Anxiety Attack

Also Called Intense Panic Attack

Anybody who has ever had an anxiety attack (sometimes called a panic attack) will tell you that it isn’t any fun at all. The attack will be very intense, and may or may not have an apparent trigger associated with it. If you believe you have had an anxiety attack, or know someone who has, then the following information will help.

NOTE: You should always take health symptoms seriously. If you think you are having a heart attack, you should get help immediately. Always talk to your doctor about all of your health concerns, including those related to anxiety and panic attacks.

Anxiety attacks are sometimes confused for a more serious health problem, such as an inability to breathe or having a heart attack. Here is one way that this happens. Many people with anxiety have an acute sense of awareness, and then amplify that awareness. Perhaps they are sitting quietly and then suddenly notice their breathing. They then focus on their breathing and they start to wonder if they are breathing properly. The funny thing is that this thought process actually changes their breathing pattern, and they then become even more aware of this change. This process keeps escalating until the person thinks they could die from not being able to breathe, and they are now in the middle of an anxiety attack.

Understanding this process is one of the keys to getting an anxiety attack under control. If this happens to you, then you should do your best to interrupt the thought process, which will prevent simple awareness from progressing into an attack. Again, all symptoms should be taken seriously, but you will get better at telling the difference as you handle more panic attacks successfully.

Having an anxiety attack can be scary. You may feel an impending sense of doom, or as though you are going to die. It’s unpleasant, to put it mildly. One of the most frustrating side effects of these attacks is the fear of having an attack when you are in public. Unfortunately, this fear can start a downward spiral that leads to agoraphobia (fear of open places) and can lead to a full-blown panic disorder.

While a large portion of sufferers will have an anxiety attack without warning, there are also some people who have recognizable triggers for their attacks. Be careful! The downside of potential triggers is that the perceived trigger may not be the real cause of an attack. The fear of having an attack in public is one example of how this plays out. Let’s say somebody has an attack while they are at the movie theater, it’s a horrible feeling and they leave the theater as soon as possible. Later, when they are assessing what went wrong, they assume it was the movie theater that caused it, even though it could have been something completely different. But, perception reigns supreme and they decide to never go to the theater again. Over time, they have fewer and fewer places where they feel safe, and this is why it can be such a big problem.

At some point in life, almost everyone experiences anxiety. Perhaps you feel uncomfortable in the moments leading up to an important test, maybe you get the jitters the night before your wedding, or perhaps you have a case of the butterflies before you get up to speak in front of a group. This transient anxiety is simply a part of life, and while it is sometimes exacerbated by stress, it always goes away.

This kind of normal social anxiety is very different from the anxiety experienced by those with an anxiety disorder. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), “Anxiety disorders affect about 40 million American adults age 18 years and older (about 18%) in a given year.” Anxiety disorders can be debilitating for those who suffer from them, as well as to family members and loved ones.

What Are Anxiety Disorders?

In a sense, “anxiety disorder” is an umbrella phrase for a number of more specific psychiatric disorders. According to the NIMH, anxiety disorders include panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, specific phobias, and generalized anxiety disorder. Although these are distinct conditions, the one thing they have in common is a sense of fear and dread that is disproportionate to the actual events taking place.

The symptoms of an anxiety attack can depend upon the type of disorder. According to the NIMH, panic disorder is “characterized by sudden attacks of terror, usually accompanied by a pounding heart, sweatiness, weakness, faintness, or dizziness. During these attacks, people with panic disorder may flush or feel chilled; their hands may tingle or feel numb; and they may experience nausea, chest pain, or smothering sensations.”

Treatment for Anxiety Disorders

Some anxiety disorders respond well to a type of psychotherapy called cognitive-behavioral therapy. This can help alleviate the “self-talk” that contributes to the escalation of an anxiety attack. Systematic desensitization therapy often works well for people with phobias, as it gradually exposes them to that which they fear and lessens their negative reactions.

Virtually all anxiety disorders can be treated with pharmaceuticals, either alone or in conjunction with psychotherapy. Antidepressants are often useful in treating panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder, particularly those that are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Brand name drugs like Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil are examples of SSRIs.

There are also pharmaceuticals specifically for anxiety, such as the generic drugs buspiron, diazepam, and lorazepam. Brand name pharmaceuticals include Klonopin, Buspar, and Ativan.

The Role of an International Pharmacy

Although an online pharmacy isn’t meant to replace a mental health professional’s diagnosis and treatment of anxiety attacks, it can serve a much-needed purpose: access to the pharmaceuticals that can make life bearable for those who suffer. Those with anxiety disorders often can’t go out of the house or are ashamed of their condition. They often end up self-medicating with illicit drugs or alcohol. With skilled doctors and licensed pharmacists, an international pharmacy can help those in need get the help they deserve.