Anxiety, Fainting, and You


Not many people faint during an anxiety attack. Many fear fainting during an attack, but this rarely causes actual fainting. The fear in turn causes more anxiety, and the anxiety increases the fear. This is called a positive feedback, and eventually the symptoms of anxiety increases. What happens is that the fear becomes so real to the sufferer of anxiety that his blood pressure rises. This causes more blood to go to the brain, which in turn causes lightheadedness that seems to mimic the symptoms of fainting. Distraction techniques and controlled breathing may be used to calm a sufferer's fears.

Commonly, sufferers of anxiety breathe faster when they are having anxiety attacks. A few, however, stop breathing. This is called vasovagal syncope. This type of anxiety happens when a sufferer sees a disturbing stimulus such as blood or injuries. They then stop breathing. This causes oxygen levels in the brain to be depleted, thereby causing fainting. This is a very rare form of anxiety attack.

Some sufferers of anxiety may also faint even though they may not suffer from vasovagal syncope. The fear that they have becomes so great that they imagine in their minds that they are fainting. This becomes real, and they do faint. Techniques such as distraction techniques are useful to prevent fainting in such cases. Distraction would induce a calming effect on the anxiety patient. A failure to practice such techniques may cause injury to the patient as he or she falls to the ground violently.