If you have an attack of anxiety, you will probably feel apprehensive and tense, and be unable to concentrate, to think clearly, or to sleep well. You may have frightening dreams and occasional symptoms of fear such as a pounding heart, sweating palms, trembling, or diarrhea.
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Some people in a state of anxiety find it hard to breathe, as if their lungs are under constant pressure. And they may become convinced that they have heart or stomach trouble when in fact they are physically healthy . A man may have trouble maintaining an erection or may have premature ejaculation . In so-called “anxiety attacks,” which can occur apparently without cause at any time, the physical symptoms of fear intensify alarmingly.
What are The Risks?
Anxiety is a very common form of psychological disorder. It is slightly more common in women than men, and adolescents and the elderly are especially susceptible. If severe anxiety is not treated, you may sink into psychotic depression.
What Should be Done?
If your anxiety is caused by a specific stress, try to remove it. For example, consider changing jobs if your current work makes you anxious. If there is no way to deal with the stress, or if severe anxiety persists, consult your physician, who will examine you to determine whether your symptoms may be due to a physical condition such as an over-active thyroid gland or a vascular disorder of the brain .
If no physical cause for your symptoms is found, you may be referred to a specialist. The first time you have an anxiety attack, you may think you are having a heart attack. To be on the safe side, call your physician. If he or she is not available, call an ambulance to take you to a hospital.
What is The Treatment?
Self-help: Various methods of relaxation can lessen the severity of symptoms. Whenever you feel tense and troubled, try doing relaxation exercises or some physical activity such as swimming, jogging, or brisk walking.
Professional help: Your physician may suggest exercises to relax tense muscles. In addition, or alternatively, your doctor may prescribe an anti-anxiety drug or recommend psychotherapy. Severe cases may also require a period of hospitalization.
What are The Long-Term Prospects?
If your disorder is due to a stress that can be dealt with, you have a good chance of permanent cure. But if you are anxiety-prone or have free-floating anxiety, recurrent attacks are likely. You may be able to avoid them, or at least minimize symptoms, by continuing to do relaxation exercises even when you are not actively anxious.
Ask your doctor if there is a drug that you can take as soon as you feel that an attack is beginning.