What are Anxiety Attacks?
Also known as a panic attack, anxiety attacks are characterized by intense episodes in which the sufferer experiences such symptoms similar to a heart attack such as heart palpitations, chest pain or discomfort, sweating, and trembling. They may be triggered by a stressful event or they may come on for no discernible reason. Anxiety attacks, and the fear of their occurrence, can prevent suffers from leading a normal life.
What Are The Symptoms Of Anxiety Attacks?
An anxiety attack is often mistaken for a heart attack as the symptoms are very similar. Increased heart and breathing rates, dry mouth, chest pains, loss of touch with reality, light-headedness, nausea, numbness or tingling in the extremities, sweating, and diarrhea are common symptoms of an anxiety attack.
What Causes Anxiety Attacks?
Anxiety attacks may be triggered by an illness or a stressful situation, or they may come on unexpectedly. The memory of a stressful event that occurred in the past can also cause an anxiety attack.
When To Get Help For Anxiety Attacks
Anxiety attacks can be very distressing and debilitating. Some sufferers have found supplements or home care techniques that allow them to manage anxiety attacks before they become a problem. But you may need to seek the help of a natural health care professional or licensed therapist if your anxiety attacks are interrupting your daily activities and preventing you from leading a normal life. Seek professional help immediately if you experience a sudden anxiety attack that you cannot control, or if you experience chest pain, sweating, difficulty breathing, or pain in your jaw, neck and arm during an attack.
Preventing Anxiety Attacks
Exercise: Any cardiovascular exercise that increases your heart rate is a good way to reduce anxiety and the stress that may cause an anxiety attack. Walking, swimming, biking, Pilates and aerobics are good choices.
Relaxation: Practicing relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation may help to alleviate anxiety and provide tools for controlling symptoms during an anxiety attack.
Avoid Certain Substances: Avoid using substances such as drugs, alcohol, and coffee that can contribute to or aggravate the symptoms of anxiety.
Dietary Changes: Many people have found that eating a vegetarian diet can decrease feelings of anxiety. Red meat, in particular, releases stress hormones within the body. Whole grains, on the other hand, release endorphins that promote a sense of well being.
Managing Anxiety Attacks
Herbs: Herbs have been used for thousands of years to treat both physical and mental illnesses. There are several herbs that can be used to decrease anxiety and reduce the symptoms of anxiety attacks. Talk with your health care professional before you try any new herbs or herbal combinations. Herbs known as adaptogens, such as ginseng, (Panax ginseng), wild yam (Dioscorea villosa), borage (Borago officinalis), licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile), milk thistle (Silybum marianum), and nettle (Urtica dioica) may help to alleviate anxiety attacks. Other herbs that may be helpful include:
Chamomile: (Matricaria chamomilla) This herb is often associated with relaxation. It may be helpful in reducing anxiety.
Kava: (Piper methysticum) Kava is helpful for mild anxiety.
St John’s Wort: (Hypericum perforatum) St John’s Wort has been used for many years to help promote an overall sense of well being and reduce stress and anxiety.
Supplements: As with herbs, check with your health care provider before introducing any new supplements to your diet.
5-HTP: (5-hydroxytryptophan) This supplement is a mood lifter that may help to promote restful sleep and decrease anxiety.
Inositol: Inositol may be helpful in decreasing anxiety with long term use.
Acupuncture: Anxiety causes tension that disrupts the flow of the qi. Acupuncture can help to restore harmony and induce a state of deep relaxation.
Mental Exercises: Meditation, guided imagery, art, music, and other mental exercises are a useful way to reduce stress and promote relaxation in your life.
Relaxation Techniques: Slow, diaphragmatic breathing and conscious muscle relaxation can help to manage stress by calming the body and clearing the mind of stressors.
Aromatherapy: Essential oils of lavender, chamomile, geranium, rose, neroli, sweet marjoram, and ylang-ylang are commonly recommended for stress relief. They help to reduce anxiety and tension and can be used in a massage, added to a bath, or inhaled through a vaporizer.
Massage: A regular massage in which the practitioner uses such techniques as rubbing, kneading, and pummeling, can be very beneficial in the management of anxiety attacks. It can help to increase blood circulation, reduce pain, and relieve muscle tension. Massage also help to release endorphins, substances that have a mood-enhancing effect. Authors Details: Dr. Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, Ph.D, ND, DACBN