Your Local Information and Resources Guide to Anxiety Disorders and Panic Attacks. Ideal for those who are wondering if what they are is experiencing is anxiety and want to explore anxiety self help prior to considering therapy or medication. Some people will experience symptoms for more than 10 years before they seek help, allowing the symptoms and thought patterns to increase. Ideally anxiety symptoms should be addressed as soon as possible so that the negative thought patterns and your bodies response to them can be blocked. However, for those who are trapped in anxiety, unable to work, sometimes unable to leave the house or visit a doctor, this resource is a starting place. Anxiety and panic attacks are often confused for each other.
With anxiety disorders, people tend to worry about what might happen to them physically or emotionally. Anxiety can develop gradually or quickly with feeling of worry, distress and fear. So they often expect the worst to happen, sometimes having automatic and uncontrollable thoughts of threat or danger of being overwhelmed by feelings such as embarrassment, anger, depression or being out of control. People can experience anxiety over a wide range of issues and there are many categories of anxiety. Some feel anxious in social situation, others feel phobia like symptoms and then there is test and presentation anxiety. One of the most common forms of anxiety I meet is driving anxiety with people who have been confident for many years suddenly finding themselves with uncomfortable anxiety symptoms on busy roads, motorways or when driving at night. Many people who begin to feel these symptoms start to worry about their health both mental and physical.
These are often sudden and intense. They can have a trigger such as with a fear of heights or open spaces or can be completely unexpected with no obvious reason. Often the symptoms both emotional and physical can be similar to an anxiety attack, however the feelings are intensely strong with frightening physical symptoms which can sometimes cause people to fear they are about to die, even though this is not the case. Commonly people feel a racing heart, sweating and problems with breathing.
Anxiety & Panic Attack Symptoms
How Do Know Which You Have?
Since so many symptoms are the same, how do you know what’s happening?
- Panic attacks are usually occur suddenly whilst anxiety is a more extended and gradual build up.
- Panic attacks often cause extreme fear of a situation and fear of a repeat of the attack.
- During a panic attack the bodies automatic fight or flight response takes over, with you having little control.
- Anxiety attacks can be very frightening and uncomfortable but you may be able to work through the situation – e.g. a driving test or standing in the school playground dropping off your child.
- Anxiety attacks are usually related to longer term worries or stresses. Panic attacks can have no trigger.
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Techniques To Help Anxiety
1. Relaxation techniques e.g. self hypnosis or meditation – This will help lower the over all anxiety levels. Do this daily.
2. Avoid Avoidance. Many people start to avoid situations that cause the panic and discomfort, this makes it worse. If you cannot face a situation, start visualising yourself doing that activity confidently, then start building up to the activity in small chunks.
3. Sleep Sleep Sleep! 8 hours a night. Avoid screens before bed. If you wake up in the night and are awake for more than 20 minutes, get up do something relaxing and then go to sleep again when you are tired. (No Screens)
4. Avoid alcohol.
5. Get a balanced diet and reduce sugar and caffeine.
6. Exercise in a way you enjoy. Dance, gardening, walking- any exercise will help.