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Symptoms of Anxiety Attacks

Updated on March 20, 2013

Symptoms of Anxiety Attacks: An Introduction

Anxiety attacks are definitely an enemy to your peace of mind, and to your general well-being. They fall under the category of mental disorders, but that term is one that can’t be used haphazardly, because many people who suffer from anxiety attacks are not “weird” or “loony”, but rather victims of some type of stressor that has caused their minds to respond in an extreme manner. In this hub we will discuss some of the common physical symptoms of anxiety attacks. It is important for us to cover this because, as the famous saying quotes, “Accurate diagnosis is half of the cure.” (or something like that anyway—LOL). There are people who have suffered anxiety attacks and not even known what the problem was—they just knew that they never wanted to feel that way again. I think it’s vital to identify some specific physical signs of anxiety attacks, so that you can keep yourself from feeling like you’re “abnormal” or “weird”, but instead understanding that thousands of people have experienced those same types of symptoms and physical stressors due to anxiety. You are not alone! I think that a lot of people (myself included) have been embarrassed or ashamed about the fact that they’ve had anxiety attacks before, and part of the thing that’s feeding the attacks is that very same issue of feeling like they have to suppress the truth about what they’re going through. Again I say, you are nowhere near alone with this type of condition. But anyway, back to the physical symptoms of anxiety attacks…these can vary from person to person and from experience to experience, so there are no “hard and fast” rules as to what should or should not happen when you have an anxiety attack, but at the same time there are almost always some “common denominators” present when you’re going through this stressful experience. One thing that I want to point out before I list some of the symptoms is that this hub is not intended to replace any type of professional medical advice; it’s simply a report on some of the research I’ve conducted about anxiety disorder and its characteristics. You should always consult a physician regarding any type of medical condition.

Image courtesy of Microsoft Office Clip Art
Image courtesy of Microsoft Office Clip Art

Physical Symptoms of Anxiety Attacks

A few of the primary things that can happen during an anxiety attack are feelings of tension or stress that seems to continue to build or escalate. Your body kicks in to the “adrenaline mode”, where it takes on the “fight or flight” characteristics. Your ears may start ringing, and your heart will begin to beat much faster than normal. Most people that have experienced and anxiety attack describe the heartbeat as “pounding” or thumping very loudly. Some people become very faint-headed, dizzy, or feeling like they’re going to pass out. Others feel a sense of nausea or “vertigo” (meaning the feeling like everything around you is whirling or spinning, and you feel a loss of a sense of being “centered”, so to speak). There are often reported to be sensations of a choking or gagging feeling, like a big lump is in their throat, and they may also experience shortness of breath, or like they just can’t seem to draw enough air in when they inhale. Others have been reported to hyperventilate, which is literally “over-breathing”, and many people have reported the feeling of shaking or trembling, as if they’re “made of Jell-o”, so to speak. Due to the adrenaline rush that happens from an anxiety attack, you can feel physically exhausted after you experience one, and feel as if you just want to lay down or go to sleep. The symptoms of anxiety attacks truly have a cycle of activity where they start off, build momentum, reach a climax (the most stressful part of the whole ordeal), and then decelerate until you’re back to normal. All told, the experience sucks, and I hope nobody reading this ever has to go through it.

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    • Peter Geekie profile image

      Peter Geekie 4 years ago from Sittingbourne

      Well written and researched - thank you

      Kind regards Peter