By now you know that when you are suddenly seized by fear for no apparent reason, and you get dizzy, confused, maybe blurring of your vision, hyperventilation, chest pain, or feeling like you're losing control or going crazy, you're having a panic attack. You won't go to the mall or your spouse's office parties because you're afraid a panic attack will hit and you really will lose it in front of all those people. You worry for days about going to your child's school play, and whether or not you'll have to stay home and disappoint him or her...again.
There are 2.4 million Americans who have anxiety, or panic attacks as some call them, so you aren't alone. There are also several effective treatments for anxiety attack symptoms.
Anxiety disorders are most widely treated with drug therapy alone, or combined with Cognitive Behavior Therapy. Drugs called benzodiazepines are highly addictive, and the symptoms of anxiety attack return when the drug is withdrawn. Other drugs can be more effective in treating anxiety symptoms and have less severe side effects. The most common side effects are dizziness, nausea, stomach upset and sexual dysfunction.
Herbal remedies are an acceptable form of anxiety treatment. Valerian and passion flower are especially effective when used together, and have properties that aid in insomnia. Pennyroyal, linden, St. John's wort, motherwort and wood betony are just a few other herbs that are used for their calming effects. Kava has been widely used and proven to decrease anxiety attacks and symptoms, but it has also been linked to liver malfunction and diseases, particularly hepatitis and cirrhosis.
Positive changes in diet and nutrition and physical and relaxation exercises can successfully treat anxiety attack symptoms. Avoiding too much sugar and eliminating caffeine, while eating more whole grains, and fresh vegetables and fruit make your body healthier and gets the nutrients it needs. Physical exercises get the heart pumping, increases blood circulation and burns off calories. Relaxation exercises and deep breathing should be used when you have panic attack symptoms and practiced when you aren't. Listening to music, reading, working on a hobby and other activities you enjoy relax you too.
Popular therapies, such as Cognitive Behavior Therapy and hypnosis can be effective treatments for anxiety attack symptoms. Hypnosis is used to help you remain calm during stressful situations. CBT methods teach you how to change your perception of imagined or real threats, and how you react to fear and anxiety symptoms. Another recognized therapy for anxiety attack symptoms is Desensitization. In this method, which can successfully cure phobias, the person is exposed to what they fear or makes them anxious for gradually lengthened periods of time, until they no longer experience the negative feelings toward the object or situation.
When you feel the first symptom of a panic attack, you can take control of it by starting deep breathing exercises and focus your mind on calming or humorous thoughts. Teach you mind not to be afraid of fear and anxiety. Just keep breathing, remind yourself that these symptoms are nothing new, and have never killed you, and think those happy thoughts!