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Anxiety Attacks and Their Symptoms

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Many of us suffer from the slings and arrows of everyday worry, fear, stress and anxiety. Having a reaction to upsetting news, losing one’s job, divorcing, experiencing a drastic change in your life or a death in the family or among friends will and should cause a myriad of strong reactions in you. However, these are not the same as anxiety attacks.

Anxiety attacks, also known as panic attacks, can be frightening and, in some cases, debilitating. They can strike while you’re outside, walking down a perfectly familiar street. They can strike when you’re at the grocery store, or driving in your car.

Anxiety attack symptoms can make you feel you’re going crazy or “freaking out.” In fact, what is happening is that you’re having a “fight or flight” reaction, where your nervous system wants to either run away or lash out.

These anxiety attack symptoms can include the following:

• Surge of overwhelming panic
• Feeling “unreal” or detached from everything
• Feeling like you’re “going crazy”
• Heart palpitations
• Trembling, shaking
• Stomach cramps, nausea
• Hot flashes
• Chills
• Losing control
• Overwhelming panic
• Trouble breathing/choking
• Feeling you may pass out
• hyperventilating

Fortunately, panic attacks are very treatable. Many people who get help are able to reduce or completely eliminate their anxiety attacks within 5 – 8 treatment sessions according to HelpGuide.org.

The types of anxiety you experience may inform the type of treatment you’d want to seek. Phobias, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Separation Anxiety, Generalized Anxiety and Anxiety Attacks are all related in that they trigger an overwhelming sense of worry and apprehension in the people suffering from these conditions.

Pharmaceutical intervention can help, as can psychotherapy. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a type of therapy which puts a patient in the driver’s seat, so to speak. It allows people to feel they have more control over the part of themselves that is anxious and provides “homework” to people to practice certain coping skills which will assist them in bringing their stress levels way down.

To say that anxiety attacks are no big deal is to discount the very real effect they can have on peoples’ lives. There are ways to treat this condition and, as previously mentioned, people are often treated with great success. Don’t hesitate to seek treatment immediately if you feel there’s a possibility you’re having anxiety attacks.


HelpGuide.org. Anxiety Attacks and Anxiety Disorders Signs, Symptoms and Treatment. Retrieved from the internet on October 21, 2011

WebMd. Anxiety and Panic Disorders Health Center.
Retrieved from the internet on October 24, 2011

AnxietyPanic.com. Panic Attacks and Anxiety
Retrieved from the internet on October 24, 2011

Aimee Boyle is a regular contributor to EmpowHER

Reviewed October 27, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.



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