Symptoms of Anxiety Attack: See If You’ve Had One Now

If you’re reading this post, you may be wondering whether you have experienced an anxiety attack or not.  Anxiety attacks can be terrifying to experience and it really helps to know if that’s what’s been going on with you or not.  Once you feel more certain that you really have had a panic attack, it will be much easier to find a solution to overcome this frightening condition and get your life back to normal.

What Is An Anxiety Attack Anyway?

Anxiety attacks are generally considered to be a dysfunctional triggering of the natural fight-or-flight instinct that occurs in all mammals.  Although there are variations in what happens for different people, the internal physical and emotional process of having a panic attack typically goes like this:

It begins with a sudden intense experience of fear, often triggered by a series of fear-inducing thoughts.  Because the body considers this intense fear reaction to be evidence of a dire threat, it activates the fight-or-flight response and adrenaline floods the body.  If a person were in a life threatening situation, this would prepare them to fight off an aggressor or run away.  It works well when a lion is chasing someone and their life really is in danger, but it creates a major problem when it involves leaving the house to drive to work every day.

Some of the Physical Symptoms

Nevertheless, this process results in a variety of physical symptoms including:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Labored breathing or hyperventilation.  This is often experienced as a feeling of not being able to get enough breath.  This is because the diaphragm, which controls your breathing, becomes tight, making it difficult to breathe.

When this anxiety response causes a person to hyperventilate, this generally causes the carbon dioxide levels in the blood to lower and raises the blood Ph level.  As a result, a person experiencing a panic attack often will have these physical symptoms as well:

  • numbness or a tingling sensation in the lips, feet, and hands
  • chest pain
  • lightheadedness
  • nervous laughter
  • dizziness
  • fainting
  • headache
  • slurred speech

If you were to go to a psychologist about this condition, they would use the following DSM IV checklist to determine whether you actually had experienced an anxiety attack.  You can use it yourself for the same purpose.

Official DSM IV Criteria for Panic Attack

To meet the criteria for having had a panic attack, a person must have experienced a period of intense fear or discomfort and must have had four or more of the following symptoms.  They must have come on suddenly and reached a peak within ten minutes:

  • sensations of shortness of breath or smothering
  • increased heart rate, pounding heart, or palpitations
  • feeling that they are choking
  • perspiring
  • chest pain or discomfort
  • shaking or trembling
  • feeling faint, lightheaded, unsteady, or dizzy
  • hot flushes or chills
  • fear of going crazy or losing control
  • nausea or abdominal distress
  • fear of dying
  • feelings of unreality (called “derealization”) or feeling detached from oneself (called “depersonalization”)
  • numbness or tingling sensations (called “paresthesias”)

I hope this information on symptoms of anxiety attack has given you a better feeling for whether you actually have experienced an anxiety attack yourself.

What To Do About Anxiety Attacks

Regardless of whether you “officially” fit the criteria for anxiety attacks, if you’re feeling anxiety to the degree that you’ve read this post, I’m sure you would benefit from this trying out this helpful method to end panic attacks.  It has helped thousands of anxiety sufferers overcome their panic attacks with relative ease and it really could help you as well.  It’s worth a look!

To see the research I did to determine whether this program really is an effective treatment for panic attacks, check out this post:

Does Panic Away Work? is dedicated to helping people to find resources that can help them solve whatever life problems they are experiencing and return to their natural state of well-being.

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