Fainting is not a common symptom of anxiety. Due to the severity of the symptoms experienced, some people develop a fear that they may faint during an attack. This fear contributes to increased anxiety and worsening symptoms during an attack.
During an anxiety or panic attack, various physiological changes are occurring abruptly. It is these changes that result in the signs and symptoms that are experienced and may contribute to the sensation of feeling faint.
For instance, during an attack, the individual's blood pressure will increase. This can result in a sensation of dizziness or being light headed. It is this sensation that may cause some individuals to feel that they are about to faint.
Most individuals experience rapid breathing, perceived as a sensation of breathlessness, during an attack. In some cases, this perceived breathlessness leads to hyperventilation. This results in an imbalance of oxygen and carbon dioxide within the blood leading to a sensation of being light headed.
Some individuals experience what is known as vasovagal syncope. It is a condition where the sight of an extremely stressful stimulus results in a sudden drop in blood pressure and heart rate. As such, blood flow to the brain is impaired and this causes the person to faint. This condition is common in people with specific phobias.
Some individuals fault during an anxiety attack as their mind's are conditioned to do so. The entire anxiety attack and fear becomes very real for them. When confronted with an attack, they automatically fault as a means to cope with the attack.
Faining during an anxiety attack can be avoided. In patient's who experience the feeling of being light headed and dizzy, controlled breath techniques and distraction techniques will be of utmost benefit. Controlled breathing techniques are also helpful for those people experiencing vasovagal syncope. People who fault during an anxiety attack are purely because they are conditioned to do so must employ distraction techniques to prevent the faining.
It is crucial to address the issue of false associating with anxiety as the very act of fainting can place an individual in danger and predispose them to injury.