You’re sitting calmly watching TV on a Saturday afternoon. Suddenly, things feel different. Something’s wrong, you think. You can’t pinpoint it but a feeling of nearby danger overwhelms you. You feel your temperature rise from warm to hot. Your heart beats faster. 90 beats per minute. 110 beats per minute. 130 beats per minute. You’re in full panic mode.
Have you ever had this experience? What you’re experiencing might be an anxiety attack.
This can easily be defined as one of the worst experiences of some people’s lives. When an anxiety attack hits, the body is activating its fight or flight response to a perceived threat. Back when humans were routinely chased by predators and had to remain alert at all times, this sort of response was valuable. If a predator were nearby, the fight or flight response gives a person the short burst of energy needed to handle the situation.
Nowadays, the threats that we face can’t always be solved with the fight or flight response, but our bodies don’t understand that. Suppose you’re going through a stressful divorce and are constantly feeling anxious about it. Suddenly, your fight or flight response kicks in and you have a panic attack. Although the anxiety attack just makes things worse, this is your body’s way to responding to extremely high levels of stress.
Anxiety attacks are brought on as a specific reaction to a stressor. One that stressor is removed from our lives, the anxiety attacks stop. Of course, it might not be possible to remove the stressor from our lives, so anxiety attacks are primarily caused by two different scenarios:
1. High Level Anxiety
If a stressor in your life has caused to experience anxiety, your reaction might be to handle the situation with more fear. For example, if you lost your job, you may reaction to this stressful situation by ruminating on what might happen to you. This causes more stress when you think of the future, causing more anxiety, thus perpetuating the cycle. The end result is a panic attack.
2. Constant High Anxiety
The other possible way is to feel anxiety on a constant basis. For example, your boss is constantly threatening to fire you if you don’t do a good job, putting you in a constant state of fear. Over time, this fear builds up and manifests itself as an anxiety attack. It can come without warning, and appear to be completely unrelated to the situation it’s tied to.
You may experience all or some of these symptoms when you are having an anxiety attack. If you do find you are exhibiting these symptoms, it’s best to visit a doctor for an accurate diagnosis.
Anxiety can manifest itself in many different ways. An anxiety attack for you may involve completely different symptoms than the next person. Anxiety attacks can also mimic other, more serious health problems. This is why it’s important for you to see a medical professional when you have an anxiety attack and get a proper diagnosis.
These symptoms can vary in length, lasting from a few moments to hours, but anxiety attacks are not life-threatening. The feeling you are experiencing can indeed feel as though something is seriously wrong or that you might die, the feelings will pass.
If you’ve never had one before, it’s imperative you get medical attention. Anxiety attacks have similar symptoms to other, more serious health problems. If you’re certain it’s an anxiety attack, try the following:
Anxiety attacks can feel horrible, and their presence can greatly affect your life if you let them. But if you exert small amounts of control, make an effort to take care of yourself and engage in the necessary therapy, you will overcome your anxiety attacks and realize your potential.