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A critical first step in how to cure anxiety is to understand just how the fear of having another anxiety attack perpetuates a 'vicious cycle of anxiety', making it much more difficult to cure it. Very often, people are identified as having general anxiety only after they have suffered an attack. And then the experience of that attack has a profound effect on how the victim views things from then on. This can turn into a vicious cycle of anxiety which can be difficult to break free from. But to cure anxiety you need to remove that fear and break the cycle.

The Fear of Another Anxiety Attack Can Trigger One

Unfortunately, the terrifying symptoms of an attack are so overwhelming that the victim never, ever, wants to experience them again. This builds up even more fear in the person with already higher-than-normal anxiety levels through their general anxiety. So the actual 'fear' of having another attack can 'trigger' one. The key is to get rid of that fear, thus breaking the vicious cycle, then cure the anxiety.

What can you do to stop constant anxiety and fear? Is it possible to stop panic attacks without medication?

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But Can the Symptoms Of Anxiety Attacks Really Be So Frightening?

Absolutely! Here are just a few of the most common symptoms; tightness across the chest, tight throat, hyperventilation, racing heart, irregular pounding heart beat, nausea, shaking, struggling for breath, tingling fingers and toes, dizziness, lightheadedness, feeling detached from reality and a real feeling of some impending doom. One of the most common feelings is of having a heart attack and about to die. These feelings are real to the victim.

What Are the Symptoms Of General Anxiety?

General anxiety is basically a propensity to continually worry unnecessarily, or irrationally, over situations or events that you wouldn't normally worry too much about. In other words, your worries are disproportionate to those situations or events. Typical physical symptoms are, constantly being tense or on edge, muscle tightness, fatigue for no reason, headaches, sleeping problems, hot flashes, dizziness, lightheadedness.

So when faced with a stressful situation like a bereavement, being trapped in an elevator, an exam, a job interview, etc., a sufferer's anxiety levels will explode, too much adrenalin will be produced, and the body will react with the symptoms of an anxiety attack.

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How Do You Cure Anxiety?

To cure anxiety, your doctor will no doubt prescribe anti-depression or anti-anxiety pills, and perhaps beta-blockers. Sometimes, they will prescribe anti-depression pills to be taken daily and anti-anxiety pills to be taken only when you feel an attack coming on. Drugs do work to cure the symptoms, but they have several bad side effects, which can put people off.

And there are therapies to help cure anxiety like counselling, psychotherapy, meditation, self-hypnosis, acupuncture, and so on. These work for some people, not for others. But they are really just 'managing' or 'coping' strategies.

You can see that these two treatment options either just work on the symptoms, or, help you manage your condition. They don't really address the underlying causes without which it is difficult to get a cure. And they can't do much about your 'fear' of having another anxiety attack. So they don't help you break out of that vicious cycle of anxiety, making it more difficult to cure anxiety.

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The best way to stop panic attacks is to do it before they reach their full strength. If you can learn to spot an attack at its earliest stage, there are many things you can do to stop it turning into a full-blown attack.

There are two stages to using this approach.

Stage one is to learn to spot the signs of an impending attack. Stage two is to know what to do when you spot those early warning signs.

Stage One

The key to everything with this approach is to know when an attack is coming before it gets out of control.

You know yourself, your mind, and your body better than anyone else, so it will be up to you to start looking for the common feelings, sensations, symptoms, and moods that are present moments before you have an attack.

Perhaps you're often dizzy right before an attack. Perhaps you notice your heart beating slightly faster. Perhaps you notice that you're sweating ever so slightly.

It's different for everyone, so make it a goal to learn the signs that you're about to have an attack.

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Stage Two

Stage two is all about how to stop panic attacks based on everything you learned in stage one.

The key to stopping the attack is to address whatever changes it causes in your mind or your body.

If, for example, your main early warning sign is dizziness, then anytime you experience that you might want to lie down and close your eyes.

If your main early warning sign is increased heartbeat then you may want to do some slow, deep breathing to reduce your pulse.

If the main warning sign is sweating, then you may want to go outside and get some cool air on your skin.

As you'll have noticed, the key here is to find the main thing that changes in you and your body right before an attack, and to do everything you can to address that change.

If you can do this, the very thing that normally causes your attacks will lose all its power and you'll have a very reliable way to stop panic attacks.

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Once you know what causes anxiety attacks, you'll be more able to address the underlying conditions and eliminate them. Anxiety attacks are terrifying, and those who have never suffered an anxiety attack can never really appreciate just how scary they can be. You'll discover the main causes and symptoms of anxiety attacks here.

Before we consider what causes anxiety attacks, we'll look at the symptoms. The symptoms of anxiety attacks are many, but the most common seem to be...

a fear of something bad going to happen
hyperventilation
dizziness
a feeling of being detached from your surroundings
tightness across the chest
tightness in the throat
racing heart
irregular heart beat
heart thumping in the chest
feeling sick
sweating
palpitations
tingling fingers and toes
tremors

You may not experience all of them during an anxiety attack, but you will experience several. One of the most common feelings during an attack is the real belief that you're having a heart attack. I can tell you it's a really scary experience!

So what causes anxiety attacks and why are they so scary? Anxiety attacks can happen without warning, but they don't happen without a reason. Something else has been going on in the background and some sort of 'trigger' has then sparked-off the attack. That 'something else in the background' is general anxiety, i.e. higher-than-normal levels of daily anxiety. And the trigger is usually a highly stressful event or situation, which may even have occurred some time before the actual attack.

You see, an anxiety attack -- also called a panic attack -- isn't the same as having a normal, short burst of stress / anxiety. For example, the normal reaction to an unexpected event like having to brake suddenly to avoid a child in the road. It normally takes just a short time for a person with normal levels of daily anxiety to recover from that.

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No, a person with general anxiety, faced with a similar highly stressful situation, will react much more severely. Their anxiety levels will be pushed, from already higher-than-normal levels, to extremely high levels. Then, far too much adrenalin is produced in the body and the outcome is the symptoms of an anxiety attack.

Since the beginning of mankind, adrenalin is naturally released in our bodies to help us survive dangerous situations, so we can make 'fight or flight' decisions fast, and, be physically prepared and capable of carrying them out.

But these are for 'real' danger situations. In a general anxiety condition, the person has totally 'irrational' fears and feelings of danger. So that when they experience a further sharp increase in anxiety or fear, the body reacts in the only way it knows how. But there is no physical enemy, to fight or run away from. So the victim suffers a whole range of symptoms that don't make sense to them. They are having an anxiety attack, and not knowing the cause is a really scary -- terrifying actually -- feeling.

So now that you know what causes anxiety attacks, what do you do about them? If you suffer from anxiety and anxiety attacks, there are two strands to your cure. The first is to get rid of the 'fear' of having another attack. This is so important because that fear alone can cause you to have another attack. Then once you have eliminated that fear, you are much better placed to get rid of your general anxiety.

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Mental imagery can do amazing things to a person's mindset. Basically all worry is due to mental imagery. This is because a person only worries about something he or she doesn't know the outcome to. Waiting for the results of a lab test to come back is one example. When you imagine a bad outcome, you will exhibit all the symptoms of a worried and nervous person. When you imagine a good outcome, none of these symptoms will be present.

The right kind of imagery can help a person in many different situations. The old public speaker's trick is to imagine his or her audience to be naked. This, of course may be difficult to get the hang of, but it certainly could change the speaker's mindset from one of being inferior to a much bolder one.

Using mental imagery can also help overcome a panic attack or other types of anxiety symptoms. There are some mental images that work very well for this. In this article, I would like to share one taught to me by a young school teacher who is wise beyond her years. This little trick helped me greatly when I was a panic sufferer. Like the public speaker trick, this one takes a little practice to master, but just thinking about this image will bring at least, some relief.

Chinese Handcuffs

When we were kids, we used to play with a toy known as Chinese Handcuffs or Chinese Finger Cuffs. These were simply a tubular device, about the width of a human finger that was woven out of bamboo. When an unsuspecting person would put both his index fingers in the finger cuff, he would become trapped in them.

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The harder he pulled his fingers apart, the tighter the device would become. Eventually, most people figured out the way to escape these finger cuffs is to stop pulling. I'll bet at one time or another, you have played with this toy and learned the trick to freeing your fingers as well.

Relax Your Way to Anxiety Freedom

Anxiety attacks work the same way Chinese Handcuffs work. The harder you try to pull out of one, the deeper you become immersed in it. Anxiety and panic attacks are fed by adrenaline. The more you try to fight your way out of an anxiety attack, the more adrenaline you create.

During a panic attack, use the mental imagery you are escaping a Chinese Handcuff. Don't actually try to do anything, just visualize escaping this device and the mental imagery will lead you away from feeding your anxiety and in many cases toward relief from it.

While this rarely cures anxiety disorder overnight, it certainly is effective in reversing an oncoming anxiety attack or just helping you find relief from a tough day.

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