Have you ever wondered why you shook before a test? or your palms sweat before a job interview? Do you struggle with anxiety? How to know if you’re anxious? What are the symptoms? How to overcome it?
Anxiety is a typical emotion we all encounter at various times. It can be triggered by stress, life transitions, or trauma. These uneasy feelings are the body’s natural way of preparing for a momentous occasion. You would have also observed how you began to relax once the event started; you began to breathe more efficiently, and your heart stopped racing.
Anxiety helps us perform better because it makes us more aware. For some people, anxiety can be more intense and frequent, to the point where it interferes with their daily lives. It is known as an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety disorders are a type of mental illness. Anxiety attacks can be very frightening and overwhelming. They can come on suddenly and seem to last forever. If you’re unsure what’s happening to you, it can be helpful to know the signs of an anxiety attack.
Table of Contents
What is an anxiety attack?
An anxiety attack is a sudden, intense feeling of anxiety and fear. It can come on without warning and may last several minutes or longer. Anxiety attacks peak within 10 minutes and lingers no longer than 30 minutes.
Stress disrupts daily tasks, is difficult to control, is out of proportion to the actual danger, and can last long. You may avoid locations or circumstances to prevent unpleasant feelings. Symptoms might begin as early as childhood or adolescence and stay throughout maturity.
Symptoms of an anxiety attack
Anxiety attacks can cause a range of physical and psychological symptoms. Because anxiety disorders are a collection of related illnesses rather than a single disorder, symptoms may differ from person to person.
One person may suffer from severe anxiety episodes that come without warning, whereas another panic at the notion of socializing at a party. Others may suffer from a crippling fear of driving or uncontrollable, intrusive thoughts. Another person may be constantly tense, worrying about anything and everything.
Regardless of their variations, all anxiety disorders cause extreme fear or worry that is out of proportion to the situation.
These can include:
-Shortness of breath
-Trembling or shaking
-Feeling faint or dizzy
-Nausea or abdominal pain
– The feeling of unreality or detachment
-Fear of losing control or going crazy
-Fear of dying
-A choking sensation
While everyone experiences anxiety differently, these are some of the most common symptoms that people experience during an anxiety attack. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is essential to seek help from a medical professional.
Causes of anxiety attacks
Several different things can trigger an anxiety attack. Few may have a genetic disposition to anxiety, which can be triggered by stress or other factors. Others may develop anxiety after a traumatic event. Anxiety can also be caused by certain medical conditions, such as an overactive thyroid or heart disease. Some medications, such as steroids or beta-blockers, can cause anxiety.
A variety of things can cause anxiety attacks. Others may have experienced a traumatic event in their life that has led to anxiety. And still, others may have an imbalance of chemicals in their brain, which can lead to anxiety and panic attacks.
There are many different symptoms of an anxiety attack. Some people may feel like they have a heart attack, as their heart races and they think of shortness of breath. Others may feel like they will faint as their vision tunnels and become dizzy or lightheaded. Still, others may feel like they will vomit as their stomach churns and they break out into a cold sweat.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is essential to seek medical help immediately, as anxiety attacks can be hazardous.
Types of anxiety disorders
Anxiety may occur in different forms. It varies from person to person. You don’t need to experience the same signs and symptoms as others. This article will assist you with the different types of anxiety disorders.
1. Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
If continual worries and fears keep you from going about your daily activities, or if you have a persistent dread that something horrible may happen, you may have a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). People with GAD are nervous almost always, even if they don’t know why.
Physical symptoms of GAD include sleeplessness, stomach trouble, restlessness, and exhaustion. If you have generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) symptoms, you should cope with them.
2. Panic attacks and panic disorder
Panic disorder is distinguished by frequent, unexpected panic attacks and the anxiety of undergoing another episode. A panic disorder may be accompanied by agoraphobia or the fear of being somewhere where escape or rescue would be impossible in the event of a panic attack.
You are more inclined to avoid public locations such as shopping malls or regional settings such as an airplane if you have agoraphobia.
3. Obsessive-compulsive syndrome (OCD)
OCD is defined by unpleasant thoughts or activities that appear impossible to stop or control. Obsessions, or worrying about hurting someone, may annoy you if you have OCD. You may also experience uncontrollable compulsions, such as repeatedly washing your hands.
4. Hoarding syndrome
Hoarding disorder is distinguished by an inability to discard belongings and a pathological attachment to even useless items. It can result in an overabundance of possessions (or animals) and a messy living area. You may imbue inanimate objects with emotion, have deep sentimental attachments to goods, or find utility in any entity. These ideas can make you feel anxious, guilty, or unhappy when you discard things.
5. Irrational fears and phobias
A phobia is an irrational or exaggerated dread of a particular object, activity, or situation that poses little to no harm. Fear of animals, flying, and needles are all common phobias. You may go to great lengths to avoid the source of your fear. Unfortunately, avoiding reinforces anxiety.
6. Anxiety about social situations
You may have a social anxiety disorder, also known as social phobia. It is characterized by extreme timidity, and in severe cases, social interactions are avoided entirely. The most frequent type of social phobia is performance anxiety (also known as stage fright).
7. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a severe anxiety disorder that can develop following a traumatic or life-threatening event. PTSD symptoms include flashbacks or dreams concerning the events, hypervigilance, easily startling, withdrawal from people, and avoidance of circumstances that remind you of the trauma.
8. Anxiety about separation
While separation anxiety is a natural developmental stage, your kid may have a separation anxiety disorder if fears become excessive or persistent enough to interfere with school or other activities. They may grow agitated just thinking about being away from mom or dad and complain of illness to avoid playing with friends.
How to know if you have an anxiety attack?
Is it possible that you have an anxiety disorder? The answer is yes!
If you’re feeling anxious or stressed, knowing the difference between anxiety and an anxiety attack is essential. Anxiety is a normal emotion that we all feel at times. It’s our body’s way of responding to stress. An anxiety attack is a more intense form of anxiety. It can cause physical symptoms like a racing heart, shortness of breath, and dizziness.
- Pay attention to your breathing. If you’re taking short, shallow breaths, it’s a sign that your body is in “fight-or-flight” mode. It is when our bodies are preparing to defend themselves from danger.
- Notice your heart rate. If your heart is racing or pounding, it’s another sign that your body is under stress.
- Check to see if you’re sweating more than usual. Sweating is normal but if you’re sweating a lot it might be a symptom of anxiety with the other symptoms. Anxiety can cause us to sweat more because our bodies are trying to cool down from all the adrenaline rushing through them.
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s essential to take some time to relax and de-stress. Try some deep breathing exercises or meditation. And if you think you might be having an anxiety attack, don’t hesitate to reach out for help from a friend or therapist.
If you recognize any of the abovementioned signs and symptoms that won’t go away, you may have an anxiety disorder. We’ve listed some characteristics to have a better understanding if you have an anxiety disorder:
- Are you always tense, concerned, or tense?
- Is your worry interfering with your work, school, or family obligations?
- Are you troubled by little concerns that you can’t seem to shake?
- Do you believe those horrible things will happen if some things aren’t done correctly?
- Do you avoid everyday circumstances or activities that make you anxious?
- Do you have sudden, unexpected bouts of heart-pounding panic?
- Do you feel that danger and disaster are just around the corner?
What to Do If You Have Anxiety Attacks?
In certain circumstances, a person will have one anxiety attack and then be done with it. It frequently occurs when a person is under tremendous stress, and the body’s capacity to cope is compromised. However, many people acquire panic disorder, defined by recurring anxiety attacks or a fear of anxiety attacks.
Keep in mind that this illness is uncontrollable. Many believe that rational thinking is required to get through an anxiety attack. However, anxiety attacks are far more like a disease. Rather than trying to ride it out and hope it goes, you should discover an effective treatment, such as cognitive behavioral therapy.
So you must act fast if you have had an anxiety attack. The longer you wait, the more difficult it may be to treat them, and the more they will influence your life.
If you are having an anxiety attack, it is essential to remember that you will get through it. Here are some tips on how to cope with an anxiety attack:
-Try to stay calm, and breathe slowly, and deeply. It can be helpful to count your breaths. It could be beneficial during an anxiety attack. Don’t let anxiety come rushing you.
-Focus on something else, such as a positive memory or a favorite object. Try to concentrate on the good feeling associated with the memory or object. Try to not think about it too and keep yourself focused and busy on other things. Overthinking will only worsen the situation.
-Talk to someone who can provide support and reassurance. It could be a friend, family member, therapist, or hotline counselor.
-Avoiding anything that might trigger or worsen the attack, such as caffeine or alcohol, as these are not good options while having an anxiety attack.
Anxiety and self-help
Anxiety disorders not only affect everyone who worries excessively. You may experience anxiety due to a highly demanding schedule, a lack of exercise or sleep, or even too much caffeine. The simple truth is that if you live an unhealthy and stressful lifestyle, you are more likely to experience anxiety—whether or not you have an anxiety disorder.
These suggestions can help you reduce anxiety and manage disorder symptoms:
Make contact with people.
Loneliness and isolation can cause or exacerbate anxiety, although talking about your concerns in person can frequently make them seem less daunting. Join a self-help or support group, or communicate your problems and concerns with a trusted loved one. If you don’t have someone to turn to, it’s never too late to make new friends and develop a support network.
Control your tension
Stress management might help if your stress levels are out of control. Examine your obligations to determine if there are any that you can give up, decline, or assign to others. Avoid stressing over things, and you should work on controlling your emotions. Try to be calm at times. Don’t stress yourself.
Use relaxing techniques
Relaxation practices such as mindfulness meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, and deep breathing, when done regularly, can reduce anxiety symptoms while increasing feelings of relaxation and emotional well-being.
Several relaxing techniques can help manage anxiety. One approach is to focus on your breathing, which can help to slow down your heart rate and bring you back to the present moment. Other relaxation techniques include progressive muscle relaxation, visualization, and mindfulness meditation.
Regular exercise is essential
Exercise is a natural stress reliever and anxiolytic. Aim for at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise on most days (break it up into small bursts if necessary). Rhythmic activities that demand you to move your arms and legs are particularly beneficial. Walking, running, swimming, martial arts or dancing are all options.
Get enough rest
It’s essential to get enough rest when you’re dealing with anxiety. Your body needs time to recover from anxiety’s stress and recharge itself. Getting enough sleep will help you feel better physically and mentally, and it will also help you cope with anxiety more effectively,
Sleep deprivation can worsen anxious thoughts and sensations, so aim for seven to nine hours of excellent sleep per night. Avoid staying late at night as it will only worsen your health and trigger your anxiety. Take as much sleep as possible.
Caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine should all be used with caution
Caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine are all substances that can have an impact on your health. Caffeine is a stimulant that can cause you to feel awake and alert. Alcohol is a depressant that can make you feel relaxed and sleepy.
Caffeine and alcohol can exacerbate anxiety. While Smoking may appear peaceful, nicotine is a potent stimulant that leads to increased, not reduced, stress levels. See How to Quit Smoking for assistance in breaking the habit. Nicotine is a stimulant that can also cause you to feel more awake and alert.
Stop worrying all the time
Worrying is a mental habit that can be broken. Creating a worry period, challenging anxious ideas, and learning to accept uncertainty are all strategies that can dramatically lessen worry and calm your anxious thoughts.
If you tend to worry a lot, you might be wondering how to stop worrying all the time. After all, chronic worrying can lead to anxiety and other health problems.
The good news is that there are some things you can do to stop worrying so much. First, try to be aware of your worrying patterns. If you catch yourself in the act of worry, it will be easier to stop. Second, make a conscious effort to focus on the present moment. That means living here and now and not dwelling on past events or future worries.
Third, try to take action on the things causing you to worry. If there’s something you can do to fix the problem, take care of it. Fourth, accept that some things are out of your control and learn to let go. That doesn’t mean giving up or resigning yourself to a bad situation; it just means recognizing that some things are beyond your power.
When to seek professional help
If you’re having an anxiety attack, it’s essential to seek professional help. There are a few different ways to tell if you’re having an anxiety attack:
- You may feel like you have a heart attack. You’ll feel like your heart is racing or pounding and may feel short of breath. You might also feel dizzy, lightheaded, or faint.
- You may feel like you’re going to vomit or have diarrhea.
- You may feel like you’re going to pass out.
- You may have a panic attack.
An anxiety attack is a sudden onset of intense fear or anxiety that lasts several minutes. If you have any of these symptoms, it’s essential to seek professional help right away.
If you have a lot of physical complaints, you should start with a medical checkup. Your doctor can ensure that your anxiety isn’t caused by a medical issue like a thyroid disorder, hypoglycemia, or asthma. Because some medications and supplements might trigger anxiety, your doctor will want to know about any prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, herbal remedies, and recreational drugs you’re using.
If you’re feeling anxious, knowing the difference between anxiety and an anxiety attack is essential. Anxiety is a normal emotion that everyone experiences from time to time. On the other hand, an anxiety attack is a more intense form of anxiety that can come on suddenly and overwhelm you. If you’re having an anxiety attack, you might experience symptoms like shortness of breath, heart palpitations, and chest pain. If you’re unsure whether your sharing is normal anxiety or an anxiety attack, it’s best to consult with a mental health professional.