What Are Anxiety Attacks
Anxiety attack is not an official clinical term. The latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders , a book the vast majority of mental health professionals abide by, does not list it. Instead, the term anxiety attack is a colloquial phrase coined by people who have anxiety.
The term anxiety attack is used to describe intense or extended periods of anxiety. An attack is more overwhelming and intense than just having anxiety. But its not as severe as a panic attack. According to her book Stop Anxiety from Stopping You, Dr. Helen Odessky notes that the term anxiety attack became more common because people started feeling like anxiety was interrupting their life. As more and more clients began using it in therapy, mental health professionals began forming a more detailed definition.
Still, while the distinction between anxiety vs. panic attacks has become clearer over time, there isnt yet an official definition for an anxiety attack.
How To Tell If You’re Having An Anxiety Attack
If you feel like you had severe anxiety, then you had an anxiety attack. Any form of severe anxiety can count as an attack. But for those that are experiencing something more like panic attacks, the experience tends to be similar between different people.
Recall that anxiety attacks can mimic other health problems. If you haven’t been to a doctor, it’s a good idea to go at least once to rule out any more serious issues. Make sure your doctor knows about anxiety, however. Not all doctors are aware of the severity of anxiety attack symptoms. Some may not believe that anxiety can cause so many physical symptoms and sensations, but it absolutely can. Thats why its so important to find the right doctor.
The symptoms below are often experienced differently by different people. During an anxiety attack, your body experiences a wave of stress that is so profound, it’s difficult to know exactly how your individual body will react. Yet below are some of the most common symptoms of an anxiety attack:
You may not experience all of these symptoms at once either, and each one may cause various degrees of severity. You may also feel as though there is no way that it is an anxiety attack. Anxiety attacks and panic attacks are often so severe that the sufferers live in constant fear of the symptoms coming back.
Anxiety attacks also tend to peak around 10 minutes . Then as they dissipate, they often leave you feeling fatigued and drained, possibly fearful of another attack.
How Is Panic Disorder Diagnosed
Medical or mental health providers can diagnose panic disorder. Your provider may diagnose panic disorder when you have repeated panic attacks and you:
- Persistently worry about having more panic attacks or their consequences.
- Obsess about losing control during a panic attack.
- Change your behaviors to avoid situations that may trigger a panic attack.
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Cause Of Anxiety Attacks
Anxiety attacks are usually although not always caused by severe stress. The symptoms depend on the type of attack. The term anxiety attack is sometimes used interchangeably with the term panic attack, but may also refer to any periods of extreme anxiety beyond what a person normally experiences.
What Is An Anxiety Attack 10 Ways To Recognize And Cope With An Anxiety Attack
Knowing how to deal with anxiety is crucial because people experience different events that cause stress. Managing anxiety includes recognizing signs and understanding ways to cope. Whether you are adjusting to a new routine or experiencing a stressful situation such as a job loss or change in family dynamics, sometimes anxiety affects how you perceive and respond to difficult situations. Dealing with stress is one thing, but when feeling uneasy and worried takes most of your attention, how you respond to situations may become exaggerated and lead to unhealthy coping.
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Symptoms Of Anxiety Disorders:
Anyone may experience these symptoms during stressful times. However, individuals with anxiety disorders may experience them in absence of stress, with more severe symptoms and/or with several symptoms appearing together.
- Inability to relax
- Rapid pulse or pounding, skipping, racing heart
- Nausea, chest pain or pressure
- Feeling a “lump in the throat”
- Dry mouth
- Feelings of dread, apprehension or losing control
- Trembling or shaking, sweating or chills
- Fainting or dizziness, feelings of detachment
- Thoughts of death
Types Of Anxiety Disorder
There are several different classified anxiety disorders. Each one features different types of symptoms that can, in some cases, be triggered by specific situations.
Panic disorder : This involves at least two panic attacks accompanied by the constant fear of future attacks. People with panic disorder may lose a job, refuse to travel or leave their home, or completely avoid anything they believe will trigger an attack of anxiety.
Generalized anxiety disorder : This is a constant state of worry about a number of events or activities in the persons life.
Phobic disorder: This features an incapacitating and irrational fear of an object or situation, for example, a fear of spiders or open spaces . Most adults with phobic disorder are aware that their fear is irrational.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder : This condition is marked by unwanted repeated thoughts and behaviors .
What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor
If you have panic attacks, you may want to ask your healthcare provider:
- Why am I having panic attacks?
- What is the best treatment for panic attacks?
- How long will I need therapy?
- How long do I need to take medications?
- Should I look out for medication side effects?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Panic attacks can be extremely uncomfortable. Although theyre not physically harmful, they can take a toll on your mental health and stop you from doing the things you love. Dont be embarrassed to tell your healthcare provider that you have panic attacks. Your provider can help you overcome fears and anxieties that trigger attacks. You can get better with treatments like psychotherapy and medications.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 08/12/2020.
Having To Go To The Bathroom
This is one that anyone whos ever been nervous will be able to identify with, but those that suffer from anxiety are likely to notice that they feel the need to urinate more often when theyre having an attack.
The experts arent entirely sure why this is, but they think it might be because the bladder is essentially a muscular sack, and when youre anxious your muscles all tense up. This may include the bladder.
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What Happens When You Go To The Er With Anxiety
At one point in their lives, everyone will most likely experience anxiety. Not only is it common, but it can also drastically affect your day-to-day life. From daily stressors to major life crises, anything can trigger anxiety or a panic attack. In extreme cases, medical attention may be required, but what happens when you go to the ER with anxiety? In this blog post, well explore what anxiety is and whether it warrants a trip to the emergency room.
Behavior Scale: How To Judge Severity
- Mild Symptoms: Symptoms do not keep the child from any normal activities. School, play, relationships and sleep have not changed. Treatment: parenting groups or books.
- Moderate Symptoms: Symptoms keep the child from doing some normal activities. New behaviors mainly happen at home. They affect how the child and parent interact. They may also keep him or her from going to child care or school. Your child may not sleep well because of these symptoms. Treatment: most often, brief counseling from a mental health provider or your child’s doctor.
- Severe Symptoms: Symptoms keep the child from doing most normal activities. They affect the way the child acts with parents. Symptoms also impact relations with siblings and friends. Adults at child care or school may also be impacted by the child’s actions. Treatment: these patients often need to be seen urgently by a mental health provider.
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What Is An Anxiety Attack
An anxiety attack is a sudden and intense episode of fear and anxiety. These anxiety attacks can sometimes occur unexpectedly for no apparent reason, but they can also be linked to specific triggers.
Anxiety attack is not a formal, clinical term. Instead, it is a term often used colloquially by many people to describe all sorts of anxious responses. People may use it to describe a range of sensations, from worries about an upcoming event to intense feelings of fear that would meet the diagnostic criteria for a panic attack. In order to understand what someone means by anxiety attack, it is necessary to consider the context in which the symptoms occur.
Differences In How They Start
Anxiety can be a response to a specific worry or fear. It tends to develop gradually, and a person is usually worried or concerned at the outset. It can be mild, moderate or severe. There may be a sense that if only this problem can be solved, everything will be all right.
A panic attack can happen without warning, and there is no way to prevent it. It can happen whether a person feels calm or anxious, and even during sleep. There is often no obvious cause, and the level of fear is out of proportion to the trigger. In fact, according to the APA, the reaction is unrelated to the situation.
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Can You Go To The Er For Anxiety
Yes, but if you go to a hospital, expect to wait. Unlike Village Emergency Centers, hospitals cannot guarantee no wait time. In many cases, sufferers from panic attacks or anxiety overcome their episodes long before seeing a doctor. If you start experiencing chest pains, we highly recommend going to an ER immediately since it may be a sign of other conditions.
When Should You Go To The Er For Anxiety
As mentioned, most cases of anxiety do not require medical attention, but if you are experiencing regular panic attacks, you may want to go to an ER, especially if you have chest pains. Sometimes anxiety and panic attacks are early signs of cardiovascular disease. You should also visit an ER if youre experiencing tachycardia which can be fatal in extreme cases. No matter your symptoms, its better to be safe than sorry which is why its always a good idea to be examined by a medical professional.
If youd like to learn more about what happens when you go to the ER with anxiety, reach out to a medical professional at a Village Emergency Center. With locations in Clear Creek, River Oaks, Katy, and Jersey Village, were dedicated to providing expert medical care for any emergency, including extreme cases of anxiety. Our doors are always open even on holidays with no wait time. Emergencies dont wait which is why you shouldnt either. Walk into any location or check-in online today.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Anxiety
Anxiety feels different depending on the person experiencing it. Feelings can range from butterflies in your stomach to a racing heart. You might feel out of control, like theres a disconnect between your mind and body.
Other ways people experience anxiety include nightmares, panic attacks, and painful thoughts or memories that you cant control. You may have a general feeling of fear and worry, or you may fear a specific place or event.
Symptoms of general anxiety include:
- increased heart rate
- trouble concentrating
- difficulty falling asleep
Your anxiety symptoms might be totally different from someone elses. Thats why its important to know all the ways anxiety can present itself. Read about the many types of anxiety symptoms you might experience.
Why Do I Get Panic Attacks For No Reason
Have you recently felt that you have had a panic attack for no reason? Do you get panic attacks and cant understand why they happen?
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders groups panic attacks into two categories – expected or unexpected. If you feel as though you have had a panic attack for no reason, it is likely that you have experienced one that would be considered unexpected.
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Fight Or Flight Response
Anxiety is linked to the body’s fight or flight response. This is an evolutionary stress response to life-threatening situations. There is a physiological response of the sympathetic nervous system, including a rush of stress hormones, that prepares the body for the threat.
In some people, this stress response is over-reactive, and non-threatening triggers like a work presentation, a haunted house, or even something so small it’s hard to identify, can lead to what we experience as “anxiety attacks.”
To Learn To Cope With An Anxiety Attack Effectively First You Need To Understand What Exactly Happens With Your Body And Mind
In a nutshell an anxiety attack is an exaggeration of the arousal of your sympathetic nervous system.
Heres a more detailed explanation for this:
Your brain focuses on some alleged thread, for instance, a very scary thought that was floating somewhere at your subconscious. Your thalamus the part of the brain responsible for regulating consciousness, sleep and alertness transfers that information to your amygdala the part of the brain responsible for emotional reactions, decision-making and memory which marks it as danger and sends a signal to your sympathetic nervous system, activating the fight-or-flight response.
At the same time, your brain decides to shoot an extra dose of adrenaline inside your blood system, thus triggering the initial panic attack symptoms like rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, sweating and blood pressure rise.
All of the above are the normal sympathetic responses, in the case that you were facing some real danger. But as in reality theres no danger present, you start panicking as you fail to ascribe these symptoms to something particular and start believing things like you are having a heart attack/severe allergic reaction or actually dying.
This huge mix of fear and panic make other symptoms to kick in and voila a full-scale anxiety attack in action.
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Why Is It Important To Recognize Anxiety
Experiencing anxiety is part of life. It is part of the bodys fight-or-flight response that is triggered when you experience a situation thats a threat, challenge, or form of pressure. There may be events happening that affect you, people you know, and people you dont know that could leave a dramatic effect on your emotions. Anxiety occurs at different levels. It can help you stay focused, alert, and even motivate you. However, too much anxiety may lead you to feel overwhelmed, fearful, and worried about things that could signal a disorder.
There are different classifications of anxiety, and they may occur with or without warning. People react to situations differently, and their level of anxiety reflects how they respond. Some people may have generalized anxiety and not know it because they have a habit of persistent worrying. Some experience physical symptoms regularly when under stress, not realizing they could have an anxiety problem taking a toll on their health. A person may have an anxiety attack or an anxiety disorder that requires professional guidance. Because anxiety can influence how you live your life, it is crucial to recognize signs and manage symptoms.