Psi. Miriam Aparicio Canteras, who is a psychologist in Spain explains in this video how to recognize when we are facing an anxiety crisis and what we should do.

This video is in spanish, but has been translated and transcribed for the benefit of those who prefer to read instead of watching it. Then, the content:

In this video I will talk about the difference between stress and anxiety. It is a subject that appears very often in the consultation and there are doubts about what one thing and the other means.

Stress is that disturbing factor that causes us all that movement within us. It is when we say “I am overwhelmed” or “something surpasses me”.

That stress can be a workload, it can be a family problem, it can be some fight you had with someone, that triggers that activation within you, and that has those consequences.

Stress is necessary

Stress is necessary. The problem arises when this stress lasts for a long time and becomes chronic.

Stress is necessary for our survival. If we did not have that stress, we would not have finished our studies, we would not have been able to make an appointment at the time, we would not have gone to the doctor because something hurt, and so on.

Stress is necessary. The problem is, as it has been said, when it is prolonged over time. That is when what we call Anxiety Disorder appears.

Anxiety disorder is, as it says, a disorder that arises when that disturbing factor, that stressor, we are going to put for example a work overload, it is already over, it has passed, but you still feel that you have tachycardias, that you are missing concentration, you do not feel like leaving home, you want to stay there, locked in your world.

So that’s what we call anxiety and it’s when we recommend seeking outside help. If not, that can increase.

The anxiety attacks or panic attacks, which are also known with those terms, are the body’s biological response to some factor that is causing stress.

Why does that happen to us?

Why do we have anxiety attacks, which is when we feel like we lose control over ourselves? That simply comes because we are the same as millions of years ago at the genetic level.

In the past, a mammoth came running after us to eat us, to kill us. Now we have a work meeting, we have an exam, we have a pending conversation with someone that is important to us.

Of course, when we are before a test, we can not run away, which is the purpose of stress.

What happen during an anxiety crisis

What is happening? Well, all our blood comes to the organs that we have in the thorax, because if you got attacked, with a stick or a knife, you will have all the blood in places that give you greater chances to survive.

Our mind, moreover, is blocked. Because if they are coming, they are attacking you on the one hand, you do not think: “and now that I do ?, I’m going here or there …”. No, the only function is to escape and flee so they do not catch you. That’s why we can’t think in anything else.

In addition our vision becomes fully focused forward. Panoramic vision disappears, again for the same reason, because the goal is to flee forward.

We also release glucose to get all that glucose into our muscles so that those muscles can activate and run. In addition the alveoli are amplified so that we can receive more oxygen for, as we said, we can run away.

What happens is that, we can not run away. That’s when anxiety crisis occur.

What to do when you have an anxiety crisis

They only last about 20 minutes. You have to be very aware that they last about 20 minutes and that we are not going to die. You have to stay calm and you’re done.

The problem is that there is a great disinformation in the society. And it is usually a reason for exaggeration or attention in the media, among people, when they say “the ambulance has come”, “the ambulance has had to take this person.” So it is because there is a great lack of culture.

An anxiety crisis can happen at home. In 20 minutes it will pass by.

For example, if a child, the first time he has hiccups, is frightened and tell to his/her parents: “hey, I do not know what this is happening to me here.” Surely the response of parents will be to laugh, and say “look, this is called hiccups, is ok.”

The next time this child has hiccups, he will be calm. Why? Because his parents have already said that is a normal biological response that we have in the human body.

So remember: if you have an anxiety crisis, just stay calm and wait for that to happen.

If you consider that you have anxiety, it is important that you put in the hands of a professional who can help you and detect what is the factor that generates that anxiety.

It may be that you know it, because you are living it in a present or it may come from past ages, from something you suffered when you were children, something you suffered a few years ago, or even something from a relative.

So I encourage you to put yourself in the hands of a professional if you feel that you have a very stressful or disturbing factor that is causing you difficulties in your day to day or have already happened to have an anxiety disorder.

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