Anxiety attack: a psychiatrist's trick to feel better in a few minutes

Anxiety attack: a psychiatrist’s trick to feel better in a few minutes

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According to statistics from the Haute Autorité de Santé, 15% of adults aged 18 to 65 have severe anxiety disorders during the year.

“Anxiety is a particular fear that finds its origin in childhood and in particular in childhood trauma, recalls Laure Fillette, a psychologist in Paris. Anxiety, unlike the so-called classic fear, does not manifest itself in the face of real danger in the present: the anxious subject unconsciously fantasizes about a danger that does not exist (fear of dying, going crazy, getting seriously ill, etc.). In psychoanalysis we speak of anxiety neurosis to designate the unconscious tendency of a person to feed these terrifying fantasies.

Anxiety attacks are dramatic manifestations of anxiety. They manifest as sudden episodes of intense fearthat lead to about physical symptoms. “The anxiety attack is characterized by a feeling of fear and by a set of physical sensations that put the subject in a position of greater discomfort,” summarizes the Parisian psychologist.

The subject in crisis sees his increased cardiorespiratory rateits tie one’s throatits tense muscles. “It is a flight posture: all these sensations accompany the physiological mechanisms that allow you to flee. The problem is that, in reality, there is no danger in running away. Thus, the subject, blocked, experiences painful moments that easily lead to many times, to avoid this outcome, he feels the need to leave the place where he is: moving temporarily relieves physical discomfort, “explains the specialist.

How to feel better during an anxiety attack?

“He is at the beginning very difficult to get relief quickly from an anxiety attack“, insists Laure Fillette at first. These crises can last a few minutes, even an hour, with an average of 20 to 30 minutes. However, the specialist suggests some steps to alleviate these traumatic crises.

leave where you are

“It’s often an essential step for the person who is having an anxiety attack; they need to get out,” says Laure Fillette. “I will say that this escape solution should be accepted if it is the only one that calms the patient. This alternative allows you to become aware that you can perfectly leave the place you are in and possibly return to it later. This is usually essential, at least during the first crises. The mistake would be to force someone who is having an anxiety attack to stay still.”, adds the specialist.

Be aware of your anxiety

Then we should try work on awareness, knowledge of unconscious fantasies that are at the origin of anxiety and crises“, he explains. This work is usually done with the help of a mental health professional, but you can try to identify the triggers of the anxiety attack. Ask yourself these questions, for example: “Did something affect me, shortly before my attack ? What worries me now? What happened today that might upset me?

Getting back in touch with reality

Once the trigger has been partially identified, it is about reconnecting with reality. “You have to try to calm down and understand that this anxiety is not rooted in reality by putting your situation in perspective,” explains the specialist. If you can’t do it on your own, you can talk to a parent or loved one who knows you. enough to find the words that calm you down.

Anxiety attack: the solutions to calm it down

Practice heart coherence

Breathing exercises can reduce the occurrence of anxiety attacks. “For people who are often anxious, I advise them to do, regularly, cardiac coherence sessions“, emphasizes Laure Fillette.

This method, which is based on cardiac resonance, involves inhaling for 5 seconds, then exhaling for 5 seconds, all for a duration of 5 minutes. Ideally, you should do this exercise 3 times a day.

Consult a specialist

While it is important to relieve anxiety attacks when they occur, it is necessary to go to their source. “Consulting a specialist helps to identify the origin of anxiety, explains the psychologist. If there are periods of life that are more or less conducive to the onset of anxiety attacks, these symptoms always find their origin in childhood and only quality analysis work can overcome them”.

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