Lucas Paqueta’s goal had given the hosts a third-minute lead, but Forest strikes either side of the interval threatened to inflict a fourth straight top-flight defeat, until headers from Jarrod Bowen and Tomas Soucek saw the game turn once more.
West Ham's miserable league run had begun to bear echoes of last season, when David Moyes’s men spent much of the campaign embroiled in a surprise relegation battle, but Areola insists they are a different team now.
“We’re not last year - we’re this season,” the goalkeeper told Standard Sport. “What happened last year, we have to use it for now and I think in our minds, in our mentality, we’re now ready for every single situation. Today was a good example.
“It’s always good to score first but afterwards you have to stay focused and not give opportunities to your opponent.
“We had the ball for the whole game, we just had to get out of second gear and try to create lots of chances, which is what we did in the second half.
"We were unlucky, because of their ‘keeper as well, it was tough to score. But in the end we won the game.”
The international break has come at a bad time for the Hammers, whose cup form means that, despite their tricky league spell, they head into the fortnight on a run of three vital wins in four matches since the start of the month.
Moyes will be wary, knowing his side went into the first two breaks of the campaign off good results, only to stutter upon returning to league action.
Areola knows the importance of rebuilding momentum quickly ahead of a trip to Burnley later this month.
"In our minds, in our mentality, we’re now ready for every single situation"
West Ham goalkeeper Alphonse Areola
“That’s true,” he said. “After the first break it was tough for us to come back. But for us it’s good for our minds to reset as well and focus on what we have to do.
"Obviously, we haven’t had the results we wanted but today the most important thing was to win before the break.
"The most important thing is to keep this victory in our minds, go for the international break and come back with the same mood.”