What Happens During an Anxiety Attack

Have you ever suffered or know of someone who suffers from anxiety attacks? If you do, you may know how stressful and scary they can be. But even though they can be difficult to manage and overcome, there are ways to help with anxiety attacks. With that being said, however, it is important to know what goes on in your mind when an anxiety attack occurs, and how you can help yourself during one.  

Anxiety can occur in day-to-day life, it could be temporary or can persist and build. However, minimal anxiety is very different from having an anxiety disorder. With an anxiety disorder, your anxiety overwhelms you with a deep amount of panic and fear. Many use the terms “anxiety attack” and “panic attack” interchangeably, but know that these two are very different from one another. A panic attack, by textbook definition,  is a sudden episode of intense fear or anxiety and physical symptoms, based on a perceived threat rather than imminent danger. Panic attacks can happen suddenly one time or many times in a row. Although anxiety attacks have very similar characteristics to a panic attacks, anxiety attacks are a little different. With anxiety attacks, they commonly build up over time from underlying anxiety symptoms, instead of randomly happening. 

If you have anxiety, it is common that you experience these things in your everyday life.

  • Feeling nervous or restless
  • Having a sense of impending danger
  • Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than present worry
  • Gastrointestinal (GI) problems
  • Difficulty controlling worry
  • Having the urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety

During an anxiety attack, your body and mind go into a state of panic. It can be really stressful and scary. But, by looking at what exactly happens during an anxiety attack, hopefully, you can recognize and understand it. Here are some of the most commonly seen symptoms during an anxiety attack: 

  • Flood of overwhelming panic: During this time, you may feel as though you are in danger or something bad is going to happen. This happens out of nowhere, which causes an increase of panic.  
  • Feeling of losing control : Adding to the feeling of panic, you may feel like you are losing control of yourself or your surroundings. 
  • Chest pain or heart palpitations: Anxiety attacks dont just have mental symptoms, but physical symptoms as well. These include things like increased heart rate, which can lead you to believing you are experiencing a heart attack
  • Trouble breathing: The feeling of panic and increased heart rate may have you feeling like you can’t breathe or are choking. You may also start to hyperventilate if you are gasping for breath. 
  • Hot flashes or chills: Another physical symptom of anxiety attacks is hot flashes or chills. Your body believes it’s under attack, and this is a part of your fight or flight response.  
  • Nausea : You may feel nauseous or have intense stomach cramps when you have an anxiety attack. 
  • A detached feeling from reality: You may feel a sense of detachment or feel like your situation isn’t real during an anxiety attack. 

If you are experiencing these types of symptoms and feel like they are increasing in frequency and getting out of your control, you should seek anxiety treatment, whether it’s from counseling or an anxiety therapist.  But how is anxiety treated? 

Besides speaking with an anxiety therapist or going to counseling, there are some things that you can do on your own that can help you. Here are just a few: 

  • Getting a good night’s sleep 
  • Having a healthy diet
  • Regularly exercising
  • Meditation 

Despite all of this, know that finding what works for you is the most important thing, and taking that step forward towards recovery is vital.

Like this article?

Share on facebook
Share on Facebook
Share on twitter
Share on Twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on Linkdin
Share on pinterest
Share on Pinterest