Do you all feel numb, nauseous or dizzy? Does your breathing speed up so much that you feel you are hyperventilating? Do you have intense feelings of being afraid or so stressed that your body freezes up? If so, you may be undergoing an anxiety attack.
Recent statistics suggest that one out of every sixty people (about 1.7 percent) of the population have anxiety attacks. In the United States alone, that adds up to millions of people. While many people are worried that such an experience will lead to an anxiety disorder, most cases of anxiety attacks do not. A panic attack is characterized by feelings of intense distress or fear. Typically, the feeling also affects the body.
What questions do people ask about an anxiety attack?
Having an anxiety attack is not like taking a walk in the park. When something sudden and intense occurs, it is easy to become concerned if we are falling apart and seriously ill or if we have a passing episode. Here are some frequently asked questions that people have about this condition.
"I feel so bad, I feel like I'm going to die. Will this experience hurt me?"
Some people become extremely nervous after experiencing anxiety attacks. Some people claim that they can not breathe or they become so scared that they can not move and feel paralleled to the spot. The truth is that a panic attack seldom causes any lasting physiological damage.
"Now that I've had this experience, is there something wrong with my mental health or my brain?"
Anxiety attacks rarely happen to people who have a healthy lifestyle and mental state. However, not everyone who has an attack can automatically be called mentally ill. Some experience extreme anxiety as a result of abnormally difficult situations. Remember 9/11, Hurricane Katrina or even the Iraq war? Some people have panic because they have unhealthy attitudes in life. Some experience anxiety attacks as a result of drug abuse. If you have reoccurring anxiety attacks, however, you may wish to seek medical treatment or counseling.
"What happens after a panic attack?"
The effects of anxiety and panic attacks vary from one person to another. Some people experience intense stress that causes pain in their muscles. Some people are completely exhausted and need to rest by lying down. Some people experience vertigo and become extremely dizzy. While not particularly threatening by themselves, panic attacks can lead to serious problems when they occur in public places, or during critical times like driving a vehicle in heavy traffic.
"What kind of treatment should I get?"
The most common type of treatment involves Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, not medication. Medication does not solve the undering issue. This technique uses reframing the beliefs and practicing stress management techniques when an attack begins. This can diffuse anxiety and prevent its escalation into a full scale problem. Some of the self-management techniques include mental distractions, breathing exercises, meditation, and other activities to help a person break his or her focus from the object or event causing distress to something more pleasant.
"Do I need medication?"
At times, individuals may need a prescription from their physician, depending on the severity of the episodes. However, there is a risk with different types of medication. Medication for anxiety problems can be very addicting. Wherever possible, have a strong preference for pure behavioral therapy. An anxiety attack is usually part of a larger problem so treatment depends on the type of illness that induces it.