Anxiety, Panic Attacks and Ways to Cope
Updated: Aug 22
There are many different types of anxiety. Panic attack disorders, general anxiety, and situational anxiety are a few that we will talk about today. It is important to know what type of anxiety you experience because then you can gain the proper tools to work through it. Take a look at these different types of anxiety disorders and ways to help you work through them.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
A very common anxiety disorder that many people don’t even realize they have is called generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). With GAD, you experience almost constant anxiety, but things or situations can trigger it and make it worse. It is a state of general anxiety where it may not be consistently severe, but you can experience problems with social interactions, fatigue, restlessness, irritation, lack of energy, and tense muscles. GAD can lead to both mental and physical symptoms as a result of the anxiety disorder, but there are also many ways to treat it.
Panic attacks can be experienced on their own or in combination with another anxiety or mental health condition. Many people can experience panic attacks and have generalized anxiety disorder, which can make managing it difficult. If you tend to get sudden feelings of panic where you feel the need to escape or like you are having a heart attack, then you might have panic attack disorder. With this disorder, you may experience panic attacks often, which can be triggered or come on suddenly. Some symptoms of panic attacks include chest pain, sweating, nervousness, tunnel vision, heart palpitations, and feeling like you are choking or can’t breathe.
If you feel fine when you are alone or with people you are comfortable with, but then suddenly experience worry, panic, or anxiety when around new people or crowds, you might have social phobia. There are different types of social phobias, from being afraid of most people, not feeling comfortable around strangers, or just having phobias with larger groups of people. Some people experience it mildly, while others have it so severely that they avoid public situations altogether. If it is on the severe side, it is definitely something you should talk to your doctor about.
Other phobias can also lead to triggered anxiety, such as agoraphobia where you are afraid to leave your home or claustrophobia where you have a fear of confined spaces. These phobias can usually be treated with anti-anxiety medication and cognitive behavioral therapy.
Things to Avoid When Experiencing Anxiety
There are certain things that can trigger your panic attacks or worsen your anxiety. Managing anxiety disorders is much easier when you know what things to avoid for the sake of your emotional and mental health.
Being Around Negative People
The people you choose to spend your time with make a more significant impact than you might imagine. If you already struggle with anxiety and spend a lot of time with pessimistic and negative people, their negativity can trigger your anxiety. It makes it harder to be around them, and every time they are upset or vent about something, it can cause panic symptoms. Try to surround yourself with positive people that uplift you.
Stimulants can also be harmful to you if you are prone to anxiety and panic attacks. Try to cut back on stimulants like caffeine, sugar, and alcohol. These all will add to the number of anxious feelings you have and can even lead to more frequent panic attacks. Start by gradually decreasing the amount of coffee you drink each day and try to cut back on sugar. With alcohol, the sooner you can quit or cut back, the better off you will be. Don't be afraid to talk to a doctor if you are struggling with quitting stimulants.
Not Paying Attention to Nutrition
Vitamins and minerals can make anxiety better or worse. When choosing what you will eat daily, don’t forget about proper nutrition. Focus on foods that allow you to have plenty of vitamins and minerals through natural food sources. Some of the nutrients that are good for natural anxiety relief are B vitamins, vitamin D, and vitamin C. You also want your share of omega-3 fatty acids, which \you can get through whole grains and fish.
Living a Sedentary Lifestyle
It is beneficial to get up and start moving around more often. With regular exercises, you boost the serotonin levels in your brain and help to release your endorphins. These chemicals increase your energy and happiness, and can also have a very positive impact on stress and anxiety. With less stress, your anxiety tends to be less severe as well. You will be more energetic during the day but also sleep better at night.
While there are many natural remedies and things you can avoid to help with anxiety, it is important to know when to seek professional.
If your anxiety is keeping you from socializing, feels too much to bear or is leading you to feelings of depression or suicidal thoughts, it’s time to talk to a healthcare professional.
You might need anti-anxiety medication, and/or counseling. Here are New Leaf Counseling, we would be honored to walk with you through the anxiety that your feeling and help you find ways, specific for you, to help cope with your anxiety.