How to Spot an Anxiety Attack

Panic vs. anxiety attack symptoms


Factors in Complications


In brief

Physical signs of anxiety include what some people refer to as anxiety attacks. Anxiety attacks can cause headaches, nausea, dizziness, rapid breathing, and other symptoms.


Stress might trigger an anxiety attack. In addition to emotions of concern and fear, physical symptoms are also present. Anxiety can also strike people in the absence of any clear stressor.


The distinctions between a panic attack and an anxiety attack are discussed in this article. It also discusses potential treatments as well as the reasons behind anxiety attacks.


Quick facts about anxiety

Anxiety attacks typically stem from a worry of a certain event or potential issue.

Anxiety, agitation, and possibly even bodily signs like heart rate variations are among the symptoms.

Although anxiety and panic disorders can coexist, anxiety is not the same as panic attacks.

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Panic versus anxiety attacks

Stocksy/Alba Vitta

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, also known as the DSM, does not have a specific diagnosis for anxiety attacks. People may describe what they are experiencing as an anxiety attack when in fact they are having a panic attack since the term “anxiety attack” is arbitrary.


Physical signs of anxiety include what some people refer to as anxiety attacks. Among them are:


feeling faint and unsteady

a knotting or churning sensation in the stomach restlessness

rapid respiration

constipation perspiration heat flashes


needles and pins

backaches and headaches

a rapid or erratic pulse

Anxiety could


possess a particular trigger, such as a test, problems at work, a health concern, or a relationship issue

serve as an indicationReliable Source: If an anxiety condition persists, its symptoms are milder than those of a panic attack.

often appear gradually when a somebody experiences anxiety

Panic episodes are a sign of many different anxiety disorders. People suffering from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), for instance, could worry excessively until they have a panic attack.


An episode of panic:


has signs that could be considered extreme or intense.Trusted Source can strike at any time, regardless of how calm or anxious a person is. It involves physical symptoms and terror so strong that the person fears losing all control or dying soon. It usually happens suddenly, peaks within ten minutes, and then fades, though the negative effects may last longer.

Panic disorder may manifest as recurrent panic episodes.


Variations in the symptoms

Anxiety and panic attacks can include:


dread dizziness fear a thumping or racing heart


Sensitivity or tingling

perspiration, pain in the chest, and illogical thinking

These are much stronger feelings experienced during a panic attack. The individual can sincerely think they are going to pass away.


When panic attack symptoms resemble those of serious illnesses like heart disease, patients may decide to seek medical attention.


variations in the ways that they begin

Anxiety may be a reaction to a particular stressor, worry, event dread. It normally starts out slowly, and the individual experiencing it is typically frightened or concerned. It may be moderate, severe, or mild.


An unprovoked panic attack can leave a person feeling helpless and uncontrollableTrusted Source. Whether a person is calm or agitated, or even asleep, they might have a panic attack. The degree of fear is excessive for the trigger, and there might not be a clear reason for it.


Variations in time

A certain situation may be connected to anxiety. It usually intensifies and lasts for a while.


A panic episode begins abruptly, lasts for five to twenty minutes, and peaks after ten. After then, it will start to fade, however the symptoms can linger longer.


Although panic episodes are not usually the culmination of anxiety, some individuals with anxiety may experience them.


Can panic result from anxiety?

Anxiety might manifest as a panic attack.


Anxiety about having a panic episode can be experienced by someone with panic disorder. Anxiety or stress may arise in between attacks due to the unknown of whether or when an attack will occur. People may take precautions to stay away from situations that they believe could set off a panic attack.


Anxiety might set off a panic attack in someone who suffers from panic disorder. An individual’s conduct and capacity to go about their regular life can be impacted by their fear of experiencing a panic attack.


Because panic disorder typically runs in families, Johns Hopkins Medicine speculates that there may be a hereditary component underpinning the disorder.


Anxiety disorder types

There are numerous classifications for anxiety disorders. Every condition has unique symptoms that might be brought on by specific circumstances.


Among the anxiety disorders areReliable Source:


Panic disorder (PD): This condition is characterized by recurrent panic episodes and an ongoing dread of recurrence. Individuals suffering from panic disorder could stop working, refuse to leave their house or travel, or stay away from anything that they think might set off an attack.

GAD: This is an ongoing state of anxiety or a lingering sense of impending doom that can last for weeks or even years.

Individuals with social anxiety disorder will experience a strong, enduring concern that other people are observing and evaluating them.

Extreme anxiety and unreasonable fear of an event or object, such as a fear of spiders or open spaces, are characteristics of phobic disorder. People who suffer from phobic condition could be conscious that their dread is unfounded.


Anxiety symptoms

In addition to the physical manifestations of anxiety, individuals may also go through the following:


feeling strained or uneasy

being unable to unwind and experiencing dread and anxiety of the worst

requesting a lot of validation from other people

poor mood or depression rumination, which is the act of thinking about a scenario or idea over and over again worrying about anxiety, such as when a panic attack might arise

Not all cases of anxiety will present with all of these signs. Anxiety levels can range from minor to severe, contingent upon the cause and the individual’s response to it.


When it comes to exams, for instance, some people may feel a little nervous, while others may feel all of the above. Symptoms usually disappear when the perceived threat or hazard disappears.


Long-lasting anxiety or anxiety with a particular cause could be indicators of an anxiety condition, including social anxiety disorderTrusted Source.



Anxiety is frequently brought on by stress or a sense of overwhelm.


Some possible causes of anxiety are:


pressure from work or school

financial strain

issues with relationships or the family

worries about parenthood or being a caretaker during a divorce, separation, or bereavement

concern for the environment or climate change altering one’s living circumstances, such as relocating or changing careers

decreased physical function or mobility

impairment of mental abilities, such as short-term memory

receiving a chronic health condition diagnosis

It might also be connected to another element or medical condition, such Trusted Source:


a fear

PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder

genetic components

significant stress or a predisposition to stress a past of drug or alcohol misuse

Overindulgence in caffeine, usage of certain drugs, or recent or previous traumatic event

Anxiety triggers could include:


speaking in public

Being exposed to a phobia can cause one to fear having a panic attack.

Not all anxiety is justified. For instance, someone may experience anxiety over losing their work even in the absence of any indication that it would occur.



The body uses the reaction that causes tension and worry to help it deal with challenging circumstances that pass momentarily.


The hormone responsible for inducing the fight-or-flight response is adrenaline. The body gets ready to either physically face or run from danger when this hormone is suddenly released.


Usually, as the panic stimulus passes, adrenaline levels return quickly to normal. However, more issues may surface if worry persists and adrenaline levels stay elevated.


Depression and anxiety disorders, for example, can be brought on by ongoing stress and anxiety.


Prolonged stress has also been linked to immunological, digestive, sleep, and reproductive system dysfunction.


The following physical health issues are linked to anxiety:


stomach sores

cardiac issues


If tension and anxiety become unbearable or chronic, it’s critical to act or get assistance.


Options for treating anxiety and associated issues 


drugs, such as some antidepressants; support groups for individuals with particular illnesses; cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

Anyone experiencing excessive stress or anxiety can seek guidance from a medical practitioner. Getting assistance as soon as possible could help avoid more issues later on.


It is crucial to consult with someone who is appropriately equipped and trained if someone is thinking about getting professional assistance. This website provides a resource kit for locating a licensed psychologist in your area.


prevention of suicide

If you are aware of someone who poses a direct risk of suicide, self-harm, or harming someone else:


Pose a challenging query: “Are you thinking about suicide?”

Be open to hearing the other person out.

To speak with a qualified crisis counselor, text TALK to 741741 or dial 911 or the local emergency number.

As soon as expert assistance arrives, stay with the person.

Make an effort to get rid of any guns, pills, or other potentially dangerous items.

A prevention hotline can be helpful if you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts. You can reach the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988 any time of day. Hard-of-hearing individuals can use their favorite relay service or dial 711 then 988 in an emergency.


lifestyle advice

Here are some pointers for handling stress and anxiety:


Being aware of the symptoms: People may be able to take appropriate action if they are able to identify the telltale indicators of stress or anxiety. Overeating, headaches, or trouble sleeping could all be indicators that you need to stop and get assistance.

Understanding one’s own triggers: People may be able to take action if they can identify what causes them to feel nervous. Think about keeping a journal to record your triggers.

Consuming a balanced diet: Stressful living might lead to bad eating habits. Make an effort to schedule a time for a nutritious meal or pack a cooked lunch full of fresh produce.

Exercise: Maintaining a regular physical activity regimen helps enhance mental health and well-being.

Acquiring some relaxation skills can help lower tension and anxiety. Some ways include breathing, meditation, aromatherapy, and other methods.

Trying something new can help reduce stress and divert attention from issues for a while. Some ideas include yoga, Pilates, music, gardening, choir, and other group activities. People might come across others who share their worries and experiences.

Being social: Engage in activities that bring people together, including volunteering or joining a support group, or spend time with friends and family. Individuals could come across people who can offer both practical and emotional support.

Establishing goals: Taking the time to create a plan may be beneficial for those who are feeling overburdened by administrative or financial issues. Establish goals and priorities, then mark them off as completed. Having a strategy may also make it easier for someone to say “no” to more requests from nervous people.


In summary

 anxiety can be a reaction to stress and is defined as a state of concern, fear, or apprehension about a certain circumstance or event. Individuals may experience nausea, agitation, or a churning sensation in their stomach. An anxiety attack could seem like an unexpected, non-threatening fit of terror.


An increased sense of dread, worry, or discomfort is known as a panic attack. Individuals could experience a sense of helplessness or fear for their lives. Another way that panic episodes might seem similar to unexpected fear in the absence of a threat is.


Panic disorder may be indicated by recurrent panic episodes.


In order to explore coping mechanisms or treatment choices, people who have anxiety that interferes with their daily lives or who exhibit symptoms of panic disorder should consult a healthcare provider.


February 21, 2024

Freya Parker

Freya Parker lives in Sydney and writes about cars. She's really good at explaining car stuff in simple words. She studied at a good university in Melbourne. Freya started her career at Auto Trader, where she learned a lot about buying and selling cars. She also works with We Buy Cars in South Africa and some small car businesses in Australia.

What makes her special is that she cares about the environment. She likes to talk about how cars affect the world. Freya writes in a friendly way that helps people understand cars better. That's why many people in the car industry like to listen to her.

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