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What to do before an anxiety attack

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Anxiety is the disease of the 21st century, a series of emotional and psychological disorders that also manifest themselves on a physical level and that more and more people suffer from. However, experiencing anxiety is not the same as having an anxiety attack. Although anxiety attacks or panic attacks are the result of high levels of anxiety, they are short episodes in time in which the symptoms intensify enormously.

Anyone who has suffered one of these attacks knows how bad it is, so the fear of suffering it again tends to remain and they want to be as prepared as possible in case it happens again. That is why in the following FastlyHealarticle we want to explain what to do when faced with an anxiety attack , how to act and what should not be done to get through this episode in the best possible way.

Why do they give anxiety attacks

Anxiety attacks can vary depending on the person, both in the symptoms and in the intensity and the reasons that cause them. There are times when they are triggered by a particular situation, others by fear, and some by anticipation of a fear. However, despite the fact that there is no undisputed and definitive cause that causes anxiety attacks, there are certain factors that can be found at their origin :

  • Genetic inheritance and family history.
  • Important events such as a new job, the arrival of a child or a wedding.
  • Very high stress from job loss, near death, or divorce.
  • There are certain diseases that can cause anxiety such as certain heart problems, hyperthyroidism or hypoglycemia .
  • The intake of stimulants such as coffee or cocaine.
  • Stop using certain medications.

Anxiety crisis: symptoms

Although they can vary from one person to another, the symptoms of a panic attack are usually very similar in all cases. It appears suddenly and violently, producing enormous and intense discomfort to the person. Within a few minutes the person begins to experience the following symptoms :

  • Palpitations
  • Tachycardia
  • The feeling that you are short of breath
  • Chest pressure
  • Excessive sweating
  • Sickness
  • Stomachache
  • Dizziness

Other symptoms that can manifest and that are more difficult to explain are:

  • Daze
  • Fear of fainting
  • Numbness and tingling in the extremities
  • Feeling of unreality
  • Fear of going crazy
  • Not controlling your own thoughts

In short, an anxiety attack is a very intense fear, accompanied by physical manifestations such as difficulty in breathing along with catastrophic thoughts and the feeling that something bad is about to happen.

How long does an anxiety attack last?

Anxiety attacks usually last between 15 and 30 minutes . However, it is within the first 5 minutes when anxiety levels are highest. After this period, the symptoms slowly disappear up to half an hour.

However, there are people who claim that their anxiety attacks can be longer, and can last all day. At this point it is necessary to distinguish what is a panic attack and have high levels of anxiety. High anxiety levels can last for days, but panic attacks do not usually last much longer than 30 minutes, although after this time anxiety levels remain high.

Usually, the aftermath of an anxiety attack can also be noticed on a physical level. The person who suffers from it usually ends up exhausted, feeling very tired and with muscle stiffness throughout the body.

I have anxiety, what do I do?

It may seem strange, but the best thing you can do when you have an anxiety attack is simply to do nothing and wait for it to pass . Although it is very difficult to stop an anxiety attack, if we do not act correctly, we can make it longer or worse.

It takes a lot of mental control and relaxation capacity to be able to reverse an anxiety attack. What usually happens in most cases is that when we feel unable to calm down, we will become even more distressed and anxiety levels will increase.

Basically we have to be clear about a series of concepts and thoughts that will make us overcome the crisis more easily , avoiding entering into repetitive thoughts that worsen our state:

  • Be aware that we are having an anxiety attack.
  • Be aware that you do not have any physical problems, you will not drown, you will not have a heart attack or you will die from anxiety.
  • The first 4 minutes are the worst, after this time it will calm down.
  • The crisis will not last more than 30 minutes.
  • We do not have to flee from where we are, simply look for a quiet place to pass the crisis and if we are driving, stop the car.

How to deal with an anxiety attack

Taking into account the nature of this situation, it is almost as important to know what to do as it is to be clear about what we should not do, either because it can aggravate the problem or because it is counterproductive. Here we explain what you should not do :

Don’t run away

Running away is something you should never do, and yet it is the first natural reaction to an anxiety attack. Avoidance and flight are two of the pillars on which anxiety is based, the more we avoid or try to escape from what causes it, the bigger it will become and the more difficult it will be to overcome it. When we notice that we are about to have a panic attack, the usual reaction is to go home or to a place that we consider safe. As is normal, after the 30 minutes that it usually lasts, the anxiety will subside, leading us to the false belief that the place where we were is what has caused it and the fact of being in a safe place has freed us from anxiety . Over time this will only increase anxiety and limit the places where we can feel comfortable.

Friends who overwhelm

The last thing we need when we are having an anxiety attack is to have a lot of people hovering around, even with the best of intentions. It is always good to have a friend or family member by your side in case you need something, but more than one person will already be a crowd .

Strange rituals

Anxiety is often linked to OCD – obsessive compulsive disorder. We have already commented repeatedly that the anxiety crisis goes away by itself , so there is no point in performing any ritual such as counting, repeating strings of numbers, praying or doing any specific activity. On the contrary, by doing that we can increase anxiety levels and end up enslaved by an absurd routine that has no relation or benefit to our situation.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to What to do before an anxiety attack , we recommend that you enter our category of Mental disorders .

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