Suddenly your boss comes with a stack of reports that need to be completed by the end of the day, or you are greeted with an email about a big presentation in the morning; a panic attack at work in these situations is common. And there is no reason you should feel guilty about it. Many employees go through anxiety attacks at work several times a day. At the same time, this is not good for your body and creates a sense of hatred towards work.
Studies prove that unpleasant work environments are the major reason for depression in adults and many people suffer from anxiety of going back to work. Some hide it better than others; some deal with it with meditation at the work desk, shedding all stress away, while others learn to live with it and stay depressed.
What Is a Panic Attack At Work?
A panic attack is a situation where your body is gulped with an intense fear of something bad happening when the truth couldn't be farther from that. Whenever we encounter a stressful situation, the panic switch in our brain turns on, and we think we are losing control or, in worse cases, feel like dying. Panic attacks are very frightening. They disrupt the human body balance, initiate many physical and mental symptoms, and weaken the heart.
Many people have zero to few encounters with panic attacks throughout their life. Still, if you have panic attacks regularly, then chances are you have panic disorder, and there is no reason you should ignore that.
The National Institute of Mental Health states it is common to have anxiety at work as you encounter a tough situation, sometimes. But having a sense of being stressed constantly at work is not normal. This turns into an anxiety disorder which leads to panic attacks and, in worst cases, can even cause heart stroke.
According to a study, the situation around us is so stressful that approximately 11% of Americans experience a panic attack each year, while 3% develop panic disorder. Sometimes the cause of this anxiety or panic attack could be nothing related to work, but work-related stress is also a leading factor in increased anxiety among adults.
Signs to Know You Are Dealing With a Panic Disorder
The thing about dealing with panic attacks at work in a panic disorder is that they can happen any time or anywhere. Once you are a recipient of panic attacks regularly, your body doesn't even need to wait for a stressor to have a flight or fright response. People who have panic attacks regularly can have an episode when doing something as simple as driving a car or watching TV. And this is extremely frightening, especially when each experience feels like you are dying.
The thing with a panic attack is it is as quick as it comes, and the symptoms could be elevated in just a matter of minutes. You could feel drained and extremely exhausted after having a panic attack at work episode and imagine that happening at work? You wouldn't be productive at all. If you feel you are at a higher risk of developing panic attacks or maybe start by looking at your work environment, which seems unhealthy, then these are the must-know symptoms to look out for:
Feeling like a loss of control.
Fear of death
Feeling detached from reality
Increased heart rate
All these feelings make the human body feel a near-death experience, and we don't think anything is more frightening than that. Recipients of panic attacks fear that this feeling would never end, and they always fear having another panic attack which adds even more to their anxiety level.
How to Deal With Anxiety Attack at Work?
Suppose you have found yourself familiar with the above-mentioned panic attack at work symptoms. In that case, this is a sad situation to be in, but don't worry, the good news is you can still do something about panic attacks and control them to reduce the duration or occurrence of episodes. Besides seeking professional help for panic attacks or panic disorder at work, here are some tips to help you get over this situation.
Start by eliminating the causes of stress. Although a workplace without stress is impossible, the unnecessary contributors to stress need to be discarded. Start with your seating. Invest in a comfortable ergonomic chair and a standing desk that prevents your body from physical exhaustion. Download stress-reducing apps to make sure you always have some tips and tricks to deal with stress.
To avoid stress at work, you need to identify the triggers that put you in such situations. Knowing your triggers can put you in control, and hence you can monitor the situations. For instance, if you feel panic when there is a meeting, you can prepare yourself for a presentation or invest time relaxing before an important meeting.
Knowing Your Symptoms
Panic attacks at work give rise to symptoms that feel like a person is dying. To make sure you know how to deal with panic attacks, have an understanding of your symptoms. Knowing your symptoms beforehand will allow you to deal with the situation, and you can realize that you are having a panic attack when it occurs.
Coping techniques for people who have panic attack episodes are very important. When you are relaxed, learn about your particular symptoms and discover ways to handle them. It is better to write them down as well. Whenever you incur a panic attack, try those techniques to release the stress and return to normal.
Going through something as frightening as a panic attack at work is very harmful, and you can ask for support from your colleagues or family members. Even if you wish to keep your panic disorder secret from your colleagues, it's okay but better confide in with your loved ones so they can understand your situation and help you deal with it too.
Role of Employers
In the health of employees, the employer has to play a major role. Start by managing the workload to a realistic level and not overburden an employee. Introduce various training and stress management programs. Make sure your employees have a safe communication channel. In case of sickness or mental health issues, allow your employees to take leave or let them take advantage of the hybrid workforce model, so they get better and feel safe.
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