Anxiety Disorders and Panic Attacks
Extreme anxiety disorder is a serious condition that puts a person in a constant state of alertness and fear. Anxiety is otherwise a normal reaction to stress that people commonly experience at various points in their lives. Generally speaking, anxiety helps people to cope with difficult situations until they are resolved.
In the United States, about 19 million adults suffer from some type of anxiety disorder. For people with this condition, worry and fear are constant and can be crippling. Anxious feelings may be so uncomfortable that result in avoiding everyday activities and can escalate into anxiety and panic disorders such as panic attacks.
Panic attacks are episodes of intense fear or anxiety that strike suddenly and repeatedly without any warning. They are far more intense than just having a feeling of being stressed out which most people experience. They can occur at any time, even during sleep. When attacks of panic are very frequent or when a person spends a considerable amount of time anticipating the next attack, then he or she may suffer from panic attack disorder.
Panic Attack Symptoms
Panic attacks are characterized by development of several symptoms which may include:
- pounding heart, increased heart rate (tachycardia)
- chest pain (you feel like having a heart attack)
- sweating, chills, or hot flushes
- shaking and trembling
- stomach cramps
- muscle aches and pains
- dizziness (feel lightheaded and unstable)
- fear of losing control, paranoia
- fear of dying
- a sense of suffocation
- derealisation (distorted sense of reality)
- depersonalisation (feeling disconnected from your body, like you are in a dream)
The number and the intensity of the symptoms vary from person to person. Panic attacks usually last a couple of minutes, occasionally they can go on for up to 10 minutes.