An anxiety attack is a sudden and severe feeling of anxiety with symptoms that may include chest pain, sweating, shaking or trembling, shortness of breath or smothering sensations, lightheadedness or dizziness. Anxiety attacks can last from a few minutes to hours and typically peak within 10 minutes. They can disrupt sleeping and daily activities such as school and work.
An anxiety attack is not the same as having anxiety about something specific like public speaking or itchy skin (which would be called an anxiety disorder), although there are some similarities in symptoms such as increased heartbeat and rapid breathing. It’s also different than being generally stressed out over your job performance for example.
Types of anxiety attacks:
You might experience this if you feel you are dying or losing control.
A panic attack is an anxiety disorder that involves episodes of intense anxiety, fear and apprehension that may be sudden, but tend to subside after about 10 minutes. Panic attacks usually peak within 10 minutes (though it can take longer) , and the anxiety usually subsides once the person is out of the anxiety-provoking situation and back in a safe, calm environment.
Symptoms of panic anxiety include:
– shortness of breath
– increased heartbeat
– sweaty palms/feet
This one can happen to anyone with anxiety or anxiety disorders. Catastrophizing anxiety includes anxiety about anxiety.
People with anxiety are often so afraid of having anxiety that it causes them to have anxiety attacks. Having catastrophic anxiety can be very debilitating because it causes people with anxiety to believe they are trapped or will not be able to handle the situation causing them fear.
Symptoms of catastrophic anxiety include:
– anxiety about anxiety
– anxiety about anxiety attacks
– anxiety about having anxiety
– anxiety about being anxious
These symptoms are intense and hard to control. If you feel like your anxiety is out of control or is very intense, it’s important to seek help from a mental health professional.
This type of anxiety is most common among teens and college students. Social anxiety often starts between the ages of 13-15, but can persist into adulthood.
People with social anxiety may fear being judged by others or embarrassing themselves in front of strangers, friends or classmates. Some people with social anxiety display very inappropriate behavior such as initiating conversations excessively to avoid awkward silence.
Symptoms of social anxiety include:
– anxiety about being judged by others
– anxiety about humiliation in front of strangers, friends or classmates
– chronic fear of judgment by people you know or strangers
This is when anxiety symptoms are present more days than not for at least 6 months.
People with anxiety disorders can go a long time without treatment because anxiety symptoms are not always intense and noticeable. This type of anxiety can become debilitating which is why it is important to get help from a medical professional if you find yourself having anxiety symptoms more days than not for several months.
Symptoms of generalized anxiety include:
– anxiety more days than not
– feeling restless or on edge
– muscle tension