Anxiety attacks typically last anywhere from 15 minutes to half an hour, but some people experience attacks that last much longer.
Anxiety attacks trigger the body's natural "fight or flight" reaction by releasing a large amount of adrenaline and other hormones into the bloodstream.
This causes increased heart rate, heavy breathing, sweating and other physiological symptoms.
The combination of intense emotions and physical effects can sometimes cause people to think they are having a heart attack or a nervous breakdown.
It is not uncommon for first-time anxiety attack sufferers to call 911 or rush to the emergency room.
Coping with an Anxiety Attack Aside from simply "riding it out", there are some simple ways to deal with a panic attack when it hits: Affirmation This method involves repeating a calming statement to yourself over and over.
For example, "No one has ever died from a panic attack" or "I am just having a panic attack, I will be fine.
" Breathing Exercises Breathing slowly in through the nose and out through the mouth can help focus the mind and have a meditative effect.
Be careful not to breathe in through the mouth or breath too rapidly - hyperventilation will likely make the panic worse.
Talking If you have someone nearby when a panic attack strikes, talking can be very effective.
It takes the mind away from the attack and helps bring calm.
What NOT to Do When you feel an anxiety attack coming on, here are some things to avoid, even though you may have heard them recommended: Breathing Into a Paper Bag You've no doubt seen this one in an old movie - someone starts to panic and they are told to breath into a paper bag.
Don't do it.
Reducing the flow of oxygen to the brain can actually make panic attacks worse.
Drugs and Alcohol Alcohol also reduces the flow of oxygen to the brain.
The effects of alcohol such as reduced inhibitions, poor judgment and depression can be a deadly combination when you are already dealing with a panic attack.
Many illicit drugs such as marijuana and cocaine can also make panic attacks much worse.
Caffeine Avoid caffeine and other stimulants, especially late and night if you experience nocturnal panic attacks.
Coping Isn't Enough - Preventing Anxiety Attacks from Happening Simply coping with anxiety attacks is no way to live.
Fortunately, there are natural drug-free ways to deal with panic disorder and get your life back.