Anxiety and panic attacks come from both life stressors and nonthreatening situations. Many people have reported feeling like they were having a heart attack. Some people report they are unable to breathe or catch their breath. Shaking, increased body temperature are other symptoms of anxiety and panic. Approximately 40 million adults from the ages of 18 – 54 experience anxiety. (NIMH)
Symptoms of an anxiety disorder
Anxiety is similar to panic but it tends to be less severe and more drawn out. Anxiety intensifies over a period of time. It often goes hand in hand with excessive worry. The symptoms of anxiety look a lot like the symptoms of a panic disorder.
Anxiety and panic are similar but different. Anxiety is less intense and may occur over days, weeks, and even months. Over time anxiety becomes stronger.
The symptoms are below:
- Disturbed sleep
- Difficulty concentrating
- Muscle tension
- Increased startle response
- Increased heart rate
- Shortness of breath
Symptoms of a panic disorder
Experiencing frequent panic attacks, and avoidant behavior may display that you have a panic disorder. Panic attacks typically last for minutes. These minutes feel like forever. The jittery, tingly feeling can linger for a while after. An official diagnosis of panic disorder requires that you must experience at least four of the following symptoms while having a panic attack.
Panic attack symptoms
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Chills or hot flashes
- Feeling of choking
- Nausea or abdominal distress
- Feeling dizzy, unsteady, lightheaded, or faint
- Feelings of unreality or being detached from oneself
- Fear of losing control or going crazy
- Fear of dying
- Numbness or tingling sensations
- Sensations of shortness of breath or smothering
- Trembling or shaking
- Pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate
Social anxiety is the fear of being judged and evaluated negatively. The fear of judgment is in social situations and in interaction with other people. Social anxiety can prevent a person from enjoying daily life. This type of anxiety can cause serious frustration for the person struggling. The partners/family members connected to that person are also effected. Many times there is an internal critic that prevents the person from engaging in social activities. This internal critic distorts the reality and thoughts of the person.
Social anxiety really gets in the way of everyday life. When you experience social anxiety you can feel incredibly deflated. Not being able to spend carefree time with your friends feels debilitating. Social anxiety may manifest through a critical voice that can become overwhelming while spending time with friends. The critical voice is oftentimes seen as the truth. It will distort reality and thinking in the moment. When social anxiety is triggered it’s hard to come up with a realistic counter voice. Treatment will focus on developing a healthy counter voice to start replacing the overly critical one.
Anxiety about anxiety
The frequent feeling of having anxiety gives people anxiety. Thinking you might have anxiety can stir up anxiety. A very common concern for people that struggle with anxiety and panic disorders is the fear of having a panic attack and anxiety. This fear prevents people from living their best life. They begin to avoid things such as social events, relationships, interactions with others and stressors. The fear takes away the joy of living everyday life. Therapy can help you overcome your anxiety and panic. You can learn healthy ways to decrease your anxiety.
Treatment of anxiety
Choosing to treat anxiety and panic disorders yourself begins with making healthy lifestyle choices. A few key things to do to start supporting yourself are to start exercising, get quality sleep and eat a balanced diet.
- Lay off the caffeine
- Create a support system
- Tap into your spiritual connection
- Practice breathing strategies
If you are not able to go it alone and want help contact us. We are here and ready to help you move forward.
If your anxiety symptoms are mild to moderate the self-care treatment options below may be a great fit for you. If your symptoms are moderate to severe, you should think about scheduling an appointment.
Flourishing Hope Counseling PLLC a Kingsville, TX private counseling practice.