The first step toward anxiety panic treatment is recognising the problem for what it is. People experience a wide range of symptoms with anxiety panic disorder, and often fear the symptoms are related to a physical illness, such as cancer or diabetes, which is going to debilitate them.
You have to realise that your anxiety is the cause of your physical illness. Never let yourself feel put down by someone who tells you that you are ‘imagining your symptoms’. Your symptoms are real.
When you experience rapid heartbeat or intestinal cramps or chest pains that often come with anxiety, those discomforts are truly happening. They have a physiologic reason for their existence, such as the muscle tension that makes asthma worse, or the body’s histologic response at the cellular level that results in hives.
There are many options to ameliorate your symptoms. You owe it to yourself to give each one of them a try and evaluate objectively which ones help you.
Many people begin anxiety panic treatment by experimenting with a variety of relaxation techniques. Deep breathing exercises help many people. You should develop a proper technique, and then practice it every day. If you become skillful at relaxing through deep breathing techniques, you can put them to work for you when you are having a panic attack or experiencing extreme anxiety. You will not have to think about how to do your exercises, it will come naturally. And your body will be programmed to respond quickly. Here are tips for proper deep breathing:
- Choose a chair in which you feel comfortable. It’s best to sit upright. Place one hand on your stomach-below your rib cage but above your waist. The other hand should rest on your breastbone.
- Inhale slowly through your nose. You will know you are using your diaphragm muscles for correct technique if the hand on your breastbone moves very little; the hand on your stomach should rise noticeably. Count slowly to five.
- Exhale slowly, this time counting to seven. This helps your lungs to accomplish a complete exchange of air. Contract your abdominal muscles, and once again your lower hand will be the one that moves.
- Repeat this for two minutes. If time permits, stop for a minute and breathe normally, then do the exercise again.
Guided imagery is a technique used for people experiencing both physical and behavioural illnesses. In this type of relaxation, you concentrate on images that you evoke because they relax you. It’s possible to choose topics ahead of time. For instance, you can imagine you are sitting on a beach watching the sun set over the water. Or you can think about being in the woods where you hear the wind rustling the leaves while birds sing.
If you cannot successfully bring images to mind, you can buy audiotapes; sit back and close your eyes while you play something that takes your mind elsewhere. There are books available with guided imagery exercises. You can get someone in your family to read you a different page from a favorite book every day. Some people play ‘white noise’ CDs during their relaxation time, or scent disks, so they can enjoy the sounds of the ocean or the scent of a pine trees.
Many people turn to support groups for effective anxiety panic treatments. Just meeting with people who share your same concerns can help, and you can learn what other people are doing to overcome panic or stress. Look for one in your community by calling your local health department or community mental health agency for a referral.
You can also try behavioural modification therapy. This broad topic breaks down into subcategories. You can find the one that applies to you, time management, anger management, assertiveness training, and other ways to recognise negative behaviours.
There are also useful medications for anxiety panic treatment. If you’ve had more than two or three panic attacks, talk to your doctor about your symptoms. He can rule out any physical disorders and he can help you find support centres in your community. Or, you and he might decide that medication is the right course of therapy for you. Pharmacology has come a long way in the past twenty-five years in producing effective therapies that no longer have the serious side effects of old medications. When you decide on the treatments that are most effective, you can overcome these symptoms.