Anxiety attacks, also known as panic attacks, are often experienced as feelings of dread - an intense fear that something terrible is about to happen, like you might die, lose control of yourself, or lose your sanity. These experiences can be extremely frightening, especially since they can occur at anytime and anywhere - even while just driving in your car, standing in line, lying in bed, or watching TV. Anxiety attacks may seem unusual when encountered, but they're a very common result of 'anxiety overload'.
HOW IT HAPPENS
During an anxiety attack, worries and fears lingering in your thoughts begin to get interpreted as real danger by the subconscious mind. Your mind then releases adrenaline into the body to help you deal with the threat. But since the adrenaline burst can come to the surface at anytime, without any visual danger present, you may not recognize the adrenaline burst for what it is. This misunderstanding is usually what makes the sensation of anxiety frightening. As a result, you become fearful of the adrenaline itself. That additional fear then feeds the adrenaline reaction, which in turn escalates your fear even more. As these two feed each other, a full anxiety attack occurs. You may feel like you're losing your mind or having a heart attack. It's not uncommon for panic sufferers to even rush to the emergency room, only to find that they feel fine once they're in that "safe environment" that the hospital provides. An anxiety attack is not going to hurt you or cause you to go crazy, but it can feel like dying a thousand deaths when you're having these episodes regularly.
Once you've experienced the terror of a first panic attack, it's likely that you'll become more sensitive to the symptoms that preceded it, and therefore more likely to experience a second attack. A slight malaise or stress may get you feeling fearful. And ironically, it's that very fear that gets the adrenaline flowing and starts the cycle over again.
As with other anxiety symptoms, an excellent first step to recovery from panic is to know that what you are experiencing is a normal reaction to persistent worry and fear. Think of a time when you were really frightened, maybe when watching a scary movie or after nearly getting in an accident. Now remember what types of sensations you had at that time - maybe a rapid heartbeat and adrenaline? Did you get fearful of those feelings? No, because you knew they were normal. In fact, if you're having trouble remembering what you felt, it's probably because you didn't even think about it since the sensations were nothing out of the ordinary for the situation.
If you have a high speed Internet connection, you can get a quick overview of the "Self Therapy for Anxiety" approach to dealing with anxiety / panic attacks by viewing the video below:
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