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What Are Anxiety Attacks?

Nov 27, 2007
An anxiety attack is a time period whereby a person is suddenly, sometimes without warning, delitated by an extreme feeling of distress or fear. For the sufferer it can be a very terrifying experience, even though they are totally unaware that their symptoms are part of the body's natural mechanism called 'fight-or-flight'.

The most usual symptoms suffered during an anxiety attack include breathing problems, trembling, palpitations of the heart, chest pains, nausea, sweating, vertigo, dizziness, hyperventilation, choking feelings, physical tingling, feeling of being smothered and dream state sensations. As the attack progresses adrenalin is released in large quantities into the person's blood and for some people it seems as if they are about to die, going crazy or may be having a potential heart attack. However, continued attacks that come without warning may be symptomatic of a panic disorder as well as other anxiety conditions. People who suffer with phobias will also experience these attacks.

Thankfully, though there are many causes for anxiety attacks, such a disorder is treatable with varied therapies and medications. Interestingly enough, doctors prefer to run a series of tests for things like hypoglycemia, excessive caffeine/nicotine use and hyperthyroidism before recommending any treatments because these conditions can provoke and trigger anxiety attacks.

As a person becomes accustomed to anxiety attacks, that person learns to overcompensate for any minor change in their bodily reactions. As a result they end up with more anxiety attacks because the body's nervous system is quickly activated and produces more adrenaline than normal.

The difference between an anxiety attack and other types of anxiety disorders is in that it is sudden and random. However, unlike other anxiety disorders, an anxiety attack is not a mental illness, but a chemical reaction combined with physical symptoms as a result of a shock or fear. It is estimated that one in sixty people across the US have suffered from an anxiety attack at some point in their lives. These people may never have had another one again, but once they had one they are now predisposition to have further ones.

Anxiety attacks can last anywhere from one to ten minutes. However, there have been reports of these attacks last even up to half a day in length. The most severe form can come in waves, lasting hours and ending with the intense need to sleep from exhaustion. In rare cases, anxiety attacks can have little space in between them and then become an attack that appears to last days.

The types of people that experience these attacks are usually exposed to some sort of trigger mechanism. These can be as simple as exercise, lack of control, arguments, and fears of failing, stress and pain. Attacks caused by hypoglycemia result from insufficient blood sugars, so the body is triggering off its own warning signals by doing so.

Generally speaking, anxiety attacks are found in families. Though no genetic links have yet been found, hundreds of years of family medical records for many families have shown clear patterns. Interestingly, the first line of attacks can come from major events, loss or even the use of specific medications and if not treated, the pattern of behavior can influence and cause anxiety attacks in loved ones and others.

Anxiety attacks are very common, but their underlying causes and the number of times a person gets them can determine whether treatment is needed. If you experience one of more anxiety type attack during a week then it is high time to consult with your doctor to stop these attacks before they stop you enjoying your life.
About the Author
Gary Miller was so scared that he actually passed out during a presentation and couldn't talk after due to numerous social
anxieties. To learn more about his journey to recovery and weekly FREE Social Anxiety coping techniques, you can visit his web site at: http://www.Social-Anxiety-Cure.com
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