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I’m Getting Anxiety Attacks; What to Do?

24 October, 2020
Q I have been getting anxiety attacks more frequently now than ever. I have gone to the doctor gave me medication and will be going for more test the end of next month.

However, something happened to me while making salaah which made me really scared I got up. I was in my last rakat in sujood and something came rushing through my body and I had another attack.

I did call the ambulance. What I want to know is what it could be that happened to me and do I need to have a ruqaya performed?

Answer


In this counseling session:

  • It is very important that you go to the doctor and find out if these sensations are coming from your heart or your nervous system.
  • If you are having to deal with verbal, physical, or sexual abuse or sexual harassment, like on your job, those things are NOT okay and you should get help to extricate yourself from any abuse!
  • Sometimes panic attacks happened without provocation, but usually, they are in response to stress—or rather, to a level of stress that the person cannot handle.
  • In the Quran, Allah Says that when we feel traumatized, very scared, or extremely sad, or the like, we should deal with it by saying “inna li lahi wa inna ilaihi ra jee un” (From Allah we come and to Allah we will return).

As-Salaamu ‘alaikum,

I am sorry to hear that you are not feeling well and that you are having panic attacks. May Allah Give you Shifa’a (healing)!

Panic attacks feel very similar to heart attacks, so it is very important that you go to the doctor and find out if these sensations are coming from your heart or your nervous system.

Panic attacks

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Sometimes panic attacks happened without provocation, but usually, they are in response to stress—or rather, to a level of stress that the person cannot handle. That threshold of stress tolerance is high in some people and low in others. And, an individual person’s threshold for stress will change when they are constantly under stress. Our threshold for anything is called our “tolerance level”.

I'm Getting Anxiety Attacks; What to Do? - About Islam

Most people understand the concept of “tolerance” in relationship to drugs, i.e., the more we use a drug, the more we need it for it to get the effect desired from taking it. This happens because our bodies get used to the drug, so we need more of it for it to have an effect on us.

Stress, on the other hand, works in the opposite way. The more stress we have, the less we can tolerate it. I.e., we react sooner rather than later to stress because we get overwhelmed with it. Unlike drugs, stress makes our tolerance level less because we are full to our maximum tolerance level for stress.

Stress

So, when we have more stress, it is like we are overflowing with it, which is what a panic attack is. Once the body learns that it can relieve stress by means of a panic attack, it will resort to that route to relief more quickly. I.e., the more stress a person has, the sooner s/he will have a panic attack—if they are prone to panic attacks in the first place.

If you are having panic attacks and not heart attacks, the best remedy for panic attacks is to remove oneself from the source of the stress provoking the attacks or to remove the source of the stress from you, if possible. If that is not possible because the source of the stress is your child or spouse or schoolwork, etc.

Then try to “solve the problem”. Scholars in Islam, therapists, and wise aunties, good friends (who are your confidant) can help, sometimes. But, if those routes to help still do not resolve your problems, then medication can help.


Check out this counseling video:


Seek Allah’s help

If you are having to deal with verbal, physical, or sexual abuse or sexual harassment, like on your job, those things are NOT okay and you should get help to extricate yourself from any abuse! Of course first and foremost, and throughout the doing of all these potential remedies, you should be asking Allah to help you solve your problem(s).

In the Quran, Allah Says that when we feel traumatized, very scared, or extremely sad, or the like, we should deal with it by saying “inna li lahi wa inna ilaihi ra jee un” (From Allah we come and to Allah we will return).

Dhikr

Thikering this helps the believer see life in its true context. As part of the whole of it, which includes the next life too. That one short sentence references the beginning and the end of life, thereby referencing the essence of life—that life is for the next, not this one.

In its simple yet true terms, it reminds us that we are going to get the relief we need when we meet Allah. Because Allah is Ar-Rahman, the Merciful, that comforts us, the believers. In the next life, all the wrongs done in this life will be righted by Allah, Who is Truth and Perfect Justice.

According to the hadith, our meeting with Allah is going to be happy. Like a wedding because we will finally, Al Hamduli Lah, be getting the justice we deserve because all will be right!

Conclusion

InShaAllah, saying this can help you get your mind back on track—that this life is just the path to the next and not an end in itself. Saying this can help you get the perspective you need on your pain causing you the panic attacks – if indeed what you are having is panic attacks.

La illa ha illa Lah! (You can say that too to glorify Allah that His Sovereignty will Reign Supreme on That Day—to everyone’s notice.

And, May Allah Make it easy for you!

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Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

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About Nasira S. Abdul-Aleem
Nasira S. Abdul-Aleem, an American, has a BA in English from UC Berkeley and is about to receive an MS degree in counseling psychology (Marriage and Family Therapy - MFT) from the Western Institute for Social Research. For over ten years, Nasira worked as a psychotherapist with the general public and in addiction recovery.For the last few years, she has been a life coach specializing in interpersonal relations. Nasira also consults with her many family members who studied Islam overseas and returned to America to be Imams and teachers of Islam. Muslims often ask Nasira what psychology has to do with Islam. To this, she replies that Islam is the manifestation of a correct understanding of our psychology. Therapists and life coaches help clients figure out how to traverse the path of life as a Believer, i.e., "from darkness into light", based on Islam and given that that path is an obstacle course, according to Allah.