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By allaboutfa3909812, Feb 22 2017 09:36PM

Anxiety attacks can feel awful, intense, and frightening. Because they can be powerful experiences, it can seem like anxiety attacks are out of our control.Those who experience anxiety attacks quickly learn that they can be highly unpleasant experiences. Even so, anxiety attacks and their symptoms can be successfully addressed with the right information, help, and support.

Symptoms of an anxiety attack can include:

• A feeling of overwhelming fear

• Feeling of going crazy or losing control

• Feeling you are in grave danger

• Feeling you might pass out

• A surge of doom and gloom

• An urgency to escape

• Dizziness

• Heart Palpitations

• Trembling

• Sweating

• Shortness of breath

• Chest pressure or pain

There is a long list of signs and symptoms of an anxiety attack. But because each body is somewhat chemically unique, anxiety attacks can affect each person differently. Consequently, anxiety attack symptoms can vary from person to person in type or kind, number, intensity, duration, and frequency.

If your symptoms don’t exactly match this list, that doesn’t mean you don’t have anxiety attacks. It simply means that your body is responding to them slightly differently. Anxiety attacks (panic attacks) and their signs and symptoms are episodes of high degree stress responses accompanied or precipitated by

a high degree fear and anxiety.

Anxiety is defined as: A state of apprehension, uncertainty, and fear resulting from the anticipation of a

real or imagined event, situation, or circumstance that we think might be threatening. In other words, if

we become concerned (afraid) that something could harm or endanger us in some way, this concern (fear) creates the state of being anxious.

When we’re anxious, the body produces a stress response. The stress response is designed to give us an extra ‘boost’ of awareness and energy when we think we could be in danger. The stress response causes a number of physiological, psychological, and emotional changes in the body that enhance the body’s ability to deal with a perceived threat – to either fight or flee, which is the reason the stress response is often referred to as the ‘fight or flight response.

The degree of accompanying stress response and its physiological, psychological, and emotional changes are directly proportional to the degree of anxiety. For example, if you are only slightly concerned, such as being slightly nervous about meeting someone new, the body produces a small degree stress response. The small degree stress response can be so slight that you don’t even notice it. If you are greatly afraid, however, such as being terrified that there is a burglar in your home that is about to harm you, the body produces a high degree stress response. We generally experience high degree stress responses as being anxiety attacks: where the changes are so profound they get our full attention. The greater the degree of anxiety and stress response, the more changes the body experiences. Low

degree anxiety will produce small fight or flight changes in the body. High degree anxiety will produce

high degree fight or flight changes. Again, high degree fight or flight response changes are called anxiety attacks.

The most common cause of anxiety attacks is thinking you are in grave danger. Believing you are in extreme danger causes the body to produce a high degree stress response. A high degree stress response can cause profound physiological, psychological, and emotional changes in the body, which can be unnerving to the unsuspecting person. And once these changes are initiated, many anxious personalities react to them with more fear, which causes more stress responses, which can cause

more physiological, psychological, and emotional changes, and so on. So, the most common cause of anxiety attacks is overly anxious behavior (the ways we think and act in overly apprehensive ways).

When the body’s stress is kept within a healthy range, the body functions normally. When we allow stress to build up with no relief, the body can cause an involuntary panic attack – an involuntary high degree stress response that wasn’t caused by behavior. When we experience an involuntary high degree stress response, the sensations can be so profound that we think we are having a medical emergency, which anxious personalities can react to with more fear. And when we become more afraid, the body is going to produce another stress response, which causes more changes, which we can react to with more fear, and so on.

Those who experience anxiety attack disorder are not alone. It’s estimated that 19 percent of the North American adult population (ages 18 to 54) experiences an anxiety disorder, and 3 percent of the North American adult population experiences anxiety attack disorder. We believe that number is much higher, since many conditions go undiagnosed and unreported.

While everyone experiences brief episodes of intense anxiety from time to time, and a great many people experience one or two anxiety attacks over the course of their lifetime, anxiety attack disorder occurs when these attacks become frequent or persistent, begin interfering with or restricting normal lifestyle, or when the individual becomes afraid of them. Once established, anxiety attack disorder can be very debilitating.

Anxiety attack disorder generally starts with one unexplained attack that can include a number of intense anxiety attack symptoms, which causes the individual to become concerned. As other attacks occur, fear

of having anxiety attacks, what they mean, what the associated symptoms mean, and where the attacks and symptoms may lead, increases. This escalation of fear is often the catalyst that brings on the attacks, causing the individual to be seemingly caught in a cycle of fear then panic, then more fear, then more panic.

An anxiety attack can be described as a sudden attack of fear, terror, or feelings of impending doom that strike without warning and for no apparent reason. This strong sensation or feeling can also be accompanied by a number of other symptoms, including pounding heart, rapid heart rate, sweating, lightheadedness, nausea, hot or cold flashes, chest pain, hands and feet may feel numb, tingly skin sensations, burning skin sensations, irrational thoughts, fear of losing control, and a number of other symptoms. (While other symptoms often do accompany anxiety attacks, they don’t necessarily have to.)

Anxiety attacks can last anywhere between a few moments to 30 or more minutes. It’s also common for subsequent anxiety attacks to follow, causing the overall anxiety attack experience to last much longer as one episode is followed by another. Even though anxiety attacks eventually end, it’s common for the symptoms and after effects of an anxiety attack to linger for hours or even days, depending upon the severity of the attack and the level of stress your body is under.

The highest incidence of the onset of anxiety attack disorder occurs in the 17 to 25 years of age range.

But people from all age groups can experience anxiety attacks. Many people remember having them as children (anxiety attacks that occur in childhood are often misunderstood as feeling “sick” or the onset of the flu).

Women are thought to experience a higher prevalence of anxiety attacks than men, however, the statistics may be misleading because men are more reluctant to seek professional help. Anxiety attacks are often misunderstood. Many sources claim that anxiety attacks are genetically or biologically caused, or both, because they commonly occur in families. But independent research and practical evidence has disproven these claims. For example, based on our personal and professional experiences with anxiety, anxiety disorders, including anxiety attacks, we know that the factors that cause anxiety disorders are learned, and therefore, are behavioral and NOT genetically inherited or biologically caused.

Yes, anxiety disorders DO have a biological component, but the biological component is a RESULT of

our behaviors and NOT the CAUSE of them.

And yes, it’s common for anxiety disorders to run in families. But this is due to learned and passed on behavior, NOT due to genetic factors (children who grow up with anxious parents most often see, learn, and adopt their anxious behavioral style).

Anyone who has experienced anxiety attacks can tell you that anxiety attacks can be frightening and debilitating. But anxiety attacks can be stopped and prevented. Anyone can do it with the right information, help, and support.

By allaboutfa3909812, Feb 7 2017 09:36PM

After weeks, maybe even months, of decorating, shopping and wrapping, baking, visiting and being visited, the whole thing is over in a day or two. Suddenly, the display that seemed so essential to get up

on the house looks just wrong. The tree is dropping needles. The house that was so sparkling clean before Christmas now decidedly needs a good vacuuming. How’d that happen? Yeah. Kids and dogs

and visitors are a household demolition derby. If that weren’t enough, you’re trying to make peace with

the fact that your sister gave you soap when you gave her a lovely sweater and the uncle you spent so much agonizing time making a vegan dish for decided not to even stop by. It’s hard to stay in that twinkly holiday mood when it feels so over.

It’s not that unusual. Some studies show as many as 25 percent of Americans suffer from low-grade to full-blown depression after the holidays. The hype and excitement and, yes, expectation, for jolliness

buoy up many in the buildup to the Big Day. But then expectations hit reality. Relatives aren’t always kind. Gifts aren’t given and received in the spirit intended. The fantasy that maybe this year will be different is dashed yet again. It’s hard for even the most resilient not to feel a letdown. For those who are prone to depression anyway, the weeks after a holiday can feel like the emotional rug has been pulled out from them.

Yes, there are some things to do about it.

If you are taking antidepressants: This is not the time to stop. You may feel they aren’t doing their job but it’s also possible that things would be much worse if you weren’t taking them at all. Confer with your psychiatrist.

If you are in therapy: Make sure you talk about what is bothering you. Your therapist can’t help you if you skirt around issues or if, in some misguided attempt not to bother the therapist too much, you don’t tell

her how bad you feel. If things are feeling really grim, you might want to ask for an extra appointment.

Whether in treatment or not:

Take care of yourself. From Halloween to New Year’s, Americans tend to redefine the basic food groups

to sugar, fats, sugar, and sometimes alcohol. “Enough” is redefined as “stuffed.” Get back to a healthy

diet with reasonable portions. Add a walk at least once a day and a more regular bedtime. Regular routines of self-care may have disappeared over the past few months but you can reclaim them.

Take a meditative few minutes a couple times a day. Focus on what did go right over the holidays. It’s an old-fashioned idea but “counting your blessings” is an antidote to the blues.

Kids home for the week? They may be exuberant. They may be demanding. Kids are. Often their overactivity is a bid for attention. If you give them attention in a way that is pleasant for you as well, they

may well settle down. Get down on the floor and enjoy kid time. Play with the blocks and Legos. Help the kids make a fort or tent with the couch cushions. Read together. Mostly be grateful that they are OK and want to play with you.

Call a friend. Steer the conversations away from a festival of complaints and commiseration to a lively conversation of what has been going well and what you can laugh about. Sharing humor is a great way

to lift the spirits.

Make a pact with yourself to do something small but positive for yourself at least five times a day. Stay in that hot shower a few extra minutes. Get nicely dressed and comb your hair. Make the bed up clean. Straighten up your kitchen. Make yourself a cup of tea and let yourself have 10 minutes to savor it.

Give yourself the gift of giving to someone else. It’s transformative to do those random acts of kindness. Whether it’s a call to one of the older relatives who doesn’t get much attention or taking food to a shut-in, focusing on someone else’s needs has the paradoxical effect of helping the giver.

Arrange things to look forward to. The holidays aren’t the end of life as we know it. They are only the end

of the holidays. It’s time to shift the focus to everyday things that give us pleasure. Make a coffee date

with a friend or a movie date with your spouse. Turn the kids’ thinking to what will happen in school over the next few months.

Give yourself an attitude transplant. If being one of those who looks at the world through mud-covered glasses has never worked for you, why continue it? Take charge of your life and your mood by doing any number of the ideas listed above and adding some of your own.

Written By Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D.

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