Are you afraid of the consequences of an anxiety attack? Are you feeling too stressed lately? You should know that the symptoms of an anxiety attack are not dangerous. However, you should pay close attention because they can indicate an underlying health condition.
In this article, we will explain what exactly an anxiety attack is, how we can identify the first signs and symptoms to try to manage the situation, the most common causes and a series of tips to find the relief you need in these cases.
What is an anxiety attack and is it dangerous?
An anxiety attack is an episode of intense fear and disturbance which, unlike a panic attack that may occur suddenly, the anxiety attack arises in response to certain stressors that may develop gradually.
Anxiety attacks usually reach a peak within 10 minutes and do not last more than 30 minutes. Even if the attack lasts only a short time, the sufferer may experience an episode of acute fear that even makes them feel that they may lose control completely. The physical symptoms can be very unpleasant, causing some people to think that they are suffering from a heart condition.
Anxiety attacks: Symptoms to be aware of
These are the symptoms that usually accompany an anxiety crisis:
- Fear of losing control or dying.
- The feeling of detachment from oneself or the world.
- Rapid heart rate or palpitations.
- Chest pain.
- Difficulty breathing or choking sensation.
- Dry mouth.
- Sweating, chills or hot flushes.
- Tingling or numbness.
- Upset stomach, abdominal pain or nausea.
- Feeling of weakness or dizziness.
What are the most common causes?
The root of the problem can be very diverse, but although there are many triggers, these are the most common causes:
- Stressful work.
- Certain social situations.
- Memories of traumatic experiences.
- Chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome or asthma.
- Chronic pain.
- Abstinence from addictive substances such as caffeine, alcohol, some medicines…
- Thyroid problems.
What is the worst thing that can happen to you in an anxiety attack?
During the anxiety crisis
The heartbeat becomes faster and stronger. You may also feel chest pain or some shortness of breath.
After the episode
Usually, when the crisis passes, the person returns to his or her previous calm state. In cases where the stressor continues and no solution is found to the underlying problem that has led to the crisis, anxiety may continue in a moderate form in everyday life.
It is important to know that, although the anxiety attack per se does not pose a serious risk to physical health, our body is wise and is warning us that something is wrong, something negative is affecting our health and we must pay attention to it to solve it as soon as possible, as a chronic state of anxiety can lead to the development of other underlying pathologies.
The recommended attitude at this point is to act, it is time to take the reins, reflect on the problem and establish preventive measures for the future.
What can I do to calm my anxiety?
The first step is to be aware that you are going through a period of anxiety, crisis or stress.
Once you accept it and have identified it, these are the measures you can carry out in the different areas of action:
Psychotherapy and counselling: a professional will first help you through cognitive-behavioural therapy, where you will work on and objectively analyse the thoughts that make you anxious to prevent them from continuing to harm you. The second step may be exposure therapy, where you will progressively confront these situations through a hierarchy of stimuli.
Supplementation: several supplements of natural origin help to maintain emotional balance and support us in situations or stages with a greater burden of anxiety.
- GABA: is an amino acid and neurotransmitter that induces calm. It plays a key role in controlling the hyperactivity of nerve cells associated with stress, fear and anxiety. You can find GABA in foods such as spinach, salmon, broccoli, legumes, kefir, tomatoes and others. Because GABA has some difficulty crossing the blood-brain barrier, the most recommended option is to choose a GABA and L-theanine supplement in its liposomal form, to ensure the best bioavailability and absorption.
- Ashwagandha: is an adaptogenic herb from Ayurveda, a traditional Indian medicine, which is effective in reducing stress. It acts on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and the neuroendocrine system, to achieve homeostasis (internal balance). It is best to take Ashwagandha root as a supplement, noting the name Withania Somnifera KSM-66 in its ingredients.
- G7 Neurohealth: this natural supplement contributes to normal psychological function and proper functioning of the nervous system. Among its ingredients, it contains biotin and highly absorbable organic silica, which helps to increase energy and mental alertness, promotes concentration and memory and can combat the harmful effects of aluminium, the major inducer of oxidative stress in the brain.
- Psychrobiotic: certain probiotic strains such as Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001, Lactobacillus acidophilus LA1, Lactobacillus rhamnosus SP1 and Lactobacillus reuteri LR92 have a beneficial action on the gut-brain axis.
- Reduce and control your sources of stress.
- Learn to identify and stop negative thoughts.
- Take regular moderate exercise.
- Practice meditation, yoga, breathing exercises and other relaxation techniques.
- Balanced diet.
- Limit or eliminate as much as possible the consumption of alcohol, caffeine and tobacco.
- Medication: drugs are accompanied by side effects that can be adverse and can be detrimental to the state of health in the medium and long term, so when it is necessary to resort to them, they should always be prescribed by a health professional with a prior diagnosis.
What’s behind an anxiety attack? Find the root of the problem
Although anxiety attacks are not dangerous in themselves, causing no physical harm, they can be frightening and very unpleasant. However, the significance of anxiety goes far beyond that. People who suffer from chronic anxiety or very prolonged periods of stress are susceptible to developing numerous diseases such as inflammatory diseases, gastrointestinal disorders, acne and other skin conditions, tumour development, thyroid problems, and hormonal problems, among others.
The likelihood of suffering from these diseases multiplies exponentially when we are exposed to states of anxiety, so it is very important to increase the visibility of this health problem, as it tends to remain in the shadows because it lacks a physical component that is visible to the naked eye.
People who have had an anxiety disorder for some time often learn to recognise this feeling of ‘terror’ and distress and become more aware of how to manage their symptoms.
To control anxiety, it is recommended to reflect calmly and focus on the root cause of the problem. Once the cause has been identified, we must act on it by making use of tools that do not have unwanted side effects, such as psychotherapy, natural supplementation and lifestyle changes.