Anxiety Health

How to stop an anxiety attack: definition and strategies

ataque ansiedad como detenerlo

The anxiety is an emotional and autonomous reaction of the our organism in front of the presentation of a stimulus that consider harmful. Therefore, it fulfils a biological and adaptative function that serves us to anticipate a possible danger.

The anxiety and the fear are related by his relation with a situation of danger, are not the same and fits to differentiate them to comprise the meaning of the term anxiety. Whereas the emotion of fear does reference to the perception of an identifiable present stimulus, in the anxiety produces  an anticipation of an unpredictable future stimulus.

>> Article related: When the anxiety is the solution and no the problem.

The problem of anxiety only arises in the moment that this reaction goes back  unreal and desadaptativa that turn it into a pathological anxiety. This  sucede when with regard to the normal state of anxiety produce  demonstrations more frequent, persistent or with an upper intensity that alters our behaviour and beliefs of irrational form which carries him to a state of excessive worry and incontrolable.

Between the criteria diagnostics of the Disorder of Anxiety Generalised according to the DSM-V find :

  • The individual can not control his worry.
  • At least this worry associates  to three or more than these symptoms: restlessness, fatigue, difficulty to concentrate , irritability, muscular tension or problems of dream.
  • The anxiety causes unrest and social deterioration, labour and other areas of normal operation.
  • It can not  explain by another type of disorder or derivative alteration of effects fisilógicos of the consumption of substances.

It remembers that if you seat that your life is being affected by this type of situations have to attend to a skilled psychological centre, as the one of Mila Herrera of Psicoclínica Barcelona.

Crisis of anxiety, definition.

Basically, a crisis of anxiety or attack of anxiety is an answer of panic during which unchains  a feeling of fear or anxiety accompanied of physical and mental unrest. This situation can so much give because of a present stimulus in the moment or without having clear the true motivate trigger, or be a cumulus of situations.

These crises are used to to have an approximate length from among 15 and 30 minutes being in the first minutes when it reaches  the maximum level of activation and unrest diminishing paulatinamente from the first 4-5 minutes.

The main symptoms that  suceden during an attack of anxiety are:

  • Negative and irrational thoughts.
  • Mental blockade.
  • Instinct of escaped of the place.
  • Fear to suffer an infarct.
  • Desesperanza And insecurity.
  • Loss of control.
  • Palpitaciones.
  • Sudoración.
  • Loss of strength.
  • Hiperventilación.
  • I suffocate, seasicknesses, shivers, tremors…
  • Nauseas.

Strategies to detain a crisis of anxiety.

Before at all, and as it explaining previously, results of little utililidad make any strategy in the first 4-5 minutes from the start of the attack. During this beak of anxiety, because of the high activity the fact to try reduce it the only that will attain is to expand it by the fact that it creates  greater frustration to the not being able to stop this situation.

In these first moments, simply has to :

  • Look for a space for sobrellevar the attack that was relaxed, but without escaping hastily of the place. That is to say, if for example we are in our place of work in an office, raise us and put us in another room that do not have people; or if we go driving detain the car.
  • Recognise the attack, take autoconsciencia and comprise that it does not go  to die of this situation.
  • Know that in few minutes, or at least the beak of anxiety, goes to remit and will find you much better.

Therefore, what does not have to  make is the contrary to here quoted. Not escaping of the place, since in this case would be conditioning us to this situation and could go back to occur us. Try avoid that there are a lot of people that overwhelms you, with that a person remain  with you is sufficient.

10 strategies to detain an attack of anxiety.

Under this initial base, expose a summary of some of the most efficient strategies to detain an attack of anxiety:

  1. Comprise the symptoms of an attack of anxiety, emotional and physicists, which already have enumerated previously. Not having fear to them is the best strategy, remembers that the autoconocimiento of our own organism is ours better tool to defend us of the attacks.
  2. You do not scare you. It seems easy to say it, but win the fear is the best strategy and if for example we resolve them escaping of the place of the facts will be boosting to that this fear grow and could develop a disorder of panic or a graver phobia. It is the moment to change the thought of “This is horrible! I go me to die!” By the one of “Voucher, this is a normal reaction of the organism like mechanism of adaptative defence… It will happen me  that it is not dangerous”. It is easy to say it, but believe me that with knowledge is easier autoaplicárselo afterwards to take the control of our thought.
  3. Calm you. As we already said, it looks for a place relaxed (without escaping) of the place where has produced  and wait to that happen  these first 4-5-6 minutes of beak of anxiety, the things will begin to calm  by himself alone if you do not feed them more.
  4. It breathes. It tries to make a diaphragmatic breath, breathing of slow form and relaxed so that the body restart his natural state. You can test to make a fast technician known like 4-7-8:
    • It takes air by the nose during 4 seconds.
    • It holds the breath during 7 seconds.
    • It expels the air during 8 seconds.
  5. It relaxes the body. You do not make exercise and mantente in a position relaxed, tumbado for example. Take into account that the organism is in a situation of tension of by yes, and what less tension contribute him extra faster will recover .
  6. Distract you. This measure is rather preventive. If you are liable or prevees that  avecina an attack of anxiety (this one same begins it to notice), distract you. For example, you can explain, do a call of telephone, put to organise the desk, read a book, go out to run, play to something, begin a conversation. It treats  to divert the anxious thought to other zones. It is a bit what sucede when you think in a polar bear, as we already explain in a previous article.

>> Article related: The phenomenon of the polar bear and the obsessive thoughts.

In the case that alive of recurrent form situations of attacks of anxiety have to attend to a skilled psychologist to initiate a specific training to darse  of the internal and external stimuli that produce these states of anxiety incontrolables. For this, the psychologists use different strategies like autorregistros, relaxation or cognitive restructuring or gradual exhibition to learn to lidiar with these irrational thoughts.

You do not feel you uncomfortable for attending to the psychologist, is a normal situation that makes more people of which create and that of natural form improve his quality of life, if have doubts on what means to attend to the psychologist can speak with some person that have gone and know like this some of the things that the people that go to the psychologist want that you know. Put him brake to your insecurities from already putting you in hands of a specialist.



Bouquets, F., Sandín, B., Belloch, To. Manual of Psicopatología, Volume II. Madrid: Mc Graw Hill

Tortella-Feliu, M (2014). The Disorders of Anxiety in the DSM-5. Fascicles of psychosomatic Medicine and psiquiatría of link. Magazine Iberoamericana Psychosomatic, 110. 

Iván Pico

Director y creador de Psicólogo Colegiado G-5480 entre otras cosas. Diplomado en Ciencias Empresariales y Máster en Orientación Profesional. Máster en Psicología del Trabajo y Organizaciones. Posgrado en Psicología del Deporte entre otras cosas. Visita la sección "Sobre mí" para saber más. ¿Quieres una consulta personalizada? ¡Escríbeme!

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