What is a panic or anxiety attack? If you’re asking the question, maybe you haven’t had one before. If you have, you probably know what they are – and how debilitating they can be.
After you’ve had one, you will probably worry constantly that you might have another one. You might even think of yourself as “living in fear” of being in fear (in an anxiety attack), which, in itself can trigger an attack.
So how can you recognize an anxiety attack? What are the symptoms? What should you watch for?
Recognizing An Anxiety Attack Symptom
Feeling helpless, out of control, out of breath, and very frightened? Worried you might be having a heart attack, or about to die? There’s a good chance you’re having an anxiety attack.
Particularly if you’ve been under a lot of stress – and which of us aren’t, these days? – you can be more prone to having an anxiety or panic attack, as symptoms of attacks are common for those who are very stressed.
Physical Anxiety Attacks Symptom
Physically, your body reacts during an anxiety attack as if you are under extreme danger. Remember “fight or flight syndrome”? Where the blood runs away from the brain – Thinking, Central – of the body and toward the extremities, in preparation for running away or fighting to preserve your life. This is like that. The physical symptoms are identical. There can be lightheadedness, nausea, dizziness, and chills or hot flashes. Some people have chest pains, which can lead them to go to the hospital in fear for their life. Most have a racing heartbeat, or heart palpitations, or trouble breathing. Some have tingling in hands or feet, or a feeling of “pins and needles” in the extremities. Nervousness, trembling, and shaking can all be a part of the physical symptoms of an anxiety attack.
Mental Anxiety Attack Symptom
Those who have anxiety attacks can be paralyzed by the fear, the absolute terror, that is characteristic of anxiety attacks. This symptom can leave one feeling like they are either crazy or going to die.
This used to present a real problem for sufferers of anxiety attacks. The panic of an anxiety attack used to be considered by doctors as being a mental issue, and they would tell patients that “it’s all in your head.” This was extremely detrimental to those who already were worried they were losing their mind! Now, both doctor and researchers know that anxiety attacks are a real medical condition, and there are ways to treat this disorder. Since it isn’t “all in the head”, doctors are much more able to treat the condition and not let the anxiety attack symptoms affect the sufferer’s entire life.