By allaboutfa3909812, Feb 22 2017 09:36PM
Anxiety attacks can feel awful, intense, and frightening. Because they can be powerful experiences, it can seem like anxiety attacks are out of our control.Those who experience anxiety attacks quickly learn that they can be highly unpleasant experiences. Even so, anxiety attacks and their symptoms can be successfully addressed with the right information, help, and support.
Symptoms of an anxiety attack can include:
• A feeling of overwhelming fear
• Feeling of going crazy or losing control
• Feeling you are in grave danger
• Feeling you might pass out
• A surge of doom and gloom
• An urgency to escape
• Heart Palpitations
• Shortness of breath
• Chest pressure or pain
There is a long list of signs and symptoms of an anxiety attack. But because each body is somewhat chemically unique, anxiety attacks can affect each person differently. Consequently, anxiety attack symptoms can vary from person to person in type or kind, number, intensity, duration, and frequency.
If your symptoms don’t exactly match this list, that doesn’t mean you don’t have anxiety attacks. It simply means that your body is responding to them slightly differently. Anxiety attacks (panic attacks) and their signs and symptoms are episodes of high degree stress responses accompanied or precipitated by
a high degree fear and anxiety.
Anxiety is defined as: A state of apprehension, uncertainty, and fear resulting from the anticipation of a
real or imagined event, situation, or circumstance that we think might be threatening. In other words, if
we become concerned (afraid) that something could harm or endanger us in some way, this concern (fear) creates the state of being anxious.
When we’re anxious, the body produces a stress response. The stress response is designed to give us an extra ‘boost’ of awareness and energy when we think we could be in danger. The stress response causes a number of physiological, psychological, and emotional changes in the body that enhance the body’s ability to deal with a perceived threat – to either fight or flee, which is the reason the stress response is often referred to as the ‘fight or flight response.
The degree of accompanying stress response and its physiological, psychological, and emotional changes are directly proportional to the degree of anxiety. For example, if you are only slightly concerned, such as being slightly nervous about meeting someone new, the body produces a small degree stress response. The small degree stress response can be so slight that you don’t even notice it. If you are greatly afraid, however, such as being terrified that there is a burglar in your home that is about to harm you, the body produces a high degree stress response. We generally experience high degree stress responses as being anxiety attacks: where the changes are so profound they get our full attention. The greater the degree of anxiety and stress response, the more changes the body experiences. Low
degree anxiety will produce small fight or flight changes in the body. High degree anxiety will produce
high degree fight or flight changes. Again, high degree fight or flight response changes are called anxiety attacks.
The most common cause of anxiety attacks is thinking you are in grave danger. Believing you are in extreme danger causes the body to produce a high degree stress response. A high degree stress response can cause profound physiological, psychological, and emotional changes in the body, which can be unnerving to the unsuspecting person. And once these changes are initiated, many anxious personalities react to them with more fear, which causes more stress responses, which can cause
more physiological, psychological, and emotional changes, and so on. So, the most common cause of anxiety attacks is overly anxious behavior (the ways we think and act in overly apprehensive ways).
When the body’s stress is kept within a healthy range, the body functions normally. When we allow stress to build up with no relief, the body can cause an involuntary panic attack – an involuntary high degree stress response that wasn’t caused by behavior. When we experience an involuntary high degree stress response, the sensations can be so profound that we think we are having a medical emergency, which anxious personalities can react to with more fear. And when we become more afraid, the body is going to produce another stress response, which causes more changes, which we can react to with more fear, and so on.
Those who experience anxiety attack disorder are not alone. It’s estimated that 19 percent of the North American adult population (ages 18 to 54) experiences an anxiety disorder, and 3 percent of the North American adult population experiences anxiety attack disorder. We believe that number is much higher, since many conditions go undiagnosed and unreported.
While everyone experiences brief episodes of intense anxiety from time to time, and a great many people experience one or two anxiety attacks over the course of their lifetime, anxiety attack disorder occurs when these attacks become frequent or persistent, begin interfering with or restricting normal lifestyle, or when the individual becomes afraid of them. Once established, anxiety attack disorder can be very debilitating.
Anxiety attack disorder generally starts with one unexplained attack that can include a number of intense anxiety attack symptoms, which causes the individual to become concerned. As other attacks occur, fear
of having anxiety attacks, what they mean, what the associated symptoms mean, and where the attacks and symptoms may lead, increases. This escalation of fear is often the catalyst that brings on the attacks, causing the individual to be seemingly caught in a cycle of fear then panic, then more fear, then more panic.
An anxiety attack can be described as a sudden attack of fear, terror, or feelings of impending doom that strike without warning and for no apparent reason. This strong sensation or feeling can also be accompanied by a number of other symptoms, including pounding heart, rapid heart rate, sweating, lightheadedness, nausea, hot or cold flashes, chest pain, hands and feet may feel numb, tingly skin sensations, burning skin sensations, irrational thoughts, fear of losing control, and a number of other symptoms. (While other symptoms often do accompany anxiety attacks, they don’t necessarily have to.)
Anxiety attacks can last anywhere between a few moments to 30 or more minutes. It’s also common for subsequent anxiety attacks to follow, causing the overall anxiety attack experience to last much longer as one episode is followed by another. Even though anxiety attacks eventually end, it’s common for the symptoms and after effects of an anxiety attack to linger for hours or even days, depending upon the severity of the attack and the level of stress your body is under.
The highest incidence of the onset of anxiety attack disorder occurs in the 17 to 25 years of age range.
But people from all age groups can experience anxiety attacks. Many people remember having them as children (anxiety attacks that occur in childhood are often misunderstood as feeling “sick” or the onset of the flu).
Women are thought to experience a higher prevalence of anxiety attacks than men, however, the statistics may be misleading because men are more reluctant to seek professional help. Anxiety attacks are often misunderstood. Many sources claim that anxiety attacks are genetically or biologically caused, or both, because they commonly occur in families. But independent research and practical evidence has disproven these claims. For example, based on our personal and professional experiences with anxiety, anxiety disorders, including anxiety attacks, we know that the factors that cause anxiety disorders are learned, and therefore, are behavioral and NOT genetically inherited or biologically caused.
Yes, anxiety disorders DO have a biological component, but the biological component is a RESULT of
our behaviors and NOT the CAUSE of them.
And yes, it’s common for anxiety disorders to run in families. But this is due to learned and passed on behavior, NOT due to genetic factors (children who grow up with anxious parents most often see, learn, and adopt their anxious behavioral style).
Anyone who has experienced anxiety attacks can tell you that anxiety attacks can be frightening and debilitating. But anxiety attacks can be stopped and prevented. Anyone can do it with the right information, help, and support.