Anxiety attack, also known as a panic attack, is described as an episode of intense fear and discomfort. It develops gradually and reaches a peak within 10 minutes. They may be very short while sometimes they form a series of episodes lasting hours.
Symptoms of anxiety attacks are very similar to the symptoms of a heart attack. Sufferers often describe it as a sense of dying, having a heart attack or nervous breakdown. The most common symptoms include accelerated heart rate, sweating, trembling, muscle tension, shortness of breath, feelings of choking, chest pain, nausea, dizziness, weakness in the knees, confusion, and feeling the need to escape.
Panic disorders may be hereditary. They occur more often in women and in people with above average intelligence. They can also be caused by illness such as obsessive compulsive disorder, hypoglycemia, hyperthyroidism, or a vitamin B deficiency. Stress or a memory of a stressful event that occurred in the past may also trigger a panic attack, while some people with phobias often experience anxiety attacks as a result of contact with a phobic object or situation.
Treatment and prevention
It is normal to be worried when under pressure or stress, but when anxiety is constant and affects normal living, relationships and activities, a person may be suffering from an anxiety disorder. There are many treatments and home care techniques that can help reduce anxiety symptoms and bring back control in a patient's life.
- Exercise - cardiovascular exercises increase the heart rate and thus reduce anxiety and stress. Walking, swimming, biking, inline skating, pilates and aerobics are recommended.
- Relaxation - yoga and meditation may help strengthen the body and mind while providing mental peace.
- Avoiding certain substances - drugs, alcohol and coffee can trigger anxiety attacks and thus should be restricted from use.
- Proper diet - a vegetarian diet can help in anxiety treatment. Red meat, for example, releases stress hormones in the body.
A health care professional should be consulted before taking any of herbal solutions. Herbal remedies for anxiety have traditionally included the fallowing herbs known as adaptogens - natural products with the ability to increase body's resistance to stress, anxiety and trauma:
- ginseng (Panax ginseng)
- wild yam (Dioscorea villosa)
- borage (Borago officinalis)
- licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
- chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile)
- milk thistle (Silybum marianum)
- and nettle (Urtica dioica)