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What Is Anxiety Attack: Symptoms, Causes, and Coping Tips

What is an anxiety attack

What Is Anxiety Attack: Symptoms, Causes, and Coping Tips


Anxiety is one of the most common mental health conditions. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the disorders of this group affect about 40 million adults in the US.

Generally, anxiety is a sudden feeling of fear occurring in response to some threat. It happens because your body has an automatic reaction, either a flight-or-fight response, when you face a challenging situation, such as a job interview or the need to perform in public. Usually, anxiety can help you be alert and spur you to action, but it can affect your day-to-day social life when it intensifies.

When the fears and the worries exceed, that is when you find yourself leaning towards an anxiety disorder. And one of the prevalent and extreme symptoms is anxiety attacks. Below, let’s learn more about their causes, symptoms, and what you can do to overcome them.

Anxiety can prevent you from living a life you used to enjoy. Fix it with the help of a mental health expert!

Anxiety Attack: Symptoms

Anxiety symptoms are most common when an anxiety attack happens without warning or if someone lives in constant worry. Patients usually experience some of the following symptoms:

  • Feeling like losing control
  • Feeling light-headed
  • A rush of overwhelming panic
  • Hyperventilation
  • Chills
  • Hot flashes
  • Shaking or trembling
  • Nausea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Heart palpitations
  • Chest pains
  • Constant eye twitching
  • Feeling detached from one’s body
  • Choking sensations

What Is the Difference Between Panic Attacks and Anxiety Attacks

Panic attacks and anxiety attacks have similar physical and emotional symptoms, but they differ in causes and intensity.

First, in the majority of cases, an anxiety attack happens due to a stressor or a perceived warning. One can experience it at the mere thought of partaking in a particular activity, such as going to a party, having a first date, or attending a job interview. Anxiety usually grows gradually because of repetitive thoughts about the upcoming event, how it will go, or the consequences. It may last for quite a while.

On the other hand, while a panic attack is also an intense feeling of fear and discomfort, it can occur without a noticeable trigger. For example, the patient feels like their life is running out of control or their life is in danger. The symptoms manifest themselves suddenly and reach their peak quickly. Still, these severe feelings fade away in several minutes.

Despite the type of anxiety disorder a patient is struggling with, all conditions take a toll on them and blow their fears out of proportion. Therapists start working with these patients by trying to understand the reason behind their fears.

Share any of your warning symptoms with a certified doctor to know if you have panic attacks or anxiety attacks and how to deal with them.

What Is the Cause of Anxiety Attacks

There is no one distinctive cause of anxiety attacks applicable to all. Anxiety attacks can be triggered by several factors and even not necessarily the same factor every time for the same person. In most cases, anxiety attacks are caused by overwhelming stress that is usually out of the patient’s control or is difficult to resolve, for example:

  • Loss and grief
  • Chronic health condition
  • Family and relationship stress
  • Money problems
  • Pressure at work or school
  • Parenthood
  • Changes in living situations, such as moving
What is the cause of anxiety attacks

Coping Tips and Treatment for Anxiety Attacks

No matter the kind of anxiety disorder, there are certain coping tips a patient can apply. While such tips may not help treat the condition but will help gain control of feelings and reactions. Some of the best options are explained below.


Exercise is one of the most effective stress reducers. Developing a routine to get physically active helps the patient improve their mood and remain healthy. Most medical health professionals advise their patients to start with something as simple as a 30-minute walk and gradually increase the activity.

Cut Down on Caffeine and Smoking

Nicotine and caffeine are known to give consumers a surge of energy. As much as this energy motivates one to stay active, it can make the condition worse. Patients with anxiety disorders should cut down on coffee and energy drinks to prevent the symptoms of anxiety attacks from increasing.

Psychotherapy sessions at MEDvidi include recommendations on relaxation techniques and stress management tips.

Employ Relaxation Techniques

Visualization, yoga, and meditation are some of the best tips to help a patient with an anxiety attack. For instance, in the visualization technique, when an anxiety attack starts, the patient closes their eyes and imagines they are in a safe and calm place. Breathing exercises and mindfulness practices will also help one control their emotions and apply critical and logical thinking, decreasing their worries or fears.

Healthy Eating

A healthy diet helps to get all the nutrition necessary for the proper body and mind functioning and allows one to feel refreshed. A healthy diet includes proteins, vegetables, fruits, fiber, and the right amount of water.

Get Enough Sleep

Lack of enough sleep is one of the reasons why people develop mental conditions such as depression and anxiety. It leads to exhaustion and makes one worry over things they are yet to accomplish, hence jittery feelings. An average of six to eight hours of sleep is enough to make one feel well-rested and re-energized to face another day.

Keep a Journal

Journaling your life journey, all the challenges you face, and the good times you experience can help relieve stress. When an anxiety attack threatens to turn one’s life upside down, reading about past experiences makes one come to terms with the changes in their life. A journal also helps patients to keep track of their triggers and what helps these triggers go away.


Understanding one’s mental health is a crucial part of addressing the condition. That is why patients are usually advised to ask their doctors about the specifics of a diagnosed anxiety disorder to better understand how to overcome it. Sometimes, attending group therapy for people with anxiety is beneficial as it helps to share experiences and valuable tips.

In Conclusion: When to Seek Help?

Self-help tips and routines are good support for your mental health, but sometimes, they are not enough. If you feel that anxiety attacks become frequent or severe, consider seeing a doctor to get your state evaluated by a professional. A correct diagnosis will give you a fair chance of getting effective treatment through medications or psychotherapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy. To know more about online treatment for anxiety and what can help you manage unpleasant symptoms, contact MEDvidi today.

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Evidence Based

This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts and fact checked by experts.

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This article contains scientific references. The numbers
in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.