symptoms of anxiety attacks and panic disorders

Exploring Common Anxiety Attack Symptoms

Written by: Melissa Hart

Anxiety Attack Symptoms Range from Mild to Extreme
Anxiety attack symptoms caused by panic disorders are marked by short, although rather intense periods of impending doom. Irrational and unfounded fears may quickly manifest themselves into a variety of symptoms, usually within five to ten minutes, and may range from mild nausea to an extreme fear of dying.

Symptoms Can Last Up to a Full Day
Some anxiety attack symptoms may last for just a few moments, while others take several hours to dissipate completely. In rare cases, some attacks may last as long as a full day, but the majority usually subside after a half hour or so.

Here are some of the most common anxiety attack symptoms:

- Uncontrollable trembling
- Shortness of breath or hyperventilating
- Heart palpitations
- Chest pains
- Sweating
- Chills
- Nausea
- Dizziness
- Numbness, tingling
- Sense of choking, tightness in the throat
- Intense fear of dying
- Disassociation, feelings of detachment from the world

Panic Attack Symptoms May be Accompanied by Depression
Some panic or anxiety attacks may also be accompanied by depression, or other mental health conditions. For many, symptoms may be mild and include headaches or trouble swallowing, while other anxiety attack symptoms are often confused with those of a heart attack, stroke, or other serious condition. These should always be evaluated by a doctor if there are any doubts or concerns as to their true origin.

For an Accurate Diagnosis Symptoms Must Last Six Consecutive Months
Anxiety attack symptoms that are the result of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) usually involve excessive or unrealistic amounts of worrying. For an accurate diagnosis, anxiety attack symptoms must be present for at least six consecutive months and include at least three of the following:

- Having frequent periods of restlessness
- Having trouble concentrating or staying focused
- Experiencing bouts of anger or irritability
- Having difficulty sleeping
- Being easily fatigued
- Becoming introverted, avoiding social gatherings, or exhibiting other similar personality changes

Other Anxiety Symptoms
Other anxiety attack symptoms may be caused by stress or phobic disorders. Anxiety that's brought on by a post-traumatic stress disorder may include signs and symptoms such as:

- Avoiding social activities or gatherings
- Having trouble concentrating
- Having difficulty sleeping
- Being constantly on edge and watchful of one's surroundings
- Having intense feelings of impending doom

Exercise May Improve Symptoms
To minimize the varied anxiety attack symptoms, there are a number of self care methods that prove successful. Besides both muscle and breathing relaxation techniques, meditation and visualization or guided imagery may also be beneficial for reducing or even eliminating anxiety attacks. Even regular exercise, just 30 minutes several times per week, can help to improve anxiety attack symptoms.

Doctors Can Prescribe Medication if Attacks are Frequent
If anxiety attack symptoms are frequent or begin to interfere with daily life, it's best to be evaluated by a healthcare practitioner for their professional assessment. They are able to prescribe an array of medications, if necessary, and can offer guidance or recommend some type of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT).

Once merely dismissed as nerves or reactions to the stressors of every day life, anxiety attack symptoms are now recognized as potentially debilitating, although treatable occurrences. Happening at anytime, anywhere, regardless of the location, episodes of extreme anxiety can be troubling to say the least, however, it is possible to manage and control symptoms.


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