Anxiety Attacks Explained – It’s Just Your Body

Anxiety Attack Explained

Anxiety or panic attacks are sudden periods of intense anxiety, fear, and discomfort. While these attacks might seem to happen for no reason, they’re actually the body’s response to what it perceives as the need for “fight or flight”. The attacks usually last about ten minutes, but can be as short as one minute. In severe cases, these attacks can happen in cycles. These cycles may last for extended periods. These cycles can cause “anticipation” anxiety between episodes.

Physical symptoms of anxiety attacks generally include shortness of breath, heart palpitations, and sweating. Tingling and numbness in the extremities, dizziness, lightheadedness, headaches and nausea are also commonly experienced. These may appear to be random, but they’re actually the result of the body’s preparations for protection.

The anxiety attack is brought on by a sudden onset of fear. In response, the body releases adrenaline followed by increases in the heart and breathing rate and production of sweat (to regulate body temperature). These actions prepare the body for the physical activities of fighting or escaping. Because the anticipated strenuous activity rarely follows the panic attack, these reactions result in physical discomfort.

The increased heart rate is felt as heart palpitations. Rapid breathing (hyperventilation) results in a drop in carbon dioxide levels in the lungs and blood. This leads to the tingling, numbness, dizziness and lightheadedness. The adrenaline causes a narrowing of the blood vessels which results in less blood flow to the head. This also contributes to the lightheadedness and headaches.

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Panic Attacks: The Facts & The Symptoms

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There are many symptoms that can be associated with an anxiety disorder. Some of the most common symptoms include fatigue, heart palpitations, chest pain, nausea, stomach pains, shortness of breath, and headaches. With anxiety, the body goes into a preparation mode to deal with the problem. You will find that your heart rate and blood pressure increase. You may start sweating more. Blood flow will be increased to the major muscles in your body. Your immune and digestive systems will stop functioning properly. Some of the outward signs of anxiety can include skin that is pale, sweating, trembling, pupils that are dilated. If someone is suffering from the effects of anxiety, they may have an overwhelming sense of panic or dread.

Panic attacks are a symptom that is seen quite frequently in those that suffer from anxiety. They come on suddenly, often without warning. The fear that is associated with a panic attack is most often irrational. That being said, it is also true that the fear and perceived danger that the person suffering the attack has is very real. A person that is suffering an attack often feels like they are going to pass out or die. Often, these attacks are mistaken for heart attacks.

There are many emotional symptoms that go hand in hand with the physical symptoms of anxiety. Sufferers may experience feelings of dread or apprehension. They may have difficulty concentrating. They may be very tense and jumpy. They may be irritable, anticipate the worst, be restless, constantly watch and wait for signs of danger, and may often feel like their mind is empty and blank. Many people that are suffering the effects of anxiety will have nightmares, obsess about sensations that they feel, feel like they are trapped in their mind, and fear everything.

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