Are you aware that anxiety attack symptoms can sometimes mimic physical problems? Some even think they are having a heart attack (I know this personally).
Every single one of us has experienced what it’s like to be anxious. From childhood where you may have felt nervous about school to adulthood, feeling worried about a change at work – anxiety is a regular part of every person’s life.
Worry or Fear
Worrying is a natural part of being human, and you wouldn’t be normal if you didn’t worry at one time or another.
But when worry crosses a line and leaves you unable to function throughout the day, then you could be having a problem with anxiety.
The feeling itself isn’t bad to have. The emotion isn’t necessarily unhealthy. It is what causes the “fight or flight” when you are facing certain circumstances (like encountering a bear in the forest).
What makes it a problem is when anxiety begins to steal your normal. You find that you can’t function around other people and you can’t function during your day-to-day activities. You might feel like you can’t function at all.
There are physical signs you can look for if you think you are having an anxiety attack.
Losing sleep, trouble falling asleep at night or if you’re able to go for days with no sleep is a sign of extreme anxiety. You might even feel tired, but no matter how much you want to sleep, you just can’t.
Another way this emotion shows up is found in the way the heart reacts. Anxiety causes the heart to pound like you’re very frightened, or you’ve finished a long, hard run. You can also feel like you have a tightness in your chest.
You may begin to breathe faster in shorter, quicker breaths, or even hyperventilate.
Headaches that rebound or won’t go away are a sign that something’s going on, too.
You might begin to shake or have periods where you feel dizzy.
Feelings of despair/doom
Other symptoms include panic that cloaks you with a heaviness you can’t shake. You might experience a sense of impending doom, even when you know nothing is going on externally to bring on that feeling.
Your hands may start to sweat, or it could even be an all-over the body sweat.
You might feel like you want to throw up. Or you could be plagued with diarrhea.
How long do anxiety attacks last?
The time lapse for an episode can vary from mere seconds to hours. Typically the experts say they last around 10 minutes. I personally have experienced longer episodes. I have had them last for the entire time I have been out of the house.
Symptoms may come and go several times throughout the day, or you may have one on one day but nothing the next. There might not be a pattern at all to when you get the symptoms. And not all symptoms may happen each time.
Once you’ve had one anxiety attack, especially a bad enough one to send you to urgent care or the emergency room, there is then the fear that it will happen again. One, the symptoms can be painful. Two, there is the fear of judgment from others. So then you start to avoid certain situations to prevent another attack.
Managing anxiety attacks
Anxiety attack symptoms can be very scary to go through, but they can be managed with the right tools. You need to learn how to cope with the anxiety. Yes, it’s scary, but you don’t have to live in fear. There is help available. Don’t suffer in silence.
First of all, know you aren’t alone. Many people suffer from anxiety, including me.
Some options for managing symptoms include medication, cognitive therapy, and meditation. Also, limiting your caffeine intake and changing what you eat could make a difference. Take some deep breaths. Count to ten. Realize you can’t control everything.
I’m still working on the managing part. I’ve tried so many medications over the last four years. We still haven’t found the one that works completely. Some didn’t work. Others have gluten in them (and I recently discovered I’m gluten intolerant). But, I have made it my mission to find what is going to work.
One thing that helps me is to read scripture. I’ve put together a set of 30 different bible verses dealing with anxiety and fear. If you would like a copy, please sign up below.
We will be featuring more articles on anxiety in the coming weeks. Please stay tuned. And if you suffer, drop me a note.
To your health,
*Note: I am not a medical professional and this should not be used in place of medical advice. This is just for your information. Please seek help immediately if you feel like you are having chest pains because it could be the sign of a heart attack or other serious problem. Don’t be embarrassed. Knowledge is power.
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