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How to Calm An Anxiety Attack

Anxiety is common for many people, but some may feel it more intensely than others. It is typically related to stressors or the anticipation of stressors that induce symptoms such as worry, distress, and fearfulness. 

Some of the most common anxiety-related disorders are:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
  • Panic Disorder
  • Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Specific Phobias
  • Agoraphobia
  • Separation Anxiety Disorder

We’ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions about calming anxiety attacks.

What does an anxiety attack feel like?

Anxiety attacks are similar to panic attacks in that the stressors induce an episode of acute and intensified anxiety-related symptoms, which can be sudden. Symptoms are a combination of physical and psychological responses.

Physical responses may include:

  • Heart palpitations or accelerated heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Shaking
  • Shortness of breath
  • Choking sensation
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Chills or hot flashes
  • Numbness
  • Tingling

Some of the psychological responses may include a sense of impending doom or danger, fearing death, or fearing losing control of one’s self.

It’s important to remember that these episodes are temporary, and symptoms will disappear gradually. However, in the case of frequent episodes, it’s a good idea to consult a professional about how to treat any underlying conditions or triggers that may be causing the attacks.

In the meantime, there are helpful tools you can use to fight back against anxiety attacks, to either stave off or manage episodes more intentionally and successfully than before.

How do you calm down an anxiety attack fast?

There are a few ways to help manage your anxiety levels and reaction to an anxiety attack. One primary way is to have a healthy perspective on your anxiety in general, accepting the experience as opposed to avoiding it, which will only exacerbate the symptoms of your struggle. Remember, anxiety is natural and very common.

Another day-to-day consideration is to be mindful about what you’re putting in your body. Be cautious when drinking stimulants such as alcohol or caffeine, as both can induce and worsen your anxiety.

An additional habit helpful for anxiety is daily exercise. It gives your mind something to concentrate on, forces you to breathe, and exerts energy in a way that can release your anxiousness. Even when you are having a moment of anxiety, immediately exercising can help weather any sort of attack you might be having.

What is the 3 3 3 rule for anxiety attacks?

The 3-3-3 Rule is a common coping tool for anxiety attacks, redirecting and grounding the mind to your surroundings to effectively calm and alleviate anxiety and its accompanying symptoms.

In the case of heightened anxiety or an incoming anxiety attack,

  • Name 3 things you see
  • Name 3 sounds you hear
  • Touch or move 3 things within reach, including your own limbs

This technique is not to replace any serious medication or treatment for anxiety disorders, and your trusted medical professional should examine ongoing and recurring episodes of heightened anxiety and anxiety-related attacks.

How long can an anxiety attack last?

The duration of an anxiety attack varies from person to person and the particular underlying conditions. Anxiety symptoms may linger for a short period (minutes to an hour) or may be prolonged (days, even weeks).

What triggers anxiety?

Everybody’s triggers are different, but some common causes of anxiety range from internal triggers to external, environmental triggers.

Common triggers of anxiety include:

  • Stress-inducing events (job stresses, interviews, tests, etc.)
  • Negative thought patterns
  • Health diagnoses and conditions
  • Caffeine
  • Medications
  • Social interaction (meeting new people, public speaking, etc.)
  • Relational conflicts
  • Traumas (such as accidents or abuse)
  • Life changes (moving, changing occupations, new responsibilities)
  • Low blood sugar (not eating enough)

How to help a loved one who is experiencing an anxiety attack

Outpatient Anxiety Treatment

At Fifth Avenue Psychiatry, we give New York City executives a space to take on addiction, alcoholism, and mental health struggles directly with privacy and without interrupting their professional lives. 

We are a team of highly trained Psychologists and Psychiatrists who can use the most progressive therapeutic treatment approaches, including medication if necessary. 

Call us, and we can design a personalized program just for you.