What is an Anxiety Attack

What is an Anxiety Attack

Do you get way too worried and panicked about a situation, that to others, doesn't seem threatening at all? Has this made life different for you in many ways? Do you think you could be suffering from an anxiety attack? This article will help you understand more about the situation in a much clearer and deeper way.
PsycholoGenie Staff
Anxiety isn't always bad! I believe that it is the anxiety and curiosity in one's life that makes one do things that wouldn't have been possible otherwise, don't you think so? However, there is a difference between being anxious in life and living a life while suffering from an anxiety attack. An Anxiety attack is a sudden episode of emotional anxiety wherein a person feels extremely panicked and anxious. This usually happens with people suffering from anxiety disorder. A normal person would get anxious if he or she feels certain kind of threat. Anxiety is nothing but our body's reaction in response to the threat perceived by the mind. But, if a person is suffering from an anxiety or panic disorder, he or she would suffer from these attacks all the time. The mind would send false alarms, leading to an unreasonable panicky and anxious behavior. Statistics reveal that almost 40 million adults in the United States of America suffer from anxiety disorder. And to add to it, almost $42 billion are spent each year for its treatment. Also known as panic attack, the person suffering from this episode would feel extremely terrified, fearful, and stressed out because he or she is sensing some threat coming. This mental state can also cause various physical reactions and symptoms which can actually become quite a bit to deal with on a regular basis. In fact, there are people who actually feel that they are getting a heart attack, or they are at the verge of dying.

What Happens During an Anxiety Attack

Almost each of us have had an anxiety attack at some point of life. However, if it is something that is disturbing your daily lifestyle and the people around you, then you sure are suffering from an anxiety attack. So, how does one feel during an anxiety attack? Well, people who have been through this, say that it is a moment that never leaves you. You feel terrified because of the fact that something is going to harm you, it feels as if you are going to lose control over things, or over others, you feel helpless, and your heart beats so fast that it seems it will come out of your chest. Due to such emotional condition, certain physical conditions like shortness of breath, nausea, trembling, sweating, hot and/or cold flashes, and even chest pain may occur. Which is why for most people, this can be more or less like the feeling of death. The duration of anxiety attacks vary from person to person. While at times, you may experience an anxiety attack for a few minutes, it can also be for as long as 30 minutes! Mentioned below are some of the most commonly observed symptoms that people observe during an episode.
  • Restlessness
  • Muscle aches
  • Being very skeptical
  • Inability to concentrate or focus
  • Diarrhea
  • Have troubles relaxing
  • Excessive irritation
  • Tingling sensation
  • Dryness in the mouth
  • The urge of, 'I wanna get out of here'
What to do During an Anxiety Attack

Although while going through an anxiety attack, you would feel as if you are having a heart attack... or if you are literally dying, you have to remind yourself that 'YOU ARE NOT DYING!' There are various approaches and techniques that can help you in doing this when you are suffering from an anxiety attack. These are mentioned as follows.

Remind Yourself that You Are FINE
To be really honest, when you are going through an anxiety attack, no one else can understand what you are going through and what are you feeling except for you. Another point to be noted is that during an anxiety attack, all you would want to do is isolate yourself in a place where you feel safe and alone. You are your only counselor at that point, which is why you need to remind yourself that what you are feeling right now is temporary and that you are going to be OK! So try to ignore on what is happening and talk to yourself in a positive way.

Focus on What is REAL
By focusing on what is real, I mean to say that you must try to concentrate on the things around you which appear to be fine, which would be everything else except you. Say for example, if you get an anxiety attack in your house. You know that your heart rate has grown faster, you feel terrified, you are getting panicky, but then instead of focusing on your heartbeat or your sweating, or your fear, focus on real things around you. For instance, look at the people around you, they seem to be fine, your pet dog is still looking at you and wagging his tail,. Focusing on other things will help your mind shift from the attack which will give your body and mind a chance to relax.

Use Breathing Techniques to CALM Yourself
Deep breathing usually helps in calming down your panicked mind and getting your heartbeat back at a normal pace. However, you must avoid chest breathing as it can make the matter worse by increasing the numbness and dizziness in the body. Instead, try to breathe deeply using your stomach and you will feel much better.

Visit a Doctor and Get HELP
As I mentioned in the beginning of the article, getting a panic attack once in a blue moon is completely normal, but if you find that you are the only one getting affected while others can't figure out why you react the way you do, probably your doctor would. So, if you really want to save yourself from these horrible anxiety attacks that are forbidding you to live a normal life, get help from someone who can 'really' help you.

Now that you are aware of this condition, you would also be happy to know that you can easily get rid of anxiety attacks through treatment. There are various techniques like psychotherapy, breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, and drugs that can help you overcome these attacks. However, it is sad to know that most of the people never seek medical help, making the matter more worse. Just remember, you are not mad or mental, your mind is giving you false alarms and you need to just learn to calm it down, which is absolutely possible.