Anxiety Attack Symptoms & Treatment in Riva, MD
Almost everyone will experience an anxiety or panic attack at some point in their lives. When you feel fear or apprehension, your body activates its fight-or-flight stress response. Whether the threat is real or imagined, the body will secrete stress hormones, a survival mechanism which brings about psychological and physiological changes designed to "supercharge" you to face the impending threat. The greater the perceived threat, the greater the stress response.
If you have anxiety attacks regularly, you may come to fear the anxiety attack more than you fear the perceived threat. This may stem from the feeling that the physiological response to your anxiety attack is beyond your control.
Understanding the stress response and the changes it may cause in your body—along with learning how you can control anxiety attacks—can go a long way toward circumventing a full-blown anxiety or panic attack. To schedule a consultation with a healthcare provider in Riva that can help you take control of your anxiety symptoms with innovative and therapeutic treatment, call (410) 266-3613 or contact Dr. Alan Stuart Weiss online.
Anxiety Attack Symptoms
Physical anxiety attack symptoms can appear suddenly, and include:
- Breathing irregularities (quickened breathing, inability to breathe, shortness of breath, etc.). This may be accompanied with a choking sensation or tightening of your throat
- Chest pain or pressure
- Pounding heart, heart palpitations or quickened heart beat
- Chills and/or hot flashes
- Nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, knot or butterflies in stomach
- Dizziness or unsteadiness
- Tingling or numbness in extremities
- Sudden urge to empty bladder or bowels
- Weakness in the knees
- Sensation of pins and needles or burning skin
Psychological symptoms of an anxiety attack, on the other hand, may including the following sensations or emotions:
- Intense feeling of generalized terror or panic
- Feeling you are in grave danger or about to die
- Extreme negative affect and emotional distress
- An urgent desire to flee
- Feeling of being dissociated or detached from reality (sometimes described as a dream-like state)
- Inability to calm yourself down
- Crying or feeling like crying
- Feeling like you are losing control of yourself or “going crazy”
Anxiety Attack Treatment
There are long-term treatment options—including medications, therapy and behavior modification techniques—available if you have been diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder or social anxiety disorder. When you are experiencing an anxiety attack, however, your concern is more focused on how to quickly stop the sudden onset of anxiety symptoms.
If you feel the impending signs of an anxiety attack, there are several steps you can take to circumvent the attack or minimize its severity. Many of the methods involve self-talk or relaxation techniques that derail your body's stress response. These anxiety attack treatment options include:
- Take charge of your thinking and engage in calming self-talk: “This is just my body going into a stress response. I know how to reverse this. It is time-limited, I will survive, and the quicker I calm down, the quicker this will end. I just have to let the stress hormones dissipate, and I will be fine.” Keep a cheat sheet with phrases that you find helpful and repeat them to yourself when you feel a panic or anxiety attack coming on.
- Use deep breathing: Slow breathing from deep in your diaphragm naturally triggers a tranquilizing effect on your body and counters the stress response.
- Focus on progressive muscle relaxation: Focus on tightening then releasing your muscles. Start with your hands or arms. Move throughout your body.
- Learn what your most powerful distractors are and distract yourself: For some people, hopping in the shower can divert a panic attack. Maybe for you, it’s playing with your dog, or turning on your favorite song. Some people require a sensory distraction, like a cup of warm, chamomile tea or bone broth which is full of gelatin and glycine which are known to act on the same neural pathways as anti-anxiety drugs.
It is important to understand that your body's stress response is its attempt to save your life from a perceived threat. The stress hormones will eventually dissipate, and your job is to ride out the storm. The panic comes in waves. Breathe deeply, engage in self-talk, refuse to allow your thinking to lead you deeper into your anxiety, continue your progressive muscle relaxation, and ride out each wave of the attack until it ends.
Anxiety Attack Prevention
Prevention, as they say, is the best cure, and only you can prevent your anxiety attacks. The following steps will lower your chances of suffering from an anxiety attack:
- Reduce (or eliminate) caffeine from your diet
- Inventory your medicine cabinet and ask your healthcare provider about any medications which may increase your anxiety
- Exercise daily
- Avoid a high-sugar diet and processed and refined foods
- Incorporate foods high in B vitamins, magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids into your diet
- Consider certain dietary supplements (only under the guidance of a healthcare provider) which are known to support a balanced mood, including Ashwagandha, 5-HTP, L-Theanine, GABA, B complex and magnesium
- Minimize physical and mental stress in your life because unmitigated, elevated stress is the number one cause of the types of anxiety attacks that are primarily physiological, involuntary and unrelated to your surroundings or circumstances
- Closely follow any prescribed treatment plan and regularly attend therapy if you have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder
It's time to take control of your anxiety, and to learn how to stop an anxiety attack in its tracks. Your healthcare provider can help you develop a treatment plan to lower your stress, anxiety and any other health concerns which may be contributing to your anxiety attacks. Request a consultation today. Call (410) 266-3613 or contact Dr. Alan Stuart Weiss online.
Annapolis Integrative Medicine
Address1819 Bay Ridge Ave
Annapolis, MD 21403