Anxiety attacks and panic disorders affect an estimated 2.4 million Americans according to WebMD.com, and women are more likely to experience them than men. An anxiety attack can be described as an elevated sense of unease and a sudden acute episode of feeling overwhelmed and panicky. Anxiety attacks can occur on a regular basis, or randomly in people of all ages. Here are some ways to recognize anxiety symptoms:
1. Difficulty speaking and concentrating. The person experiencing an anxiety attack or extreme anxiety typically has difficulty getting focused and speaking properly. They may stumble upon their words, stutter, and feel like they can’t get their thoughts under control.
2. Chest pains or tightness. Someone who has a tendency of having anxiety attacks usually stops breathing properly. This can cause severe chest pains or tightness, difficulty swallowing, and from limited oxygen intake.
3. Excessive energy. People who are “always on the go” may not realize they are experiencing anxiety symptoms. They may feel like they can’t relax or will experience long periods of restlessness or agitation. This is a common anxiety symptom that many people overlook.
4. Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet. Most people who are about to have a full-blown anxiety attack will start to breathe in a shallow manner, limiting their oxygen intake. This can cause numbness in the hands and feet, especially if they are sitting in a constricted position.
5. Heart palpitations or a racing heart. People who are about to have an anxiety attack often feel like their “heart is about to beat out of their chest.” Increased heart rate and elevated blood pressure are common anxiety symptoms.
6. Extreme cravings for sugar and sweets. For those who experience anxiety symptoms on a regular basis, eating high-fat, high-carbohydrate foods serves the purpose of calming them down. This can become a problem if too much food is eaten at one sitting, and can end up making the person feel worse. Food can only numb anxiety symptoms temporarily; as soon as the “high” wears off, the anxiety attack or anxiety problems will return, and may get worse.
7. Extreme fatigue. Constant stress on the mind and body from an anxiety attack or anxiety problems can leave the person feeling worn out and extremely fatigued. Anxiety triggers several chemical reactions in the body that directly affect the central nervous system. This can leave the person feeling drained of energy, and unable to get enough rest to recover.
Anxiety symptoms vary from person to person, and may be more pronounced in some people than in others. The intensity and effects of an anxiety attack can occur based on the person’s chemical makeup, frequency of other attacks, and other factors. Recognizing these symptoms as they happen can help to understand what is triggering an anxiety attack or general feelings of anxiety, and what needs to be done to correct the problem.
Even though anxiety can cause many physical, emotional and social problems, most anxiety problems can be corrected with lifestyle changes, dietary supplements or medical intervention.