Everyone experiences feelings of natural anxiety. But if intense, fluctuating symptoms are driving your life to the edge of reason, you need to know if they are due to anxiety, panic attacks, symptoms of stress, or other physical or emotional disorders. Any of these conditions can come on very suddenly, and they are all very similar.
One of the textbook characteristics of panic is its sudden onset. You can be in the middle of your workday, getting ready to attend your favourite sporting event, or just sitting home watching television when symptoms descend without warning.
Classic anxiety panic attacks symptoms include a foreboding fear. There is a sensation of light-headedness. It might seem as if there is just not enough oxygen in the room. And you begin to take fast, shallow breaths, which work against you. It’s not even possible to think of the slow, deep inhalations that would help in this situation.
Next you’ll notice a rapid yet pounding heartbeat. Your pulse is so erratic you wonder if you are about to have a heart attack. Then you notice that you are shaking and perspiring. If you are on your feet, you have to sit down. Collapse is imminent.
Other symptoms include a feeling of choking, or a sensation that you cannot take in enough air. This can even result in a tingling sensation in the fingers, toes, or lips. Your muscles become very tense, and this contributes to chest pains. Some people have flashes of heat or unrelenting chills. And most people experience the certainty that all these symptoms are going to end with their death.
Even though these symptoms always descend suddenly, they can dissipate within minutes or they can hang around for hours. Many people report that their unpredictability is one of the worst aspects of these attacks.
Sooner or later, your suffering will bring you to seek medical attention. For many people, this is at an emergency department. And victims of these disorders report that it is very disheartening to have an E.R. doctor look at you sternly and tell you that you’re perfectly healthy. If you go to your regular medical doctor to have him check these symptoms, he is likely to say the same thing, at least initially.
But it doesn’t help to hear there’s nothing wrong. One of the anxiety panic attacks symptoms is the unmitigated certainty that you are going to experience another attack. But you can reassure yourself that a psychologically healthy person is just as likely to experience them as someone who has taken a recent emotional roller coaster ride.
People who suffer from these symptoms can be otherwise healthy people. A full three-quarters of them are females, and most of them are 20-30 years old. Teenagers and older adults seldom have this complaint, and senior citizens almost never do. Some experts believe that a separation experience during the childhood is a common thread among some-but certainly not all-sufferers.
It is often difficult to diagnose correctly the difference between anxiety, panic attacks, symptoms of stress, or even fear. It often takes three or four attacks for a person to convince her doctor that her symptoms are valid. Unfortunately, by that time you can enter a self-perpetuating cycle of having an attack, fearing another, then having another attack, and so on.
Treatment begins with a sound diagnosis, and you can work hand-in-hand with your doctor. Reassure yourself that as time passes, your attacks are likely to diminish in intensity and frequency. Ultimately you can be rid of them. You can live a normal life. Therapies include relaxation techniques, behavioural modification, and even medication to alleviate symptoms.