How Long Can An Anxiety Attack Last? How Can You Help Someone Having An Anxiety Attack?

Anxiety is the feeling of stress and constantly overthinking that something bad is about to happen. Usually an anxiety attack can last from a few minutes to a whole week. Follow this article to learn more about how long an anxiety attack lasts and how you can help someone having an anxiety attack.

Anxiety is a very common illness which can ruin the happiest moments of a person’s life. A person will experience sweaty palms and they might even start shaking. When a person is anxious about something then, they will start to overthink each and everything that is happening around them. They will feel like everything is happening for the worse and nothing good is going to come out. A person can experience anxiety attacks anytime and anywhere.

Usually an anxiety attack will only last for a few minutes but in some cases, it can even last for an entire week. Some people might be able to control their anxiety but some people might make it worse with their overthinking. It is one of the most common mental health conditions. When a person is having an anxiety attack then, it can be hard for them to even finish their day. Having an anxiety attack can get in the way of your basic day to day task.

Follow this article to explore more about how long an anxiety attack lasts and how you can help someone having an anxiety attack.

What are the signs that a person is suffering from anxiety?

Just like every other mental health condition, there are visible signs of anxiety. Following are the most common signs that a person is suffering from anxiety.

  • Excessive fear
  • Restlessness
  • Tension in muscles
  • Constant worrying
  • Overthinking everything
  • Always thinking worst of every situation

When a person is suffering from anxiety then, they will also have visible physical signs. Anxiety will also attack a person’s physical health in the following ways.

  • Panic attacks
  • High heart rate
  • Tightening in the chest
  • Lack of breath
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • A person will feel dizzy sometimes
  • Having a dry mouth
  • Sweaty palms
  • They are unable to concentrate on their work.
  • A person will feel as if someone is piercing needles in their skin.

What are the types of anxiety a person can have?

Healthcare professionals have come up with the following main types of anxiety disorders that a person might be suffering with. Here are the main types of anxiety a person can have.

  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – PTSD
  • Phobias
  • Social anxiety
  • Separation anxiety
  • Selective mutism

Generalized anxiety disorder:

When a person is suffering from generalized anxiety disorder then, they will spend all of their time overthinking about the smallest things. They will always think about the worst results in any situation. This will get in the way of their everyday tasks and they will not be able to concentrate on anything. This type of anxiety will have behavioral and physical symptoms also. When a person gets an attack in this type of anxiety then, it can last from a few minutes till the time the issue gets resolved.

Obsessive compulsive disorder:

Obsessive compulsive disorder is one of the most common types of anxiety. When a person is suffering from this type of anxiety then, they will obsess over small details. They will obsess about little things and they will spend their time organizing stuff around them. They will keep on checking on little things which can drive people around them mad.

Post traumatic stress disorder – PTSD:

When a person has experienced something traumatic in the past like they have been abused or they have watched their loved ones die in front of them then, that incident will always stay in the back of their minds. They will avoid going to places or being around people who can trigger their PTSD. A PTSD attack can last for about twenty minutes but if it gets out of control then, the person needs medical attention immediately.


A phobia is an excessive fear about something or someone. Phobias are generally associated with post traumatic stress disorder. When a person has experienced something traumatic in their past then, they are most likely to have excessive fear from that person and from that place as well.

Social anxiety:

A person who is suffering from social anxiety will have a hard time socializing and being around people who are unfamiliar. They are not outgoing and just being in that place will drain all of their energy. Whenever they are in a social situation where there are a lot of people then, they will start getting anxious and they would want nothing but to escape the situation.

Separation anxiety:

Separation anxiety is when a person has this constant fear that their loved one’s is going to leave them. They will worry about being alone and this thought will give them anxiety. They will overthink even the smallest thing about their partner thinking that their partner is about to leave them. This overthinking will have a direct impact on their health and their relationship as well.

Selective mutism:

Selective mutism develops from childhood. It occurs when a person is not allowed to speak in front of others while growing up. They will remain quiet and have a closed off personality. This will continue even when they grow up, they will not speak to anyone about their feelings because as a child they were not allowed to say anything. This can develop social anxiety in a person as well.

What can trigger an anxiety attack?

It is supreme to know the triggers of anxiety attack if you have a family member or a friend suffering from anxiety. Recognizing these triggers can help you help them. Following are the triggers of an anxiety attack.

  • Health problems
  • Medications
  • Financial problems
  • Social gatherings
  • Negative thinking
  • Conflict
  • Personal triggers

Health problems:

If a person is suffering from a serious illness like cancer or tumor then, the patient will constantly worry about their disease and it can easily trigger their anxiety. Having an anxiety attack when a person is already weak from the disease will not be good for you. It will make your blood pressure high and your heart rate will increase. These things can also worsen a person’s situation.


According to research, there are certain medicines like birth control, weight loss medicines, or any chronic illness medicine that can trigger your anxiety. These medicines will change a person’s sugar levels, hormone levels, and cell count. You must always ask your doctor about the possible side effects before you start taking your medicine.

Financial problems:

A person who is facing financial problems and is not getting a way out of this problem will keep on thinking about their financial crisis. This overthinking will make them anxious as they will constantly stress about their financial situation. If you feel like things are getting out of your hands then, you should consult a financial advisor who can help you get out of this crisis.

Social gatherings:

A person who is suffering from social anxiety will always get anxious in a social gathering. They will feel drained and they will not be comfortable around people they do not even know. They will always try to look for a way out of any social gathering. They will never speak with anyone and they will get anxious if someone approaches them.

Negative thinking:

When a person is constantly thinking negatively about something they are doing then, no matter what the outcome will be they will get anxious with the overthinking. They will always think bad about themselves and if they are doing something then, they will not have confidence in themselves. They will think low about the situation and according to them, every work that they do is going to fail. This negative self-talk will trigger their anxiety.


A person who is in a relationship will always face many ups and downs but when you are always in a conflict with your partner then, you might start getting anxious about your relationship. And if the situation gets worse then, your relationship will suffer because of the constant conflict and overthinking. It can also disturb a person’s peace of mind and emotions.

Personal triggers:

Personal triggers are attached to other mental issues like post traumatic stress disorder, phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder, and other illnesses. When a person is near a place or near someone that does not have a pleasant memory in their life then, this will trigger their anxiety.

How long can an anxiety attack last?

According to research, an anxiety attack can last from ten minutes to twenty minutes. But there is no set duration for an anxiety attack. It is different for people, there are people who can control their anxiety and then, there are people who cannot control their emotions so their anxiety gets worse when triggered.

Usually an anxiety attack can last for a maximum of twenty minutes, but there were cases that were reported with one hour of anxiety attack. If a person is experiencing a severe anxiety attack then, it is necessary for them to receive medical help as soon as possible.

During an anxiety attack a person will experience high heart rate and blood pressure and if their anxiety attack exceeds the timeframe of twenty minutes then, it can be fatal for them also. Although twenty minutes sounds less but for a person who is experiencing an anxiety attack, it might feel like a year. So, an anxiety attack must be treated immediately so their anxiety attack will not end up being fatal.

Can anxiety attacks last for days?

Although it is very rare for an anxiety attack to last for days, when a person is dealing with something serious like a financial crisis, having a conflict, or suffering from a chronic disease then, they will constantly feel anxious about their situation and overthink to the point of no return. This might trigger their anxiety attack for a few days. But it is not a healthy thing because each day they spend getting anxious over something, their heart rate and blood pressure will continue to rise. This will have a direct impact on your physical and mental health.

There is also a possibility that anxiety keeps on building in a person for days before it shows up. This build up is not a good sign because the minute your anxiety finally attacks you then, it might be higher in intensity than usual which can be extremely fatal for a person. The high blood pressure and heart rate is never good for a person. These things can also cause a heart attack or a stroke.

How can you help someone having an anxiety attack?

If you have a family member or a friend who is suffering from anxiety then, naturally you would want to help them. But when they get an anxiety attack then, it can be difficult for a person if they do not know what they are supposed to do. Following are some tips on how you can help someone having an anxiety attack.

  • Research about the illness
  • Be calm
  • Give them space but do not leave them
  • Know what to say
  • Use grounding techniques
  • Check for their medications
  • Be supportive and reassuring
  • Get them a professional support

Research about the illness:

Before dealing with something you must know the situation you are about to deal with in and out. You must do your research about anxiety before you decide to help someone. If you do not even know about the illness then how will you help someone else? Read articles about anxiety or ask from a professional and gather details about the illness.

Be calm:

It is important that you stay calm when someone else is already having an anxiety attack. If you start panicking after seeing them then, you will not be able to help anyone. So, if you see someone having an anxiety attack then, first and foremost you need to stay as calm as possible before you do something else.

Give them space but do not leave them:

It is paramount that you give them their space and let them breathe. It is important that you give them some time to calm down a little bit. So, you move a little away from them but do not leave them. Do not make them feel alone by leaving them. They need you but they are unable to communicate their feelings at that time. So, stay close to them and let them know that you are not going anywhere.

Know what to say:

You must know what to say when you are with someone who is suffering from an anxiety attack. Tell them that they are not alone and assure them that you are not going anywhere. Keep on encouraging them that they are going to get through this and they are strong enough to find a solution to their problem. They are not weak and they will never lose. These small things will make them fight their anxiety.

Use grounding techniques:

If you ever feel like things are getting out of control and the person is now facing an anxiety attack with high intensity then, you can use grounding techniques to make them gain control of their emotions. Tell them to touch any five objects, to count backwards, or to name the five things that they see at the moment. This will divert their attention from their attack and they will gain control over their senses.

Check for their medications:

When you see someone suffering from an anxiety attack then, always look for their medicines. See if they have any medicine in their bag or in their pockets. Immediately give them their medications so they will calm down a little bit.

Be supportive and reassuring:

Be supportive throughout their anxiety attack and keep on reassuring them that they are not alone. Be supportive about their decisions and talk to them. Let them share their feelings and emotions with you. Listen to what they have to say and be a support system for them.

Get them a professional support:

It is supreme that you get professional help for someone who is suffering from anxiety. This will give them a chance to deal with their illness more openly. A therapist will help them get through this and they will gain control over their thoughts and emotions. This is one of the best ways through which you can help someone who is struggling with anxiety.


Anxiety is one of the most common mental health illnesses. It makes a person overthink about everything that they do. Anxiety will not let a person think clearly and it can create hurdles in a person’s way of completing their daily tasks. Usually an anxiety attack lasts for about ten to twenty minutes and you may think that the timeframe is less but these twenty minutes will feel like a whole year to the person who experiences the attack.

In some rare cases, an anxiety attack can also last for days as it keeps on building up inside a person for days and when it finally attacks a person, the result can be fatal. An anxiety attack can give a person extremely high heart rate and blood pressure which can cause some serious illness. If you see someone having an anxiety attack then the first thing that you must do is look for their medications, if they are not getting stable even after taking their medicines then, call for medical help immediately. Be supportive and assure them that they will never be alone.