You feel the sweat begin to drip, your head start to spin, your vision become blurred and your nerves become tense.
While some are all too familiar with the feeling of an anxiety or panic attack, others may experience some of these symptoms for the first time. “There’s a continuum of symptoms, from moderate to severe to a full blown panic attack,” said Nurse Practitioner and Chief Medical Officer Kristin Eineberg.
Eineberg said she has been working in college health for four years, and that she sees a “…large number of students directly for anxiety and mixed depression with anxiety related issues.”
“Typically, mild anxiety attacks will present [a person with] increased rate of breathing and heart rate, they might have some sweating, they might have a feeling of the room is closing in on them. As attacks get more and more severe, some people will have an overwhelming sense of chest pain like they are going to die,” said Eineberg.
She also said some of the more severe symptoms include tunnel vision, vision changes and hearing strange sounds.
“When in doubt, reach out,” Eineberg said.
Often times, students may reach out to campus safety if they or a friend/peer is in a crisis. Director of Campus Safety and Compliance Jeffrey Maher said, “So you can imagine that there are any sort of crisis type of situations that we might respond to. We might respond to someone — a call from someone who is suffering from anxiety or panic attack, or we might get a call from someone who is contemplating self harm. We have protocols and training in place for each of those of responses.”
If it is necessary, Maher said campus safety will facilitate a transport to the hospital. “Our primary concern is, of course, to ensure that the student is safe, and that he or she has access to resources that will help them manage their experience, condition, or concern.”
Another resource students can utilize if they are having an anxiety or panic attack is the crisis hotline. The crisis hotline number is (603)-358-2436.
“It’s a way for the college to provide all our students with emotional health support 24/7,” said Assistant Director of Emotional Health Programming and Outreach Coordinator of Sexual Violence Prevention Forrest Seymour.
Seymour said that during regular business hours, students can walk up to the counseling center any time for emotional health concerns, but the crisis hotline is available after hours, during evenings and on holidays and weekends.
“One thing that can help some people is to talk to a counselor in the moment, and that crisis line is available for that. Students can call the crisis line and, pretty quickly, they will get a licensed counselor on the other end of the line,” Seymour said.
“They have a lot of information about Keene State and what our resources are here. They can definitely reach out to people on campus, including the counseling center, if that’s what needs to happen,” said Seymour.
For those who are struggling with anxiety, there are many treatment options available on campus. Eineberg said, “For students who have had a long history — or relatively long history — with depression anxiety or a combination of both — which tends to be more common — and have been on medication in the past, and they wish to continue their medication and have it prescribed here, we have a psychiatric nurse practitioner one day a week, as well as both myself and the other NP who works here at the center for health and wellness.”
“If somebody has anxiety and is interested in possibly starting medication, they can make an appointment to be evaluated for that,” said Eineberg.
Eineberg also said that they have an open relationship with the Counseling Center, and sometimes co-manage patients. “A lot of research supports the fact the most effective treatment is between cognitive behavioral therapy and medication, the two together are the most effective,” Eineberg said.
Izzy Harris can be reached at Iharris@kscequinox.com