Mental health is a serious issue in the Latino community. Everyday worries like our jobs, children, and problems at home can lead to people stressing out, feeling nervous and feeling anxious from time to time. But for some people anxiety can take over their lives and prevent them from doing things they have to do.
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How can you tell an anxiety attack from an anxiety disorder? Anxiety can come at any time and in different ways, such as panic attacks, fears or phobias, and social anxiety. There are some people that are natural worriers, but when you constantly worry about every little detail, then you might have a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
Many people lose sleep or sleep too much. They lie in bed fully awake worrying or thinking about specific problems. This too may be part of an anxiety disorder. Other people might have specific fear of things, such as snakes, rats, or spiders. These phobias can come at the least expected time, like when you’re traveling and your body freezes at the thought of encountering these things.
If you have constant tension on your arms and shoulders, this can be part of an anxiety disorder. Stress and anxiety can hurt. Often, people with anxiety can experience this pain at the exact same time, such as when they are lying in bed or entering a place they’re anxious about.
What to Do?
- Symptoms: Know the symptoms of an anxiety attack and write them down, pay attention to what your body is trying to tell you, such as chest pain, redness in the face, fast heartbeat, and difficulty breathing.
- Stop: Accept that you’re having an anxiety attack and learn how to relax because every attack will eventually come to an end.
- Breathe: Take short breaths and inhale and exhale. Loosen your shoulders and focus–inhale and exhale using your stomach.
- Stretch: If you feel your muscles tensing up, stretch your arms and breathe to relax your body.
- Visit Your Doctor: Many people have ended up in the ER thinking they’re having a heart attack, when it’s an anxiety attack. Talk to your doctor so he can recommend a therapist that can help you get to the bottom of your anxiety.
For more information about anxiety disorders, visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website.