Anticipatory anxiety and panic disorder

When people think of events that will happen in the future, they will feel anxious and stressed, and anticipatory anxiety will occur. Although this is not an obvious mental illness, anxiety is expected to be a common symptom of other diseases, including panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).

Anticipatory anxiety may be a reaction to a major event, such as a speech at work. But it can also precede secondary daily activities, such as driving to work, parking, or talking with colleagues.

If you suffer from panic disorder, you may find yourself anticipating many life events. Walking into the store, attending social gatherings and other activities may be the focus of your daily expectations. Before you have a panic attack, you may not think too much about any of these common events. But now expectation may cause you to feel anxious and interfere with your ability to function fully in daily life.

People often feel the expected anxiety because they are afraid of panic attacks in these situations.

Normal and problematic anticipation anxiety

Countless human experiences can cause normal anticipation anxiety. Many times, we feel anxious when we are looking forward to doing something new, or before completing a major task or experiencing an upcoming life event.

You may feel anxious before your first date, final exam, job interview, moving to a new home or major trip. This type of anticipatory anxiety is normal.

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However, if you have a panic disorder, anticipatory anxiety may exceed the limits that people usually experience in a new or major life event, leading to problematic anticipatory anxiety. This is because the way you anticipate or imagine future events focuses on panic attacks in certain situations.of

The fear of panic attacks may be related to any life situation or event, no matter how large or small. In some cases, anticipation anxiety revolves around any safe activity that involves leaving one’s home.

How your thoughts cause anticipatory anxiety

Expectation anxiety is closely related to your way of thinking. With panic disorder, your thoughts are usually focused on worrying about a panic attack that will cause embarrassment, extreme discomfort, heart attack, or worse.

If you suffer from panic disorder, you may be very familiar with “hypothetical” worries. Maybe your troubles are similar to these:

  • What if I have a panic attack and drive my car into a ditch?
  • What if I start to panic in the store and embarrass myself with some strange behavior?
  • What if I cannot swallow and start to be choked by the food while eating in a restaurant?
  • What if I walk around the block and start to panic and cannot go home?

This kind of thinking can cause a lot of anticipated anxiety, which leads to avoiding certain activities. Anxiety can be so strong that it leads to a condition called agoraphobia.

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How to deal with anticipatory anxiety

Here are some ways to deal with anticipatory anxiety.

Learn and practice relaxation techniques

By learning and practicing relaxation techniques, you will be able to reduce the level of expected anxiety. You can even resolve a panic attack that is brewing. Some techniques that may be useful include:

  • Deep breathing: Deep breathing exercises are usually an effective way to reduce panic and nervousness.Because the feeling of panic is usually accompanied by fast, shallow breathing, learning to breathe slowly and deeply can help your body calm down.
  • Guide the image: This process involves closing your eyes and imagining an image that can help you feel calm and relaxed. You can use this type of image to imagine your success in different situations, or just to help your body return to a calmer state.
  • Diary writing: Writing down your feelings may help you better pay attention to how your thoughts and emotions lead to patterns of anticipatory anxiety.
  • Mindfulness meditation: This type of meditation helps relieve the anxiety of anticipation because it encourages you to focus on the present instead of worrying about the future.
  • Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR): Panic usually makes people nervous, but practicing progressive tightening and then relaxing the muscles of your body can help you learn to better control this tension. After learning this technique, you will be able to release the tension in your muscles, which will relieve and calm down.

Try a self-help strategy

When you find that you are experiencing anticipatory anxiety, there are a few things you can do to make it easier for you to deal with:

  • Challenge anxious thoughts. When you are nervous about what you must do in the future, ask yourself if you are realistic. In many cases, you may find yourself in a disaster or considering the worst. Challenge these ideas with more realistic ideas can help calm your anxiety.
  • Refocus your thoughts. When negative or anxious thoughts begin, intentionally interrupt your thoughts. Force yourself to consciously focus on the good things that might happen instead of experiencing situations that trigger anxiety.
  • Take action. Anticipated anxiety usually causes people to postpone tasks instead of facing them, which can lead to more anxiety.If you are afraid of something and find yourself nervous about it, control the situation first. Remind yourself that if you overcome it now, you don’t have to spend all your time on anxiety.

Get professional help

If you cannot control your anxiety on your own, be sure to consult your doctor or mental health professional in person or online. Various professionals can help you solve the problem of anticipation anxiety.

Some of the treatments they may be able to provide include: