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Anxiety attacks and disorders: Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment

Updated on May 14, 2010

Anxiety attacks can occur in individuals with normal personality and also people with personality disorders. Generalized anxiety often begins in relation to stressful events and becomes chronic when stressful events persist. Anxiety disorders are abnormal states with physical and mental symptoms as a fundamental aspect and may be secondary to a psychiatric disorder or organic disease. The most common psychological symptoms of anxiety attacks include irritability, sensitivity to noise, difficulty concentrating, and an intense feeling of restlessness. A person, who is suffering from anxiety disorder looks tired with tense posture, wrinkled forehead, restlessness, and has shaky hands, pale feet, and sweaty armpits. A person easily gets into tears and remains depressed. Anxiety is one of the most common illnesses that occur in human beings. An anxiety disorder is described as a complex emotional situation with unpleasant affect, which is expressed by a feeling of fear and emotional distress accompanied by various bodily symptoms.

The feeling of fear in an anxiety attack is not related to being afraid of anything and is a separate thing because fear is a feeling produced by a known and imminent danger but the feeling of fear in an anxiety attack is a sense of coming danger that is unpredictable and undefinable. Anxiety is a normal emotion that has an active role in the body's response to various stimuli, thereby facilitating the responsiveness of a person, but when anxiety exceeds in frequency, intensity, and duration, it is termed as anxiety disorder in which despite there being no real threat to body, the body produces a state of serious emotional disturbance which is considered as a disease situation.

Anxiety disorder
Anxiety disorder

Signs and symptoms of anxiety disorders

Symptoms and physical signs of anxiety disorders can include the anguish related to gastrointestinal tract. Also, there is often muscle tension in the scalp area, which is perceived as a headache. An anxious person always complains of a "tension headache", but it is only muscular in origin.

Treatment of anxiety attacks

Anxiety attacks should be treated after careful diagnosis and observation of the patient. If the patient is a good historian, it is a plus point. Anxiety symptoms fit in all psychiatric disorders and are sometimes very difficult to diagnose. Also, an anxiety attack is usually linked with depression, so care must be taken to differentiate severe agitated depression and generalized anxiety and this can be done by inquiring with the patient for any severely depressive or suicidal thoughts.

Treatment of anxiety disorders does not require any drugs as such but in cases of exaggeration of the anxiety, some drugs can be recommended. Also sometimes symptoms of palpitations in anxiety can be mimicked with heart disease, which is not always the case.


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    • soni2006 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajinder Soni 

      8 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Hi equealla, anxiety attacks can be treated with proper care and routine followups with the doctors. You have been doing a wonderful job by taking care of that elderly lady suffering from anxiety. I wish you and her best of luck.

    • equealla profile image


      8 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

      I have the responsibility to take care of an elderly lady with such bad symptoms of anxiety, it is sometimes contageous. I have worked a lot with a great team of doctors to get the proper treatment for her, and life is much better for the both of us.

      I just hope and pray that the treatment will be sustainable. I feel sorry for her when this attacks upset her so much.

    • soni2006 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajinder Soni 

      8 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Thanks for your comments Granny's House and Ethel Smith. Anxiety is very common these days I think because of rising stressors in daily life.

    • Granny's House profile image

      Granny's House 

      8 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

      My daughter had them so bad she had to quit going to college and do it online.

    • ethel smith profile image

      Ethel Smith 

      8 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      I had a short period of these before my over active thyroid was diagnosed. Scary

    • soni2006 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajinder Soni 

      8 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Thanks a lot Jen's Solitude. I have gone through some of your hubs and they are enlightening too. I am your fan Jen.

    • Jen's Solitude profile image

      Jen's Solitude 

      8 years ago from Delaware

      Very informative about what the person goes through physically. Very enlightening.


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