We all have to deal with stress and anxiety in our normal, day to day lives. Some days are more stressful than others, and we often get to the point where we do not know how to handle the amount of stress that we are under. Statistics show that at least one out of every seventy five people who inhabit the world will experience at least one major anxiety attack during their lifetime. Studies have also shown that seventy-five percent of anxiety attack sufferers are women between the ages of twenty and thirty years old. These first anxiety attacks often send sufferers to the emergency room, as symptoms sometimes mimic other disorders, such as heart attacks. For some, they will have the one anxiety attack, and may never have another. Anxiety attacks are characterized as experiencing a tremendous fear that strikes you suddenly and with no warning. No one knows exactly what triggers anxiety attacks, but they are very real when they occur.
Once an anxiety attack begins, it usually reaches its peak after about the first two minutes. Depending on the severity of the attack, it can take as long as several hours for all the symptoms to completely disappear. Many of the symptoms accompanying an anxiety attack can be extremely frightening on their own, but coupled with the fear you already feel from the attack itself, can be very overwhelming, especially the first time they occur.
Anxiety attacks can cause any number of symptoms, which can cause fear themselves, let alone the original fear caused by the attack. One of the most common symptoms accompaniment anxiety attacks is the feeling that you are suffocating, or can not get enough air to breathe. You may feel like you can not hold anymore air, but that what you have is not enough, or that someone is actually holding something over your nose and mouth shutting off your air supply. Of course, this is not the case, but that is the way you feel. Frequent sufferers of anxiety attacks have to learn that these symptoms are only a nervous reaction, and not really happening to them. You will not stop breathing, or die from lack or air, and no one is trying to suffocate you, even though it may feel that way.
Due to the anxiety your body feels during an attack, it will release extra adrenaline into your bloodstream, which will cause your heart to beat at a much faster pace, and it may feel as though it is beating at an irregular rhythm or missing beats altogether . You are not having a heart attack, this is just another symptom caused by anxiety attacks. Sometimes, anxiety has the opposite effect on your heart, slowing it down, which can be alarming as it feels as though it may stop beating altogether, but again, it is just a reaction to the anxiety your body is experiencing. It will go away once the attack subsides.
During an anxiety attack, it is common for all of the muscles in your body to contract, or become tense. This muscle tension incidentally causes chest pain during an anxiety attack. When someone experiences any kind of chest pain, their first thought is that they are having a heart attack, but that is not the case in this situation. The pain that you feel with a heart attack most often will begin as localized pain in a different area of your body, such as pain in your left arm that radiates into your chest. Learning some relaxation exercises that you can use to calm yourself during an anxiety attack can help lessen this chest pain. Massage is also another method for relieving muscle tension, and can help eliminate the pain faster.
You may feel that you are choking, and can not swallow anything at all without it getting stuck in your throat. Again, this is your body's reaction to overwhelming anxiety, and will go away as soon as the attack is over. You will not choke to death, and can still eat and drink; it just makes you feel very uncomfortable for a time.
One alarming symptom to those around you that occurs during an anxiety attack is that you tend to lose your skin coloring, causing you to look very pale and sickly. Blood gets diverted to your muscles during an anxiety attack, causing your skin to lose its normally pink coloring. Your coloring will return to normal as soon as the attack is over.
It is not uncommon to sweat profusely during an anxiety attack. Your body temperature increases due to the adrenaline your body releases, and sweat is your body's way of lowering your temperature to a normal range.
Other common symptoms during an anxiety attack include tremors, pain in the neck or shoulders, nausea or diarrhea, heartburn, and sometimes unusual breakouts of skin rashes, such as eczema. Almost all of these symptoms will disappear shortly after the attack is over, and you may not experience any of these symptoms at all. Learning to recognize the changes that take place in your body during an anxiety attack, will help you be better prepared should you ever have another occurrence.