If you wonder if you can die from an anxiety attack, the answer is no. Yet, in an extensive study of over 30 million people, researchers declared that those suffering from anxiety, most of these also suffering from depression, have an increased risk of dying from natural and unnatural causes.1 Anxiety is a reaction to unfamiliar situations or high-intensity stressful situations caused by fear. Persistent worry causes a negative response in the brain and body. Usually, it is difficult to distinguish between actual threats or perceived threats due to negative thinking. Therefore, mental health treatment is always advised if an individual is dealing with constant anxiety attacks, as recovery is essential to experience a fulfilled and productive life.
It is important to know the difference between an anxiety attack and a panic attack. Panic attacks are sudden and extreme, since shaking, intense chest pain, and a sense of detachment or control from yourself becomes apparent. Even though a fear of death takes over in the brain along with physical symptoms like excessive sweating, feelings of choking, and hot flashes, you shouldn’t worry about if you can die from a panic attack.
Although panic and anxiety attacks share side effects like an increased heart rate and shortness of breath, the two are on different levels. Anxiety attacks include muscle tension, irritability, and insomnia, even if sleep is disrupted only temporarily. Anticipation, fear, and high levels of stress work up a person to the point where an anxiety attack takes place.
Both versions of attacks help doctors diagnose a patient with the correct disorder. Anxiety is an emotional state of protection, signaling the mind and body to be alert. But, of course, anxiety can disrupt productivity and enjoyment of daily life when it becomes excessive and unmanageable.
Can anxiety cause brain damage? This is an excellent question to ask, especially if you are someone who battles consistent attacks. Anxiety affects the brain in numerous ways, but commonly known and serious attributes include stress hormones. When overly anxious, the brain floods the central nervous system with adrenaline and cortisol, which sends a warning signal down your body to be alert. Instead of realizing the danger is gone or was never there, anxiety will increase stress hormones and worsen symptoms.
When your brain is hyperactive, it becomes difficult to reason. In an anxiety-filled mind, when a chemical signal is sent to the brain's prefrontal cortex or the “wise counselor” since it is the part of the brain that enables us to think straight, the connection is weak, which causes irrationality and questionable behavior. Plus, negative memories may be stored, causing more intrusive thoughts and worsening anxiety symptoms. Due to these psychological mishaps, anxiety does affect the brain.
Everyone will experience some level of anxiety at some time in their life, but not everyone will deal with it in the same way. If you are struggling with long-term anxiety or are diagnosed with a disorder due to repetitive attacks, then try and limit certain factors that contribute to worsening symptoms. Here are some ways to naturally calm anxiety:
The best natural way to calm anxiety is to remember to breathe! If you feel an attack forming, breathe and focus your intention on encouraging yourself to be aware of your body, relaxing, and relieving any tension. There is no need to become overwhelmed, but it is a great tactic to prevent an attack before it happens.
Our mental health treatment program is taken very seriously at Banyan Boca, and our team of professionals knows what it takes to help patients reach recovery. We offer many levels of care and unique therapeutic methods and programs like cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational interviewing. There are many avenues an individual can take on the road to recovery. Our medical staff is here to design the right plan for you to get started and gain back control over your life.
If you or a loved one is battling with an anxiety disorder or other mental health illnesses, do not hesitate to speak with an experienced professional today. After realization, the next step is to seek help and establish a treatment plan that works best for you.