Anxiety and Panic Attacks
The level of intensity of anxiety and panic attacks exist on a spectrum. While not all types of anxiety are debilitating, they can often induce panic attacks—a subset of the anxiety spectrum often referred to as Panic Disorder. This leaves individuals to face difficulty in navigating work, relationships, and the day-to-day experiences and decisions that are part of a productive life.
Everyone gets stressed and worried sometimes. It’s when that stress and worry become excessive, causing persistent physical and mental distress, that a diagnosis of an anxiety disorder may be warranted
What is a Panic Attack?
In some cases, an individual may experience panic attacks as well. A panic attack is a short but intense burst of stress or fear, typically lasting no longer than 30 minutes. Symptoms generally include shortness of breath, increased heart rate, and chest pain. While a panic attack is usually triggered by a particular event, it may also occur for no reason and without warning. For some individuals with anxiety, panic attacks occur repeatedly, while others may experience a panic attack just once.
Signs of Anxiety Disorder
Anxiety is a part of the body’s normal processes, but it presents as a problem when it becomes chronic or overwhelming. Because anxiety disorders exist on a spectrum, symptoms and severity often differ from person to person.
The following signs may suggest the presence of an anxiety disorder:
- Persistent stress and/or worry
- Constant feelings of being on edge, or feelings of imminent fear or danger
- Stress responses such as fatigue or restlessness to everyday situations
- Overwhelming worry that interferes with school, work, relationships, responsibilities, and daily activities
- Avoidance of everyday situations due to unwanted thoughts
- Trouble sleeping due to excessive stress or worry
In some cases, anxiety may become acute and present as a panic attack. Signs of a panic attack include:
- Shortness of breath
- Increased heart rate
- Chest pain
- Racing heart
- Feelings of faintness or dizziness
- Sense of doom or fear
- Tingling or numbness
- General feeling of a loss of control
Panic attack symptoms are typically very intense, and may last anywhere from a few minutes to half an hour.
How to Treat Anxiety
Professional treatment is very important for individuals who suffer from anxiety and panic attacks. With care and oversight, it is possible for individuals to manage their anxiety and possibly even eliminate bursts of panic.
Effective anxiety treatment requires a tailored approach that addresses each patient’s needs individually. Treatment for anxiety starts with an assessment in order to understand the scope of the disorder and an individual’s most persistent symptoms. This initial assessment is performed by a licensed psychiatrist, who may prescribe anti-anxiety medicine. Medication is a very standard part of anxiety care, and allows patients to approach their treatment from a position of stability.
Long-term management of anxiety disorders and panic attacks requires regular psychotherapy (also called “talk therapy”) wherein a patient works with a mental health professional to understand their anxiety and how to manage it. This type of counseling is extremely effective, as it allows individuals to become more aware of the triggers that bring on anxious thoughts and panic attacks, and provides them with alternate coping mechanisms for dealing with those triggers when they do occur.
Over time, an individual may discontinue their use of medication. However, anti-anxiety medications are incredibly useful, and it is very common for patients to remain on a drug regiment along with long-term counseling.
Alternative Anxiety and Depression Treatment Options
At Retreat Synergy, we offer a wide range of personalized treatments for anxiety and panic attacks at both residential and outpatient levels of care. These include group and private sessions, as well as medication management and the introduction of holistic therapies such as yoga, massage, and meditation.
Choosing Treatments for Anxiety
Anxiety and panic attacks do not have to hold your life back. Contact us today to learn more about our treatment services.