What is Anxiety?

Some people can experience strong feelings of stress, panic and worry from certain situations that to others do not seem to be threatening at all.

If you find yourself in this kind of situation and it has affected your ability to get on with your life, you have probably been suffering from an anxiety attack.

If you find yourself in this kind of situation, understanding the real definition of an anxiety attack should be the first thing that you consider. This will help you comprehend what is happening to you in a clear and meaningful way.

Anxiety Attack Explained

Being apprehensive is not always bad. Planning ahead and considering the outcome of future events is an essential part in the life of every person. A little stress is understandable - especially if you really care about what is happening. Tempering your decision making leads you to decisions that otherwise might not have been possible.

On the other hand, there is a distinction between being apprehensive about the future and being in a such a state of anxiety that you cannot live a normal life. If you're not able to function normally - this is an anxiety attack. Anxiety generally intensifies over a period of time and is highly correlated to worrying about a potential "danger."

Common symptoms include:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Muscle tension
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fatigue

An anxiety attack could be described as an abrupt incident of emotional anxiety from which the person feels very anxious, stressed and panicked. A person undergoing multiple instances is known as having an anxiety disorder.

Medical research has linked feelings of anxiety to the natural "fight or flight" response that the body undergoes in certain circumstances. This is a hormonal response triggered if the body feels under threat. What does this mean for the average individual? You can become anxious if your subconcious mind is feeling threatened by a confrontation or stressful situation - even one that hasn't even happened yet. Anxiety is something that some people consider as the reaction of the body to stresses perceived in the mind.

If an individual is suffering from an anxiety disorder, they will probably suffer from attacks from time to time. These could be triggered by built up stress over a long period of time, or a particular traumatic incident - the circumstances are different for every individual.

Left untreated, anxiety can come to rule your life and impact your quality of life to such an extent that day-to-day living can feel impossible.

Fortunately, anxiety is treatable. The medical community has developed a wide range of strategies for dealing with strong cases. Self-help, lifestyle changes and techniques you can put into action at home have helped many people deal with lesser symptoms.

Panic Attacks versus Anxiety Attacks

Anxiety attacks and panic attacks differ in some key ways. However, many non-medical people use the terms interchangably. Medically, panic attacks are defined through a different set of symptoms.

A panic attack, as distinct from an anxiety attack, is often sudden and intense. The symptoms can occur without warning, peak within a few minutes then subside.

Common symptoms include:

  • Heart palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate
  • Excessive sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Sensations of shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, or smothering
  • Feeling of choking
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Nausea or abdominal distress
  • Feeling dizzy, unsteady, lightheaded, or faint
  • Feelings of unreality (derealization) or being detached from oneself (depersonalization)
  • Fear of losing control or going crazy
  • Fear of dying
  • Numbness or tingling sensations (paresthesias)
  • Chills or hot flashes

How common are Anxiety Attacks?

According to statistics, there are approximately around forty million adults within the USA who suffer from an anxiety-related disorder. Around $42 billion dollars are spent every year for the treatment of anxiety. If you or a loved one are dealing with anxiety, you're definitely not alone.

Anxiety: what happens when it strikes?

Just about every individual will have experienced a minor anxiety attack at some instance in their life.

But then, if this is a situation that disturbs your daily way of living, as well as, the people surrounding you, then you are certainly suffering from such anxiety attack. Hence, how does a person feel when an anxiety attack occurs? Well, those people who undergone this situation, state that it is the incident that never frees them. You might feel terrified due to thinking that there is something that is about to give you harm. Aside from this, there are several other things that might happen. Therefore, it is very essential that you know what causes anxiety so as to prevent it from taking place over and over again.