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Anxiety Attack

There are times when we have an almost impossible job to control our emotions; the most common cases are, for example, when we feel jealousy, envy, fright and, in more serious cases, when we experience an anxiety attack or panic attack. Because yes, anxiety attacks are a very real thing that affects many people, and they do not necessarily have to suffer from some type of illness to do so.

The worst of the case is that these, although they can affect any individual, usually arrive suddenly or unexpectedly, causing a great impact on those who suffer; but why?

An inordinate and practically absurd fear, what we would normally call panic or terror, is one of the reasons why anxiety attacks turn out to be so shocking and difficult to forget . Fear is something we have all come to feel, however, rarely to the point where it makes us very difficult, and this is just the beginning. Fear is not the only reason why a person may have a panic attack, much less is it the only symptom of this problem.

It is common to have little information about anxiety attacks, what are they? What is it that makes these crises such a notorious and shocking problem? What are the causes of an anxiety attack ? All these questions and more will be answered below, so that you know more about this problem that some people consider as an “exaggeration” of those who suffer from it.

What are anxiety attacks

At first, it is easy to believe that an anxiety attack is simply a psychological problem, an exaggerated response that our brain has to certain external stimuli. Although it is possible to see it this way, it is a very simple way to portray what a panic attack is. Not everything is psychological, it is not a simple ” exaggeration ” of those who suffer from it; A panic attack can turn out to be as real as a bruise or injury .

An anxiety attack is the direct result of a series of chemical processes that occur within our body. It is, simply put, the moment when our body experiences a ” peak ” or a very high level of stress , to which our body reacts physically, showing the known symptoms of those who suffer from it.

With a stress peak , we refer to when the physical or emotional tension in our body reaches levels that we cannot control. In general, this is due to some moment of panic or intense anxiety, hence they are known as ” panic attacks ” or ” anxiety attacks .” Keep in mind that panic puts our body under a lot of stress, so in a way it is a stressful agent; being a potential reason to suffer from an anxiety crisis.

It seems to be a very rare problem, but, to tell the truth, it is much more common than other types of problem, in fact, it is estimated that in Spain approximately 10% of the population suffers or has suffered from anxiety attacks . Which is a high percentage, and this is only in Spain; in other countries where the population is affected by situations that generate high stress on the body, this percentage increases. An example of such countries are countries at war, countries with a high crime rate and countries with very stressful work environments such as Japan.

Symptoms of an anxiety attack

Like any disease or altered state of our body, anxiety attacks present symptoms, which only appear at the moment in which the crisis occurs.

These symptoms are very easy to identify, and most of them are a series of physical reactions that arise as a result of the high level of stress that our body is going through. The symptoms of an anxiety attack are:


Tachycardia is one of the most common symptoms of anxiety attacks. This consists of the acceleration of the heart, causing it to beat much faster than normal, even when you are in a state of rest. This symptom in turn is usually accompanied by heart palpitations.

Heart palpitations

Heart palpitations are the sensation that our heart is in a racing state; usually comes in conjunction with tachycardia as it is the direct result of a sudden change in heart rate. This causes a person who is having an anxiety attack to have the feeling that the heart is about to explode or that at some point it will shoot out of the chest.

Excessive sweating

It doesn’t matter if you are sitting on a couch or even lying down, when a panic attack knocks on your door, sweat will show up. This is partly due to other symptoms that occur during the anxiety attack. Sweating is common in areas such as the armpits, face, hands, and feet.

This curious reaction is due to the fact that when the body is subjected to a high tension such as anxiety or fear, the nervous system alters its normal condition and sweating occurs in the areas that I have mentioned. That’s right, we not only sweat from exercising physically or when we are in hot climates, we can also sweat in response to strong emotions, such as anxiety and fear in this case.

Tremors in the body

Like palpitations, tremors in the body can be present during an anxiety attack, being a fairly common symptom, especially during a recurrence of the crisis. This involuntary and rhythmic movement of the muscles is due to the tension caused by anxiety, since this generates an alteration in our nervous system .

Feeling short of breath

Another symptom that can occur when suffering from an anxiety attack is the feeling of shortness of breath. Basically, as the name implies, those who are going through a panic attack often have the feeling that they are short of breath, similar to the feeling of suffocation. However, this does not mean that the person stops breathing.

Numbness of some parts of the body or paresthesia

The paresthesia is when a perceived feeling of numbness in any part of the body. During an anxiety attack, it is common for some people to suffer from paresthesia, usually it occurs in the hands, feet and even the face. This sensation of numbness generally resembles an intense and constant tingling in the skin, as well as the partial lack of sensation of the affected part, as if some mild anesthetic had been applied to the area affected by paresthesia.

Feeling of pressure in the chest

Another possible symptom is the feeling that something is pressing on our chest, this is usually accompanied in conjunction with the feeling of suffocation or shortness of breath, which only aggravates the experience for those who go through the panic attack.

Dizziness and fainting

Many times, when you have an anxiety attack, it can be accompanied by sudden dizziness , which varies in intensity. In some cases these dizziness can even turn into sudden fainting of the person. This is more often the case when the cause of the panic crisis is low blood sugar .

Upset stomach and nausea

An anxiety attack is capable of causing the person suffering from it upset stomach, which can range from abdominal pain to nausea, and in more severe cases can even cause vomiting.

Feeling of unreality

Depending on the severity of the panic attack, those affected may even suffer from feelings of unreality. That is, people feel that what surrounds them is not real, or they even have to suffer from a detachment of personality , in which they may well come to think that their body is not theirs and that therefore they cannot control it. . In the most severe cases , hallucinations may be perceived , which will depend on the cause of the anxiety attack.

Excessive fear and panic

This is the quintessential symptom of an anxiety attack. When a person suffers from a panic attack, they usually have an extreme sense of panic that, although it seems irrational to us, for them it is quite real . In some cases, those affected even fear for their lives to an excessive level, since they feel that they can die at any moment .

Warmth sensation

When a person suffers from an anxiety attack, they usually feel that their body temperature rises or that the environment is very hot . Basically the person perceives that there is a lot of heat, which can cause suffocation in the person, and aggravate other symptoms such as dizziness, fear, the feeling of suffocation and the feeling of unreality.

As you can see, many of the symptoms are not simple at all, and can become quite serious, and this is what makes panic attacks usually leave a great impact on those who suffer from it, since it is not at all a pleasant experience, and depending on the severity, it can even be an exasperating and unbearable experience to say the least.

A curious fact is that suffering from a panic attack for the first time can even become a cause in itself of anxiety attacks ; especially when it has a certain intensity. This will be discussed later.

How can we know if a person is suffering from one?

In general, for a person to be considered to be having a panic attack, they must have at least four of the symptoms mentioned above . Only in this case can it be said with certainty that the person is going through a panic attack.

Still, each individual is different , and this applies in every way. There may be cases in which a person does not have four of the symptoms, and is still going through an anxiety crisis; In these cases it is important to detect what the symptoms are, since if they are the most common such as panic, sweating, the feeling of suffocation and tachycardia, it is most likely that if it is a panic attack, although this it can be considered as mild.

You may also be interested in:   How stress affects health

Now, the opposite case can also be given, in which the individual suffers an anxiety attack and more than four symptoms are present at the same time. This can be quite exhausting, not to mention that it can become one of the worst experiences for the person who suffers from it. In these cases, it is very easy to detect an anxiety attack .

Causes of a panic attack

Now we go to the next point that interests us, what are the causes of a panic attack? This question is easy to answer, but at the same time somewhat complicated, since the causes of a panic attack can be several, and in a few cases they have absolutely nothing to do with each other. We will explain each one below; plus some tips that can help you prevent an anxiety attack .

Genetic heritage

In itself, we cannot say that genetic inheritance is a direct cause of panic attacks; however, it can influence and facilitate the appearance of the problem. Genetically , there are people who are more predisposed to suffering from anxiety attacks .

When I speak that there are people with a greater ” predisposition “, I mean precisely that these people are more likely to suffer from an anxiety attack than others, however, for this there must be triggers such as the causes that we will comment on later.


If you observe that there are cases of anxiety attacks in your family, you should avoid, as far as possible, placing yourself under situations that generate stress or that have a great impact on you. Another important tip is that you avoid, as much as possible, thinking that you may suffer at some point from a panic attack, and you will see later why this point is important.

Overprotection during childhood and early adolescence

One of the most common cases that lead to anxiety attacks is when children and preteens are overprotective . Surely you are wondering why.

The truth is that when an individual is very overprotected during their first years of life we are causing serious damage . When you solve children’s problems and prevent them from facing them themselves, you are taking away the possibility of learning to face problems, which will have a negative impact on them in the future.

This not only prevents children from growing properly, but at the first sign of danger or problems, they will not know how to react, which will not only generate frustration, but will lead them to suffer from high levels of stress, which In the long run they can trigger an anxiety attack.


The first years of life are important and it is normal to want to protect our children, however, it is also important to teach them to face their problems , and even more, to teach them that there are times when problems can seem overwhelming, but that you can always find a solution and if not, it is never bad to give up and try again another time.

If we give them enough tools to learn to deal with their problems, we are reducing the chances that they will suffer from anxiety attacks, due to the frustration and stress generated by being overwhelmed by problematic situations that they do not know how to face.

Susceptible personality

This is also a common case. When an individual has a very susceptible personality, they are easily impressed and, worse still, succumb more easily to problems, which usually leads to high levels of stress, and this can lead to an attack of anxiety if not controlled .


What surely can happen to more than one is to change that characteristic of your personality ; however, this is easier said than done, so it cannot be achieved satisfactorily in all cases. Still, it can always be tried, and there are many methods, such as therapies or social activities, to decrease susceptibility.

On the other hand, if you consider that it is very difficult to alter your personality, you can also opt for the following option, control your stress levels . This may be easier than trying to change how susceptible we are, but it is only a temporary solution to the root of the problem.

To control stress levels, you can choose different options, among which the most recommended is to do activities that calm you down, from practicing a sport to playing an instrument or drawing; It will depend on each one. The important thing is to find an activity that helps you manage the stress that your susceptibility generates.

A highly stressful environment

If you live in an environment that generates a lot of stress, congratulations, you are facing a time bomb. Generally, when an environment generates a great pressure on you, and you are not able to handle it, it is most likely that you will end up suffering an anxiety attack , even more so if you are genetically prone to it.

This type of environment can occur anywhere, whether at school, at university, at work or even at home. It does not have to be a specific place, as long as it generates high levels of stress, it becomes an environment capable of producing an anxiety attack.


Avoid these types of stressful environments as much as possible , although it is not always possible, it is best to try to do so. If, for example, you see that your house is a place that generates stress, it is best that you discover the reason for the problem and try to solve it, since, if you do not, it will bring many negative effects to your life.

Another option is the previous case, trying to control stress . Remember, find an activity that helps you reduce the stress you receive in those stressful environments. Either a sports or artistic activity.

Traumatic or stressful event

In many cases, the most direct cause of an anxiety attack is going through a traumatic or very stressful event . Some accident, the death of a friend or relative, a dismissal or even a break with your partner; Any of these scenarios can put you under a lot of pressure, causing your anxiety to spike and give you an anxiety attack.


Generally, this type of event happens suddenly and without anyone wanting it; The most important thing is to try to stay calm as much as you can, if you succumb to the situation, you will most likely end up having a panic attack, which will only make things worse. Take a deep breath, and try to stay as calm as possible, you can overcome any problem that arises, it is just a matter of facing it calmly. Believe it or not, in these cases, meditation is probably a good way to prevent an anxiety attack.

Having suffered from an anxiety attack previously

Believe it or not, a person who has experienced an anxiety attack for the first time immediately becomes prone to another . This is because the impact it generates and the fear of having another panic attack generate constant tension on the person, therefore , it produces constant stress that eventually ends up in an anxiety crisis. This is most common during the first months after having suffered the anxiety attack , which is when we have the freshest memory of the traumatic event.


Forget about the panic attack you went through , the less you think about it, the less likely it is to happen again. Occupy your mind with other things, and avoid thinking at all that you may have another crisis at any moment.

Finally, it is time to move on to an extremely important point, how to treat an anxiety attack , and what you should do if you or someone you know is going through one.

How to treat an anxiety attack

Here is a list of things to do if you or someone you know is having an anxiety attack. Remember that it is important that you act as soon as the symptoms appear, in this way you will prevent the situation from worsening.

An active conversation helps lessen the impact of the crisis

It is important that you always maintain an active conversation with the person who is suffering from the anxiety attack , this will help to distract their attention from the crisis and little by little it will make them forget about the problem. It is important that nothing mentioned during the conversation is related to the direct cause of the panic attack, as this will have the opposite effect; likewise, mention of the crisis should be avoided.

Try to subtly ease the fear

If the affected person is afraid of something in particular or feels that something could hurt them, you should try to show them that nothing is going to happen to them and that everything is fine . However, you must be careful, as saying something more can even make the situation worse, you must be as subtle as possible.

Avoid an overreaction

The person is having a terrible experience , don’t make it worse. One of the main mistakes that are usually made during a panic attack is that the people around tend to overreact, and this is a serious mistake, since they will make the affected person feel that the situation is more serious than it is in reality is and, therefore, it will end up worsening your condition.

You should try to act in the most normal way possible , avoid that many people approach who is suffering the crisis, and try to help from a distance where they do not suffocate him.

Breathing exercises are a great way to calm yourself

Breathing exercises are an excellent way to treat anxiety attacks, it is important that the affected person breathes slowly and deeply , so that little by little they calm down. This can, at first, be complicated, however, it is very important that these exercises are carried out, since this way you can reduce the effects of the anxiety attack .

These methods are most effective if you put them into practice for the first few moments. Remember that an anxiety attack can last a few minutes, so the sooner you act, the faster you can control the situation. And you, how do you deal with panic attacks?

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Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of ​​Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.

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