Chat with us, powered by LiveChat

Category: Anxiety

Signs and Symptoms of a Silent Panic Attack

Silent panic attacks can occur without warning and cause significant distress at the moment they occur. Not only that, but many people go to great lengths to avoid having a panic attack in public. As a result, they avoid living their life the way they want to—contributing to diminished mental health and lower quality of life.

North Atlanta Behavioral Health is here to help you overcome panic attacks and other mental health symptoms. Visit our admissions page today to learn more.

Silent Panic Attacks: Signs and Symptoms

Silent panic attacks are panic attacks without the typical physical symptoms.

When you have a silent panic attack, you experience the overwhelming fear and anxiety that characterizes panic. However, you don’t display outward physical symptoms like breathing difficulty, tremors, or sweating. Silent panic attacks, therefore, have less apparent symptoms and could go unrecognized as a result.

The signs and symptoms of silent panic attacks include the following:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Racing heart rate
  • Tingling in the limbs
  • Feeling weak
  • Intrusive or racing thoughts
  • Headache
  • Throat closing up
  • Changes in vision (light sensitivity, blurry)
  • Feeling detached or “derealization”

Thus, symptoms of a silent panic attack are subtle and not as readily apparent to others. These symptoms can even be difficult to describe to other people. For instance, derealization means you feel detached from your environment or body—and other people wouldn’t notice this symptom.

What Causes Silent Panic Attacks?

The causes of silent panic attacks aren’t well known. However, some factors could make you more susceptible, including:

  • Family history of panic attacks, anxiety, or other mental health disorders
  • Imbalance of brain chemicals that control your response to fear
  • History of trauma
  • Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)
  • Chronic stress
  • Negative thinking and perfectionism
  • Significant life changes (moving, loss of a loved one, childbirth)

Overall, underlying factors like these could lead to the development of any mental health disorder when you don’t have support and healthy coping skills. Oftentimes, mental health disorders result from maladaptive coping strategies (or no coping strategies) for stressors.

In other words, when you don’t have a healthy way to cope with stress, you are more vulnerable to developing disorders, like panic attacks and anxiety.

Silent vs. Regular Panic Attacks: What’s the Difference?

As stated above, the primary difference between silent and regular panic attacks is in the presentation of symptoms.

People with silent panic attacks have primarily internal and psychological symptoms. This means that other people won’t notice your symptoms. However, you will experience significant distress from them—and they will be quite noticeable to you.

But, with a regular panic attack, you might have symptoms such as:

  • Heart palpitations
  • Tremors or shaking
  • Troubled or labored breathing
  • Profuse sweating
  • Tightness in the chest

Panic attacks sometimes occur as a symptom of an underlying anxiety disorder. Other times, panic attacks manifest into a type of anxiety disorder called a panic disorder.

What is a Panic Disorder?

A panic disorder is defined by frequent panic attacks (silent or regular) as well as an overwhelming fear of having an attack.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), “[a]bout 2-3% of Americans experience panic disorder in a given year and it is twice as common in women than in men.”

Therefore, the challenge with a panic disorder is two-fold. On one hand, you experience debilitating panic attacks, which can come up at any time and often without any warning. On the other hand, you also fear having a panic attack, which might negatively impact your life as well.

Oftentimes, it’s the fear of having an attack that creates the most problems.

You might avoid situations where a panic attack would be embarrassing or dangerous. As a result, you might avoid socializing, going to a store, driving a car, or interviewing for a job.

Fortunately, there are solutions to managing panic attacks and treating panic disorders.

How Are Panic Disorders Treated?

Panic disorder treatment focuses on two things: (1) relief at the moment and (2) prevention of future attacks.

1. Relief for a Panic Attack When It Happens

What does “relief at the moment” mean with a panic attack? Well, this means being prepared for a panic attack so that you can cope with it more easily. In other words, if you can’t prevent the attack, you can learn to manage it when it occurs.

Some ways to deal with a panic attack when it happens include:

  • Focusing on something external, such as music, sights, smells, or sounds
  • Deep breathing to control your heart rate and shortness of breath
  • Getting to a safe space with less stimulation and people
  • Remember that this will pass

These tips can also reduce the unpleasant aftereffects—commonly called a panic attack hangover. In addition, your psychiatrist might prescribe fast-acting anti-anxiety medications to help you calm down quickly during a panic attack.

2. Preventing Panic Attacks

What about prevention? After all, if you have a panic disorder, you’d rather never have another panic attack again.

First off, remember that the better prepared you are for a panic attack, the less fear and anxiety you will feel about them. This will offer some relief, so think of preparation as an act of prevention—just being ready for an attack could reduce your anxiety and panic symptoms.

Still, there are treatment options that help to prevent panic attacks, including:

  • Psychiatry: Psychiatric medications can help to prevent panic attacks by alleviating the anxious thoughts and feelings that lead to them.
  • Psychotherapy: Individual and group therapy can help you cope with the psychological symptoms that accompany and cause panic attacks.
  • Holistic approaches: Panic disorders affect all aspects of your health and well-being. Addressing your physical and spiritual wellness with holistic therapy can help you manage your disorder.

Get Help for Panic Disorders Today

Silent panic attacks could be a sign of a panic disorder. If you experience overwhelming dread and panic frequently, our outpatient mental health treatment programs can help you. At North Atlanta Behavioral Health, we offer treatment for panic disorders as well as related anxiety disorders.

Contact us today to start panic disorder treatment in Atlanta, Georgia.

Read More

What is High-Functioning Anxiety? Signs and Symptoms

Anxiety is one of the most common types of mental health disorders. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2019 “Over 15% of adults experienced symptoms of anxiety that were either mild, moderate, or severe in the past 2 weeks.” However, some people have high-functioning anxiety—meaning they have anxiety and don’t even know it.

North Atlanta Behavioral Health is here to help you free yourself from the constraints of your anxiety. Visit our admissions page today to get started.

9 Signs and Symptoms of High-Functioning Anxiety

High-functioning anxiety is a type of persistent worry or fear that doesn’t interfere with your ability to function in daily life. So, you can maintain a job, complete tasks and chores, and even appear as a highly accomplished person to others. Still, under the surface, you feel like something is off.

The following are signs and symptoms of high-functioning anxiety:

1. Overachieving

To others, you appear like you’ve got everything together. In fact, you are likely successful in your field or do extremely well in school. However, the truth is that your anxiety motivates much of your outward overachieving behaviors.

There is a big difference between excelling and overachieving. Essentially, overachievers set impossibly high standards for themselves. Then, they harshly criticize themselves if they don’t meet these standards.

Excelling in your hobbies, passions, profession, school, or other interests isn’t a sign of high-functioning anxiety. But if your accomplishments never seem good enough or you equate any minor mistake with a total failure, you might have an underlying anxiety disorder.

2. Overanalyzing

Overanalyzing or overthinking means you obsess over every possible outcome from past events or when planning for the future. While critical thinking and learning from the past can be healthy, pouring over every detail can get in the way of moving forward.

You might struggle to let things go or plan for the future. Because of this, you get stuck in indecision or ruminate past events. Oftentimes, this is driven by excessive worry and anxiety.

Furthermore, overanalyzing a task or event can lead to procrastination.

3. Avoidance

Avoidance is a maladaptive way of coping with anxiety. This means you avoid any situation, person, place, or thing that triggers your anxiety. Moreover, you often avoid opportunities that would ultimately enhance your life.

While everyone has phobias and avoids certain things, maladaptive avoidance limits your ability to live a healthy and fulfilling life.

4. Need for Control

Oftentimes, a person with anxiety thinks that if everything goes a certain way, then their anxiety won’t come up. Unfortunately, you can’t control every possible outcome. And several factors will happen outside of your control—despite any preparation.

Letting go of the need for control is an important skill for people with high-functioning anxiety.

5. Fear of Disappointing Others

The fear of disappointing others leads to other issues, such as negative self-talk and perfectionism. It’s important to find a balance between meeting other people’s expectations and doing the best that you can. After all, you can’t control how others respond to you—even when you do your best.

6. Self-Doubt

Self-doubt often paralyzes people with high-functioning anxiety as well as a similar issue called high-functioning depression. It can also get in the way of celebrating your successes and accomplishments. This may even lead to what’s called “imposter syndrome”—where you fear that everyone else will “find out” that you aren’t as competent as you appear.

7. Racing Thoughts

Racing thoughts are a common symptom of anxiety. It might seem like the noise in your head never goes away. You’re always thinking and can’t prioritize one thought over another.

8. Unable to Relax

You might also struggle to relax. This could be the result of other symptoms—especially racing thoughts. When you have a minute to settle down, your mind doesn’t stop.

Oftentimes, when you do take a break, you feel unproductive or that you must be doing something else. And, when you have nothing to focus on, you start overthinking or ruminating.

9. Physical Symptoms (With No Medical Explanation)

Anxiety doesn’t only affect your mental health. You can have physical symptoms resulting from underlying anxiety. These symptoms occur with no medical explanation.

Physical symptoms of high-functioning anxiety include the following:

  • Muscle tension
  • Headache and migraine
  • Excessive sweating
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Sleep disturbances

What Causes High-Functioning Anxiety?

There are several possible causes of high-functioning anxiety, including:

  • Genetics: You might be born with a predisposition for anxiety. Thus, your parents or other close relatives could also have anxiety disorders.
  • Home environment: Is your home life chaotic? How about during childhood? If you’re dealing with significant stress at home, you could develop an anxiety disorder.
  • Childhood trauma: Early traumatic experiences can have a profound effect on your adulthood. You might have learned maladaptive coping skills, such as avoidance behaviors. In addition, you could have become an overachiever to please neglectful or abusive parents.
  • Stressful workplace: Do you often take work home with you or feel a lot of pressure at work? This kind of stress can lead to anxiety because you’re rarely ever able to relax.
  • Brain chemistry: Anxiety and other mental health disorders could be caused by chemical imbalances in the brain. Certain chemicals, like dopamine and serotonin, help you feel good, calm, accomplished, and focused. On the other hand, an overabundance of stress hormones like cortisol contributes to excessive stress and anxiety.

What Can I Do to Manage My Anxiety?

Once you are aware of your anxiety you can take steps to manage it. Managing anxiety and reducing stress often go hand-in-hand. So, if you focus on stress reduction techniques, your anxiety should also go down.

Tips to manage anxiety and reduce stress include the following:

  • Daily relaxation: Schedule a few minutes per day to relax. You might listen to music, meditate, or engage in deep breathing.
  • Avoid comparing yourself to others: Comparing yourself and your life to others can drive your anxiety. Take a break from social media, as this might expose you to unrealistic comparisons.
  • Celebrate Your Accomplishments: If you have high-functioning anxiety, you probably think a lot about your mistakes or failures. Celebrating your successes and accomplishments can help you develop a realistic self-image.
  • Talk About It: Sharing your inner experiences with others can help you manage your anxiety. When you hold things in, they can spiral out of control. Talk to a trusted friend or family member about your fears and anxieties.
  • Move Your Body: Exercise, a walk around the block, stretching, dancing—whatever gets you moving—can help you manage anxiety. Movement helps to relieve stress and stored energy in the body.

The above-mentioned tips can help you manage anxiety. However, if your high-functioning anxiety is out of control, you could have an anxiety disorder. For this, you need professional treatment to address a mental health disorder.

Professional treatment for anxiety includes the following:

  • Medications: A psychiatrist can prescribe anti-anxiety or anti-depressants to restore chemical imbalances that might cause anxiety.
  • Psychotherapy: During individual or group therapy, you can learn to change the way you think and perceive the world around you. You can also learn new ways to cope with stress.
  • Peer support: Anxiety can often make you feel all alone in your struggles and thoughts. Peer support groups help you realize you aren’t alone and provide a safe place to share with others.
  • Holistic approaches: Anxiety disorders affect every aspect of your health. Holistic approaches, like yoga, meditation, and red light therapy, can help you regain a sense of well-being.

Get High-Functioning Anxiety Under Control Today

High-functioning anxiety can be difficult to identify. However, awareness of an underlying issue is the first step to healing. At North Atlanta Behavioral Health, we offer outpatient mental health treatment programs for anxiety and other disorders.

Contact us today to get your anxiety under control.

Read More

Panic Attack Hangover: The After Effects of a Panic Attack

If you’ve ever had a panic attack, you know how exhausting it can be. Panic attacks trigger a series of intense physical and emotional reactions in a short amount of time. The after effects, commonly called a panic attack hangover, leave you feeling drained and run down.

Panic attacks are a symptom of an anxiety disorder. Anxiety, along with depression, is one of the most common types of mental health disorders in the US. In February 2023, 32.3% of adults reported symptoms of anxiety or depression, according to KFF.

The good news is that you can find evidence-based treatment for anxiety. While anxiety feels overwhelming, you can learn to cope with your symptoms and reduce your chances of having panic attacks.

What Are the Symptoms of a Panic Attack?

A panic attack sets off your body’s flight or fight response. This response system helps you when you are threatened or are in imminent danger. Essentially, the flight or fight response releases hormones that help you either escape or combat danger.

But, with a panic attack, there is no imminent threat. So, your body builds energy, yet you have no outlet for it—nothing to fight or run away from. As a result, this energy expends itself within your body and can cause a panic attack.

The following are common symptoms of a panic attack:

  • Pounding and racing heart
  • Sweating
  • Chest tightness
  • Nausea and dizziness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Chills or hot flashes
  • Stomach pain
  • Feeling weak

These symptoms are intense and usually peak within about 10 minutes. After about 20-30 minutes, most of these symptoms go away. Afterward, you will feel the after effects.

[Recommended: “Is Panic Disorder a Disability?” + “Signs and Symptoms of a Silent Panic Attack“]

What Are the After Effects of a Panic Attack?

The after effects of a panic attack, or a panic attack hangover, can occur for several hours or even days after a panic attack. After an intense surge of physical reactions within a short period of time, most people feel drained.

The effects of a panic attack hangover include the following:

  • Fatigue and exhaustion
  • Body pains
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Feeling on edge or uneasy
  • Muscle soreness
  • Trembling and shaking
  • Chest pain

In addition, some symptoms of a panic attack hangover can include lingering symptoms of the panic attack itself—but less intense. And, you could also feel somewhat down or vulnerable after a panic attack. Some people feel ashamed or embarrassed about their panic attacks, which can lead to emotional and mental health symptoms.

What Causes a Panic Attack Hangover?

A panic attack hangover is a result of your adrenaline levels returning to normal. During a panic attack, adrenaline levels spike, increasing your alertness, energy, and blood flow to your muscles. This intense burst of energy and alertness leaves you feeling fatigued and emotionally drained.

In other words, your body expends a tremendous amount of energy within a short amount of time during a panic attack. As a result, you feel these effects as a panic attack hangover.

How to Recover From a Panic Attack Hangover

You can recover from a panic attack to lessen the severity of the after effects. The following holistic tips can help you recover from a panic attack hangover:

  • Light exercise and movement: A panic attack can leave you feeling fatigued, however, moving your body can help with the after effects. Exercise improves blood flow and releases endorphins that help you stabilize your mood after a panic attack. You can do something with low intensity, like stretching, yoga, or going for a walk.
  • Get some rest: If you can take a short nap, this can also restore some of your energy. However, try not to nap too long or you may disrupt your sleep cycle. This can make things worse if you don’t get restful sleep at night.
  • Eat a healthy snack: Eating something healthy like nuts or fruit can restore glucose levels in your blood. In turn, this can give you energy and reduce symptoms like headache and fatigue.
  • Go someplace else to recover: Oftentimes, an overwhelming environment can trigger a panic attack. So, to recover, go to a restful and secluded place. That way, you can recover and reduce your chances of triggering another panic attack.
  • Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness exercises can help you redirect your focus. You can try deep breathing, listening to music, taking a walk in nature, or body scanning. The important thing is to focus on something in your environment to take your mind off your panic triggers.
  • Call a loved one: Talking to someone you can trust about what happened can help you recover from a panic attack hangover. This can help you vent and process your feelings. You might also figure out what triggered your panic attack by talking things through.

Panic attacks are distressing and can make you feel like something horrible is happening to you. However, these are often the result of a specific trigger or a buildup of unresolved anxiety. So, if you struggle with panic attacks, finding a mental health treatment program can help you learn healthy ways of coping with stress and anxiety.

Get Help for Panic Attacks and Anxiety Disorders Today

At North Atlanta Behavioral Health, we understand that panic attacks can be draining and overwhelming. Afterward, the panic attack hangover can leave you feeling weak, fatigued, and even ashamed. However, anxiety disorders that cause panic attacks can be treated, and many people make a full recovery from their disorders.

Contact us today to begin treatment for anxiety and panic attacks.

Read More