Anxiety Attack
Symptoms of an anxiety attack are frequently confused with those of a heart attack.

Anxiety attacks, also called panic attacks, are episodes of extreme terror or fear that quickly escalate in intensity. They typically happen suddenly and without warning signs. Sometimes, there is a clear trigger, such as getting caught in an elevator or worrying about an important speech you must give. However, at other times, the attack just happens.

  • An anxiety episode rarely lasts longer than 30 minutes, with its peak occurring during the first 10 minutes.
  • During that little period, you could feel extremely intense anxiety; you think you are going to die or lose all control.
  • Many people mistakenly believe they are having a heart attack due to the physical symptoms' scary nature.
  • After an anxiety attack, you could be afraid of having another one, especially if you are in a public setting where help might not be available, or you would not be able to leave quickly.

Panic attacks vs anxiety attacks

Unlike panic attacks, anxiety attacks are not listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition (DSM-5). However, they are typically felt as a symptom of other illnesses, including:

The typical symptoms of anxiety attacks include intense sensations of worry, dread, or distress that may develop gradually. Additionally, this might result in emotional symptoms, including agitation, irritability, and a tense or on-edge mood. Physical signs, such as tense muscles and trouble sleeping, could occur.

Even in the absence of panic attacks, chronic anxiety can seriously damage a person's ability to operate daily.

What are the symptoms of an anxiety attack?

Anxiety attacks strike suddenly, and once they start, they cannot be halted. Symptoms usually peak 10 minutes after the attack starts. Shortly after, they disappear.

Anxiety attack symptoms include:

QUESTION

Panic attacks are repeated attacks of fear that can last for several minutes. See Answer

What causes anxiety attacks?

Anxiety is typically a result of anticipating a stressful situation, an unpleasant experience, or the perception that something negative will occur. Depending on the type of anxiety, there may be different triggers.

A socially anxious person could have panic attacks when giving a presentation in front of their class or going to a party with lots of people. However, occasionally, people may find it difficult to pinpoint the source of their anxiety. For instance, some people may have persistent anxiety without realizing how it is related to their excessive self-criticism and worries.

People who are unable to identify the cause of their anxiety may have free-floating anxiety, which frequently causes them to worry constantly for days, weeks, or even months.

What should you do during an episode of an anxiety attack?

Though some anxiety symptoms develop and linger over time, others might suddenly “strike” (panic attacks). The acute symptoms of a panic attack are frequently confused with those of a heart attack.

A panic episode can include:

If you are aware that you are having a panic attack, you should do the following:

  • Get away from the trigger for your panic attack
  • Practice deep breathing techniques and encourage self-talk
  • To help prevent future panic attacks, take action to address the cause of your anxiety
  • Seek the help of a qualified psychiatrist

You must get medical attention if you are having chest pain and are unsure whether you are having a panic attack. Both anxiety and chest pain can be indicators of something more serious, and your physician will need to confirm that your symptoms are not brought on by an underlying medical problem.

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Medically Reviewed on 10/12/2022
References
Image Source: iStock image

Anxiety Disorders and Anxiety Attacks. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/anxiety/anxiety-disorders-and-anxiety-attacks.htm

Anxiety Attack vs. Panic Attack: What's the Difference? https://www.simplypsychology.org/the-difference-between-panic-attacks-and-anxiety-attacks.html

https://www.houstonmethodist.org/blog/articles/2020/dec/what-anxiety-feels-like-and-why-it-happens/