The word anxiety is defined as “distress or uneasiness of mind caused by fear of danger or misfortune.” Anxiety is a common human emotion. You may have anxiety when preparing for a job interview or flying on a plane. Some people have a consistent level of anxiety or an anxiety disorder. An anxiety attack is different than common feelings of anxiety. It can stop you in your tracks and be debilitating.
What are the Signs of an Anxiety Attack?
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, an anxiety attack is “the abrupt onset of intense fear or discomfort that reaches a peak within minutes.” If often includes some combination of the following symptoms:
Physical Signs of an Anxiety Attack
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pressure or pain
- Turning pale
- Weak in the knees
- Burning skin
- Pins and needles
- Hot and cold flushes
- Numbness and tingling sensations
- Palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate
- Feelings of choking
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Nausea or abdominal distress
- Chills or heat sensations
- Paresthesia (numbness or tingling sensations)
Mental Symptoms of an Anxiety Attack
- A feeling of overwhelming fear
- Feeling of going crazy or losing control
- Feeling you are in grave danger
- Feeling you might pass out
- A surge of doom and gloom
- An urgency to escape
- Feeling detached from reality
- Feeling dizzy, unsteady, light-headed, or faint
- Derealization (feelings of unreality) or depersonalization (being detached from oneself)
- Fear of losing control or “going crazy”
- Fear of dying
An anxiety attacks triggers our sympathetic nervous system. This is the system in our body that prepares us for fight or flight. An anxiety attack usually reaches a peak in 10 minutes or less and then symptoms begin to subside. Some people feel they are having a life threatening emergency when they have a panic attack and go to the emergency room. Panic attacks are not always precipitated by a high stress incident.
What Causes Anxiety Attacks?
Panic attacks can occur when you are calm or anxious. People that have panic attacks often have other mental health issues like depression or obsessive compulsive disorder. Some people that have panic attacks try to hide them and avoid situations that may trigger attacks. It is important to know that there are treatment options for panic attacks.
Help is available. You can reach out to your primary care physician, a psychiatrist, or a treatment center for help. You are not alone. Call today to get the help you deserve.
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