What Number Should I Contact If I Have Stress And Anxiety Issues During The Coronavirus Pandemic
- To contact the Disaster Distress Helpline, call 800-985-5990, or text TalkWithUs to 66746.
- To contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, call 800-273-8255.
- To talk to an online doctor about your concerns and to have your questions answered call 888-798-0620
If youd like to speak with a doctor from the convenience and safety of your home, try setting up an appointment with PlushCare. Our doctors make it easy to schedule a virtual appointment where you can talk to your doctor about your symptoms, receive a diagnosis, and be prescribed the medication you need. Just click here to get started.
When To See A Doctor
Whenever you experience excruciating chest pain, its best to see a doctor immediately. You want to rule out heart problems like coronary artery disease, which can potentially be fatal and dangerous. Coronary artery disease occurs when blood clots form on one or multiple heart vessels, therefore reducing blood flow and oxygen to the body. The heart will beat faster to compensate, therefore resulting in severe pain.
Doctors can use a variety of diagnostic exams to find the underlying causes so they can treat it immediately. However, if cardiac problems are eliminated, then its most likely an anxiety attack. When this is the case, your doctor can prescribe you the proper medication and refer you to a psychologist to initiate cognitive behavior therapy.
Since chest pain from coronary artery disease and anxiety attacks are very similar, it can be very tough to differentiate. Luckily, there are online clinics, such as GuruMD, that can give you access to an online healthcare provider. The doctor can initiate an examination through a video to provide you with a basic idea of whats going on. That way, you wont have to spend hours at urgent care.
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When Do People With Chest Pain Need Imaging Tests
You may need an imaging stress test if:
- Your chest pain comes on with physical effort or emotional stress and goes away with rest, especially if youre a man over 40 or a woman over 50.
- You have an abnormal ECG and cant get an accurate interpretation during an ECG treadmill test.
- You cant exercise.
- You have a higher risk. For example, you are a smoker, or you have uncontrolled diabetes or high blood pressure.
This report is for you to use when talking with your healthcare provider. It is not a substitute for medical advice and treatment. Use of this report is at your own risk.
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Could It Be A Heart Problem
Chest pain isn’t always caused by a problem with your heart, but it can sometimes be a symptom of:
- angina; where the blood supply to the muscles of the heart is restricted
- a;heart attack;;where the blood supply to part of the heart is suddenly blocked
Both of these conditions can cause a;dull, heavy or tight pain in the chest that can spread to the arms, neck, jaw or back. They can also cause additional symptoms, such as;breathlessness;and nausea.
The main differences between these conditions is that chest pain caused by angina;tends to be triggered by physical activity or emotional stress, and gets better with rest after a few minutes.
If you have previously been diagnosed with angina, the pain may also be relieved by your angina;medication.
Symptoms that;last;more than 15 minutes, occur at rest, and include sweating and vomiting are more likely to be caused by a heart attack.
Dial 999 immediately to request an ambulance if you think you or someone else is having a heart attack, or if you have the symptoms above and haven’t been diagnosed with a heart condition.
If you have an angina attack and you’ve previously been diagnosed with the condition, take the medication prescribed for you. A second dose can be taken after five minutes if the first dose is ineffective.
If there is no improvement five minutes after the second dose, call 999 and ask for an ambulance.
Working With Grief Support
Some people may feel they need tools or guidance to navigate a period of grief. Two approaches can help.
See a grief counselor. This is a specialist who is trained to help you make sense of your feelings of loss. Grief counselors help people to understand that there are many ways to express and come to terms with grief. They are particularly attuned to common reactions to grief, whether these reactions are physical, emotional, or cognitive.
Join a grief support group. Such groups are typically led by a counselor who encourages members to share their feelings and experiences. Being with others, expressing yourself, realizing that you’re not the only one going through a particular experience, and learning from others can be especially helpful.
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The Effects Of Hyperstimulation
When stress responses occur infrequently, the body can recover relatively quickly from the physiological, psychological, and emotional changes the stress response brings about. When stress responses occur too frequently and/or dramatically, however, such as from overly apprehensive behavior, the body has a more difficult time recovering, which can cause it to remain in a state of semi stress response readiness. We call this state stress-response hyperstimulation since stress hormones are stimulants .
Chronic stress can overwork the bodys systems, organs, and glands, which can then present symptoms of being overly stressed. Experiencing “chest tightness and pain” is a common symptom of chronic stress.
When you combine the above factors, its plain to see why so many anxious people end up in the emergency room each year due to chest tightness symptoms fearing they are coming from the heart .
According to a 2017 review article published in the journal Psychosomatics, one in three people experiences NCCP at some point in their lives. Many experience high levels of anxiety as a result.
Cardiovascular Morbidity And Mortality In Panic Disorder
Studies of patients with PD have found elevated rates of certain cardiovascular disorders, including hypertension, idiopathic cardiomyopathy, microvascular angina, and, possibly, sudden cardiac death. Furthermore, some longitudinal studies of patients with PD suggest higher rates of death from cardiovascular causes, especially among men.
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Getting Support And Treatment For Panic Attacks
Panic attacks can be incredibly frightening and cause you to worry about if and when another will happen again, causing a vicious cycle.
At Priory, we can help you to learn strategies so that you are able to better manage your panic attacks and reduce the likelihood of them happening in the future.
Cognitive behavioural therapy is an evidence based treatment available at Priory, where you learn how to identify and reframe your panic attack triggers and anxiety-inducing thought patterns.
Mindfulness sessions are also useful for learning how to identify and move past unpleasant thoughts and sensations without allowing panic to take over. During sessions at Priory, you can also receive relaxation training to understand deep breathing techniques and progressive muscle relaxation.
Exposure treatment may also be used after sessions in relaxation, cognitive reframing and mindfulness. During this time, you have the opportunity to practise the strategies you have learnt, and recognise that you can cope in challenging scenarios.
Certain medications, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors , or other medications, may be recommended or prescribed if necessary to further support in the management of your panic attacks.
If you think you are having a medical emergency, please seek immediate support.
Broken Heart Syndrome Versus Heart Attack
They may feel the same, but theyâre different. Heart attacks are caused by blockages of waxy buildup within the arteries leading to your heart. With broken heart syndrome, there arenât any blockages; the heart just doesnât pump blood as well as it should, which causes heart attack-like symptoms. When treated, people should recover from broken heart syndrome more quickly than from a heart attack, because the heart isnât damaged the same way.
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What Are The Symptoms Of An Anxiety Attack Vs A Heart Attack
The symptoms of anxiety present themselves differently, not just from one person to another but even in your own body. You might feel it in your stomach one day and your chest the next. This variation can make it a bit challenging to figure out whats causing your physical symptoms .;
Some people are prone to anxiety attacks or panic attacks, often leading to many physical manifestations of anxiety. With a panic attack, a person can have the sensation of choking, heart palpitations, sweating, shortness of breath, and chest pain. People with a generalized anxiety disorder may have those symptoms, as well as tremors, nausea, muscle tension, and dizziness .
What Anxiety Chest Tightness Can Feel Like
Anxiety chest tightness is often described as:
- An unusual tightness or pressure in your chest.
- An unusual pain or shooting pains in your chest.
- Sharp stabbing pains in your chest.
- Feels like your chest muscles are unusually tight or tense.
- Feels like a chest muscle or muscles are twitching, trembling, or stabbing.
- Feels like a burning, numbness, an uneasiness, or fullness in the chest area.
- Feels like a heaviness in your chest.
- A gripping feeling.
- A stabbing pain that comes out of nowhere.
- A tension, pressure, gripping feeling, stabbing pain, muscle tension, burning, numbness, an uneasiness, or a fullness in the chest and diaphragm areasa sheet of internal muscle that extends across the bottom of the rib cage.
This chest tightness may be located in one, a few, or many spots in the chest area, or may move all over the chest area. The chest tightness may radiate to one or both shoulders; into the breasts; into the rib cage; into the sides of the abdomen; into the neck, throat, jaw, and head; and/or can be felt in the back and stomach areas.
This chest tightness feeling can also feel worse after eating, and cause a shortness of breath feeling.
This chest tightness can occur rarely, frequently, or persistently. It can be experienced as a dull, sharp, stabbing, piercing tightness or pain, and/or as persistent tightness, pressure, fullness, or numbness.
This chest tightness can change from day to day, and/or from moment to moment.
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Chest Tightness And Other Symptoms Of Anxiety
Chest tightness is just one of many possible ways anxiety can manifest. “The classic anxiety symptoms are thoughts or fear of death, inability to sleep, inability to concentrate,” says Pedro Cazabon, system medical director of primary care at Ochsner Health. You may also experience muscle aches, body aches, not being able to relax, shortness of breath, feeling tired and irritable, trouble sleeping, rapid breathing, sweating or trembling, even gastrointestinal upset.
“There’s a real physiological change when we have a stress response,” says Brittany LeMonda, senior neuropsychologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. “It’s really not necessarily an emotion experience, it’s a physical experience.”
Manage Other Health Conditions
Its important to work with your medical doctor to make sure that other conditions such as asthma are properly managed. Your doctor may also be able to give you resources to help you quit smoking, for example, as well as to manage conditions like GAD. As mentioned above, your medical doctor can help you distinguish serious symptoms from less dangerous ones, so you dont get worked up over anything
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Common Causes Of Chest Pain
Most chest pain is not heart-related and isn’t a sign of a life-threatening problem. Some common causes of chest pain are outlined below.
This information should give you an idea of whether these conditions may be causing your chest pain, but you should always seek medical advice to make sure you get a proper diagnosis.
Chest Pain: Is It Anxiety A Heart Attack Or Covid
Panic disorder whether youve lived with it for years or have developed it due to the pandemic can cause chest pain, but cardiac and other physiological issues need to be ruled out before treatment can begin. And remember,;any;kind of chest pain requires medical attention.
Chest pain or tightness could be a symptom of the increased anxiety that is now prevalent in every facet of life as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to develop. Then again, it might not.
Chest pain also can be the result of a cardiac issue or due to a non-cardiac cause, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD1, a muscle or skeletal problem in the chest,2 or even a symptom of COVID-19.3
When associated with a panic attack, chest pain is a common symptom, but how do we know whats causing chest pain when we feel it?;The only way to know for sure is ;by seeking medical attention.
Heightened levels of anxiety can cause chest pain to develop.
What Causes Anxiety Disorders
While the exact causes of anxiety disorders remain unknown, researchers have been able to pinpoint some of the risk factors associated with them. The National Institute of Mental Health highlights the following as some of the genetic and environmental risk factors of anxiety disorders.
- The occurrence of mental illness, including anxiety, in your biological relatives
- Childhood display of behavioral inhibition and shyness
- Adverse or stressful experiences while growing up and even in adulthood
The NIMH also highlights that the symptoms of anxiety disorders may be more pronounced if you also suffer from irregular or abnormal heartbeat or are experiencing medical issues with your thyroid. Caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and some medications may also be culprits when it comes to heightened symptoms from anxiety disorders.
Irritable bowel syndrome and depression are also thought to increase your risk of developing an anxiety disorder. Furthermore, if you suffer from one anxiety disorder, then there is an increased risk of you developing another.
It used to be believed that the amygdala was responsible for fear and anxiety. However, scientists have learned that instead of one small part of the brain being fully responsible, there’s an entire “fear network” at hand, which includes multiple areas of the brain.
How Does Broken Heart Syndrome Differ From A Heart Attack
Most heart attacks occur due to blockages and blood clots forming in the coronary arteries, which supply the heart with blood. If these clots cut off the blood supply to the heart for a long enough time, heart muscle cells will die, leaving the heart with scar tissue and irreversible damage.
People experiencing broken heart syndrome frequently have normal coronary arteries and often do not have severe blockages or clots. The heart cells of people experiencing broken heart syndrome are stunned by the adrenaline and other stress hormones. Fortunately, this gets better very quickly in most cases, often within weeks or just a few days. Most patients dont have scar tissue or damage.
Broken Heart Symptom Risk Factors
Women are much more likely to have broken heart syndrome than men, especially women who are over 50. This could be a result of lower estrogen levels, but doctors aren’t sure. Common risk factors include:
- Being over 50
- Genetics. Experts also believe that genes may make some people more likely to get broken heart syndrome.
- Having a head injury or seizure disorder like epilepsy
- Having a psychiatric disorder like anxiety or depression
You’re not more likely to get broken heart syndrome if you have a history of heart disease.
Why Anxiety Causes Chest Pain
There are many physical symptoms that a person can experience when they suffer from anxiety. One symptom that is common in people who suffer from more chronic and severe cases of anxiety is chest pains. Chest pains can create several different types of sensations in the chest, upper back, and sometimes the shoulders, like:
Chest pains caused by anxiety are often mistaken for symptoms of a heart attack, but they are not dangerous. They are simply a reaction to anxiety. Cases of anxiety that commonly create chest pains include:
- Panic disorder
- Severe cases of generalized anxiety
Chest pains caused by anxiety can occur on their own or without an apparent trigger. It is difficult to live with experiencing chest pains because they can disrupt the quality of a persons daily routine. The pain can sometimes become so severe that affected people end up visiting the emergency room because they believe they are experiencing a medical emergency. Though they are not dangerous, chest pains cause a great deal of anxiety and distress within a person, so it is important to understand what causes and alleviates them.
What Should I Do When Chest Pain Strikes
If you feel badly enough to wonder if youre having a heart attack, you should go to the emergency room.
Thats because there are no single defining characteristics that will tell you if youre having a heart attack, says, Gary Weeks, M.D., chief of cardiology at the Heart Institute at UW Medical Center – Northwest.
How To Treat Anxiety Chest Pain
If your anxiety chest pain has gotten out of control, its critical to seek help from your healthcare provider. They may initiate cognitive behavior therapy to help you cope with the panic attack. Cognitive behavior therapy teaches the person to change their thoughts in order to identify the triggers to their anxiety. This can help decrease and manage the symptoms of the anxiety attack without using medication. If the doctor feels that therapy and medication would be more adequate, he or she may prescribe you benzodiazepine or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor.
If a panic attack were to happen, its best to find a safe place to slowly calm down. After that, try a deep and steady breathing technique to decrease anxiety. Keep in mind that the chest pains are temporary and will disappear once you have calmed down. The best thing you can do is stay positive and focus on peaceful imagery to reduce the symptoms. You can try counting to 10 or 20 to keep yourself focused. After the panic attack, its best to give it a rating between 1 to 10, 10 being the most severe, so you know if the treatment is working or not.