November 14, 2019 | Hortencia Luna-Gonzales, MD, FACEP
At one point in their lives, everyone will most likely experience anxiety. Not only is it common, but it can also drastically affect your day-to-day life. From daily stressors to major life crises, anything can trigger anxiety or a panic attack. In extreme cases, medical attention may be required, but what happens when you go to the ER with anxiety? In this blog post, we’ll explore what anxiety is and whether it warrants a trip to the emergency room.
What Is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a natural response from the body in reaction to stress. There are many triggers for anxiety and are often in association with the anticipation of stressful circumstances like an interview. However, anxiety can greatly vary in intensity. In extreme cases, anxiety can cause discomforting sensations and lead to other complications. Those who suffer from chronic anxiety disorders can have their day-to-day affected and often require medication. Anxiety is often overlooked and misunderstood, but it’s a serious mental condition that affects millions. Here are the main types of anxiety disorders:
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD):
In many cases, people with generalized anxiety disorders suffer from chronic anxiety that is often not provoked and is experienced daily.
A panic disorder is an extreme case of anxiety where the sufferer experiences sudden moments of fear followed by physical symptoms, including chest pains, labored breathing, fatigue, and much more.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD):
PTSD is often triggered due to a past event that was terrifying for the sufferer or an instance where they experienced great harm. Incidents or events include but are not limited to assaults, human-made or natural disasters, or military combat.
Social Anxiety Disorder:
As the name implies, social anxiety disorder is brought on by social interactions. This type of anxiety can also be linked to social phobias or the fear of public speaking.
Can You Go To The ER For Anxiety?
Yes, but if you go to a hospital, expect to wait. Unlike Village Emergency Centers, hospitals cannot guarantee ‘no wait time.’ In many cases, sufferers from panic attacks or anxiety overcome their episodes long before seeing a doctor. If you start experiencing chest pains, we highly recommend going to an ER immediately since it may be a sign of other conditions.
Will The ER Help With Anxiety?
People often wonder what happens if you go to an ER for anxiety. Going to an ER for anxiety will most likely help with the frightening symptoms the sufferer is experiencing. Their blood pressure can be monitored and the doctor can oversee their current state to administer advice or medicine to calm the patient down. With help from expert physicians and staff, going to the emergency room for anxiety can be greatly beneficial for the sufferer.
Is Anxiety An Emergency?
Going to the ER for anxiety is not uncommon, but is unneeded in most situations. Typically anxiety or panic episodes only last 30 minutes and can be remedied by lying down and with rigorous breathing exercises. It is recommended to take deep and slow breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth. An anxiety emergency or extreme panic attack may require an ER visit if the sufferer is unable to get it under control. Extreme cases of hyperventilation can lead to tachycardia, an occurrence where the heart is beating so fast that it is unable to properly pump blood throughout the body.
When Should You Go To The ER For Anxiety?
As mentioned, most cases of anxiety do not require medical attention, but if you are experiencing regular panic attacks, you may want to go to an ER, especially if you have chest pains. Sometimes anxiety and panic attacks are early signs of cardiovascular disease. You should also visit an ER if you’re experiencing tachycardia which can be fatal in extreme cases. No matter your symptoms, it’s better to be safe than sorry which is why it’s always a good idea to be examined by a medical professional.
If you’d like to learn more about what happens when you go to the ER with anxiety, reach out to a medical professional at a Village Emergency Center. With locations in Clear Creek, River Oaks, Katy, and Jersey Village, we’re dedicated to providing expert medical care for any emergency, including extreme cases of anxiety. Our doors are always open even on holidays with no wait time. Emergencies don’t wait which is why you shouldn’t either. Walk into any location or check-in online today.
Hortencia Luna-Gonzales, MD, FACEP
Dr. Luna has been practicing Emergency Medicine and Pediatric Emergency Medicine for more than 37 years. She has held multiple Physician leadership positions as the Medical Director for Emergency and Trauma Services for more than 20 hospital systems in both California and Texas.