What does an anxiety attack feel like?


Quick Answer

An anxiety attack, or panic attack, feels like an irrational or intense fear that suddenly overwhelms an individual in situations where people normally do not feel threatened, explains Helpguide.org. The unreasonable fear is often accompanied by emotional symptoms, such as difficulty in focusing and becoming apprehensive or dreadful.

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Full Answer

Anxiety disorders feel different from one person to another, as they comprise a set of related conditions instead of a single disorder, notes Helpguide.org. Some people experience severe, unexpected anxiety attacks, whereas others may intensely panic at the thought of interacting with people at a social event.

More than an intense feeling, anxiety produces physical symptoms that can be debilitating, states Helpguide.org. Some of the symptoms of an anxiety attack include heart palpitations, chest pain, a feeling of passing out or going crazy, difficulty in breathing, and hyperventilation. It is also common for anxiety sufferers to feel chills or hot flashes, nausea, and trembling. Many anxiety sufferers feel detached or unreal during an attack.

Anxiety attacks often reach their peak within 10 minutes and subside within 30 minutes, says Helpguide.org. The attacks can be extreme, making an individual feel as though he is completely losing control or dying. Many people describe the physical symptoms as similar to having a heart attack. Anyone who experiences anxiety attack symptoms should consult a health care professional, as it is common for anxiety sufferers to mistake their condition for a disease.

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