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Understanding Anxiety Attacksfrom: Conquer Anxiety and Depression
Almost everyone suffers from an anxiety attack at some point in life. Whether it's a fear of failing at an important task or a concern that an animal or some other force will cause harm, the mind and body go into synch and actual physical symptoms tend to manifest themselves. For some people, however, normal fear becomes paralyzing and persistent and actual full-blown anxiety attacks become almost a way of life.
Understanding what anxiety attacks are, how they present and what can be done about them can help people around an anxiety sufferer better grasp what a friend of loved one is going through. It can also help the person who suffers from the attacks realize the need to seek out effective treatments before anxiety waylays life.
Anxiety attacks are very similar to the mental/physical reactions that happen in the fight or flight phenomena. The mind perceives a threat and the body reacts. The difference between a "normal" attack and an abnormal situation generally involves the perceived threat. In the case of anxiety disorders, the "danger" can be quite mundane, but not always. What does happen here is that threats are perceived when they are not really present, or the reaction is out of proportion to the situation. For example, a person who has an extreme fear of public speaking isn't really in danger, but his or her mind might think so; therefore, the body reacts.
In most cases, anxiety attacks have very intense, fast onsets. They are typically characterized by the following symptoms:
* Intense feelings of fear and danger
* Chest pains, heart palpitations, sweating, trembling and other physical symptoms
* A feeling of depersonalization or a surreal atmosphere
* A strong sense of doom and fear of death
* Lack of breath
* Hot flashes or chills
The unfortunate thing about anxiety attacks is that their symptoms often mimic other serious health conditions. This can lead to false diagnosis and even fuel the fears that death is imminent. When anxiety attacks are properly diagnosed, people generally are treated with a combination of medications and therapy to help them regain control of their lives.
Anxiety attacks can have a one-time presentation or they might occur on a repetitive basis. In the case of the latter, therapy is almost always advised as repetition is generally a sign of a more serious anxiety disorder.
Anxiety attacks are very real manifestations of fear. They can actually be quite normal reactions to a serious situation, or they might present out of irrational fear. If they are repetitive, help generally is required to combat and overcome them and the cause.
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