Everyone has experienced anxiety at least once in their lives. Even as children, we have had anxiety like when we start school or when our parents leave us at daycare for the first time. But just having a bit of stress and worry about something does not mean that you have an anxiety disorder. And if you have ever had an anxiety attack, you know that they are completely different than anything like just being stressed out or worried about something. Anxiety attacks, or panic attacks, are something that you will not forget and even though you may have a hard time describing it while it is happening, you can tell when it is happening, but you cannot stop it.
What Is An Anxiety Attack?
An anxiety attack is a severe episode of extreme fear that something bad is going to happen, accompanied by several symptoms. Some of these symptoms include:
Different For Everyone
The symptoms can go on like that depending on how you perceive them when they happen to you. It is a very personal experience, so it feels different for everyone, and when asked to describe it afterward, it can be difficult to put those feelings into words for others to understand. The main thing about anxiety attacks is that you feel out of control and scared. How long they last are also unique. It is different for everyone. That being said, the average length of an anxiety attack is typically about 30 minutes, but many have had them for well over an hour.
What Causes Anxiety Attacks?
What causes an anxiety attack is your sympathetic nervous system. When your body thinks you are in danger, certain responses happen involuntarily. For example, your senses are heightened, your metabolism is increased, your heart rate and blood pressure both increase, pupils dilate, and your peripheral vision narrows, the muscles throughout your body tighten up, and you begin to sweat. This all happens because of the increased activity of the sympathetic nervous system and suppression of the parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system is what calms you down, and it shuts down and lets the sympathetic nervous system take over during an anxiety attack. This is what physically causes an anxiety attack, but there are also triggers such as:
Duration Of Anxiety Attacks
How long your anxiety attack lasts can also depend on how you handle the attack. If you are so distraught that you just curl up and isolate yourself from everyone and everything, it can make things worse. Staying inside your head and focusing on how scared you are will make things worse. Or if you run around and try to “run away” from your anxiety, it will just continue. This is your body’s natural fight or flight response, and although it can help in some cases, in this case, it typically just makes things worse. The best thing to do is to focus on something else until it passes on its own.
Tips And Tricks To Alleviate Anxiety Attacks
There are many different things you can do to get your anxiety under control during an anxiety attack. However, different things work better for different people. Since we are all unique in how we perceive our anxiety, it makes sense that we all have different ways to relax. Someone who has never had an anxiety attack may just tell you to calm down or relax because it is all in your head. Of course, they have no idea what they are talking about. While they may be trying to help, this is no help at all. Here are some of the most common ways to get out of that anxiety mode.
Talking To A Therapist
Whether you have had therapy before or not, talking to a counselor or therapist can be extremely helpful. The problem that many people have is that their therapist is not available when they need them. In that case, it may be better for you to try online therapy. With an online therapist or counselor, you can talk to them by phone, text, email, instant messaging, or even video chat. You do not need an appointment, and you do not even need to leave the house. Because trying to go somewhere when you are having an anxiety attack is almost impossible.
Relationships And Anxiety Attacks
An anxiety attack can put some serious stress on a relationship, which in turn just causes more anxiety. It is a vicious cycle that needs to be broken. The best way to do that is to communicate with your partner. Let them know what is going on and how they can help you. Do you want them to sit with you and hold you or talk to you while you are having an attack? Or would you rather they just go away until it is over? Some people are so embarrassed by their anxiety attacks that they will stress themselves out more trying to hide them, which makes it much worse.
If your partner does not have any empathy for you or makes fun of you, it may be time to consider couples counseling. You can even do online couples counseling just like regular online therapy, but you would be doing it together. Anxiety attacks can increase any kind of issues you and your partner may already be having, making it worse for both of you. And even if your loved one is trying to help by telling you to relax, they need to understand that it is not that easy. With online counseling, you can both learn to communicate with each other about what is going on and what you can both do to help. Talk to your loved one today about working with an online therapist for both your benefits.