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Anxiety Attack Symptoms

Anxiety attack symptoms can feel awful, intense, and frightening.

The good news is that while they can seem serious, anxiety attack symptoms aren’t harmful in and of themselves.

Because there are many medical conditions that can cause anxiety-like symptoms, it’s wise to discuss your symptoms with you doctor. If your doctor has attributed your symptoms to stress and anxiety, you can feel confident that your doctor’s diagnosis is correct. Anxiety attack disorder is relatively easy to diagnose and isn’t easily confused with more serious medical conditions.

Anxiety attack symptoms are NOT indications of a serious medical condition. They are simply dramatic responses to being afraid. Being afraid causes the body to stimulate stress hormones. Since stress hormones are designed to prepare the body for action, the changes stress hormones bring about can cause the body to exhibit “symptoms” of this biochemical change. Anxiety attack symptoms are simply “sensory sensations” of this biological change. Again, they aren’t harmful, but they are letting you know that your body’s stress hormone levels are elevated.

Common anxiety attack symptoms include:

  • A feeling of impending doom, that something horrible is about to happen, that you are in grave danger
  • A strong feeling of fear, foreboding
  • An urge to escape, to get out, to run away from danger
  • Blanching, turning white, looking pale
  • Blushing, skin blotches, turning red
  • Burning skin
  • Choking sensation, tightening throat, it feels like your throat is closing
  • Confusion
  • Depersonalization (feeling detached from reality, separate from one-self, separate from normal emotions)
  • Derealization (feeling unreal, in a dream-like state)
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, unsteadiness
  • Emotional distress
  • Emotional upset
  • Fear of going crazy
  • Fear of losing control, freaking out
  • Fearful thoughts that seem incessant
    Feels like there is a tight band around your head
  • Hot or cold chills
  • Inability to calm yourself down
  • Knot in the stomach, tight stomach
  • Nausea
  • Numbness, tingling sensations in any part of the body
  • Panicky feeling
  • Pins and needles feeling
  • Plugged ear(s), stuffed ear(s)
  • Pounding heart
  • Racing heart
  • Shooting pains in the chest, neck, shoulder, head, or face
  • Shortness of breath, difficulty breathing
  • Sweating
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Trembling, shaking (visibly shaking or just trembling on the inside)
  • Upset stomach
  • Urgent desire to go to the bathroom (urinate, defecate)
  • Vomiting

This list is not exhaustive. For a more comprehensive list of anxiety symptoms and descriptions of what they feel like, visit our anxiety symptoms section.

There is a long list of anxiety symptoms. But because each body is somewhat chemically unique, anxiety affects each person differently. Consequently, anxiety symptoms vary from person to person in type or kind, number, intensity, and frequency. If your symptoms don’t exactly match this list, that doesn’t mean you don’t have anxiety. It simply means that you body is responding to anxiety slightly differently.

For example, one person may experience only a few minor symptoms, while another person may experience the majority of symptoms to great intensities. All combinations are possible and common.

Anxiety attack symptoms can range from mild to severe, from only one symptom to all of them, and can be sporadic, frequent, or persistent. Again, all combinations are possible and common.

NOTE: The Symptoms Listing section in the members area of our website contains detailed information about most of the symptoms commonly associated with anxiety. This information includes the sensations commonly experienced, whether it is an anxiety symptom or not, what causes them to occur, and what you can do to reduce and eventually eliminate them. This information generally isn’t found elsewhere.

Anxiety attacks are fully resolvable. You can learn how to do so in the member’s area of our website. The member’s area contains a wealth of self-help information on how to resolve anxiety disorder, including anxiety attacks. Many find it to be their “one stop” destination for anxiety disorder help. For more information about membership options.

For more information about anxiety.

Yes, anxiety attack symptoms can feel awful, intense, and threatening. But they aren’t harmful and generally pass when the body calms down. And yes, they can range in number, intensity, and frequency, with each person experiencing a unique set of anxiety attack symptoms.

Authors: Jim Folk, Marilyn Folk, BScN. Last updated October 2014.

 
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