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Symptoms Of Anxiety Attacks

Nov 27, 2007
Every time we enter a stressful situation we have at some point bordered on having an anxiety attack, but may not have even realized it. In fact it is a natural instinctive response to stressful circumstances - the 'fight or flight' instinct. Some people can actually benefit from this, which results in better performance or in the case of soldiers, the instinctive knowledge of when to stay and fight and when to retreat. However, there are those amongst us that find themselves experiencing more that just basic instinctive feelings, but heightened and over exaggerated responses that can become debilitating and interfere in their very lives. Anxiety attacks can become a terrifying moment in time for the first timer and even worse for those who have battled it for years without getting medical help.

If you have never had the displeasure of suffering an anxiety attack then it can be simply described as an intense feeling of unease or even butterflies in the stomach with a racing heartbeat. Ever had sweaty hands or the jitters before an interview and felt like you had to get out of there quick? Welcome to anxiety attacks. It is of course perfectly normal to feel these emotions and levels of anxiety, but when these impose on life, causing the person to believe that they are dying then something is wrong.

Across the Western world it is considered to be 1 in 10 that will experience this disruptive attack at some time during their lifetime. Even more of those will have repeated episodes. However, anxiety attacks become abnormal when they include other psychiatric illnesses or the following:

Anxiety attacks occur even when nothing stressful has or is happening

Anxiety attacks debilitate normal daily activities, including work and the ability to socialize

Anxiety attacks become severe, unbearable and last more than one day

In fact these symptoms can be set off when electrical messages from the brain go to varied parts of the body, readying it for 'fight or flight with no just cause or reason. The lungs and the heart begin to react to this by pumping blood and oxygen throughout the body to enable it to respond faster and the brain releases large doses of adrenaline, an energy booster and stimulant to let the body take on battle speed or marathon speed.

Unfortunately, the following symptoms occur as a result of this pumping, oxygenation and battle/marathon speed increase:


Abdominal pains/discomfort.

Rapid/increased/irregular heartbeat/palpitations

Chest pain and tightening

Inability to breath in or out properly


Inability to swallow properly

Dry mouth

Frequent urination




Lack of concentration

Inability to maintain self-control

Feeling of being unreal

Fear of going crazy

If the anxiety is sufficient to be severe, the symptoms will come in waves and gradually increase, peaking at anywhere from 10 minutes to 3 days. These severe symptoms include:

Increasing tension

Chest pains/discomfort/palpitations

Quickening heartbeat




Hot flushes


Choking/smothering feelings

Increased sensation of the inability to breath


Butterflies in the stomach

Abdominal discomfort or distress


Light headed feelings



Thinking that one is dying

Feeling of being crazy

Complete loss of personal self-control

Feeling of dying, loss of control or "going crazy"
It is critical to note that some of these symptoms may also be signs of heart attacks and should be dealt with immediately by a doctor. Unfortunately without a medical opinion it is impossible to distinguish between the two.

Stressful situations are normal for everyone, even mild anxiety attack type symptoms, but when they become debilitating or undermine our ability to live our lives, then there is a problem. When the symptoms go beyond normal levels and get out of control, lasting a day or more, it is important to get help. Again anxiety attacks are not pleasant experiences when out of control, but they can be cured with help and with specified treatments as prescribed by a knowledgeable doctor.
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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