for Managing Anxiety Attacks
Patients suffering from anxiety attacks can make certain changes in their lifestyle that can help them adjust better and reduce the frequency of such attacks. Making the right changes will also reduce the severity of these attacks when they do happen. One of the first things that one should do is to reduce the sources of triggers and extreme stress in their lives. This can be in the form of changing the surroundings, moving to a new city, shifting to a better working environment or a new field altogether and managing stress between family members. Secondly, one should be alert about the negative thoughts that come flooding in when one is under the attack. By actively identifying and blocking out the negative thoughts one can make progress in developing tolerance towards such episodes.
One of the most important things that is often overlooked while combating anxiety attacks is exercise. Having a healthy diet and getting regular exercise is very important in keeping anxiety away. Added to this one can start practicing meditation or yoga which brings the mind to a calm state. When one is aware of their own anxiety problems, then they should make a conscious effort in controlling and moderating their consumption of alcohol, caffeine, drugs or cigarettes. Lastly, one can join a support group. Group therapy sessions, like other forms of psychosocial interventions, have been successful in treating a wide range of anxiety-related disorders.
If the problem still persists even after making the lifestyle changes, then it strongly advised going to the doctor as anxiety attacks, as mentioned above are often signs more serious problems. The doctor or psychiatrist will conduct an evaluation and diagnose the underlying condition that’s causing such attacks. Depending upon the problem and its severity, doctors might prescribe certain common medications such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety pills, and benzodiazepines. Added to this the doctor might prescribe additional changes in lifestyle and habits that must be followed by the patient.
While anxiety attacks cause more mental suffering when compared to attacks, they can be an extremely difficult and hurtful thing to go through on a routine basis. One should not hesitate to seek help when faced with such episodes on a daily basis. The first point of help can be someone the patient can trust such as a family member or close friend. Since regular anxiety attacks can be disorienting, it might be difficult for the patient to seek professional help. The support of a close friend or family proves very useful during this time.