What does an anxiety attack feel like?


Everyone suffers symptoms of anxiety now and then, and for many people anxiety is a chronic problem. But not all who suffer from anxiety experience full-blown anxiety attacks.

If you have never experienced one, or are not sure, you may be wondering what an anxiety attack feels like.


An anxiety attack, also known as a panic attack, is a period of very intense anxiety or fear. They often come on suddenly, and do not always have a clear trigger. They are marked by physical symptoms that can be very frightening, and many people wonder if they are suffering from a heart attack. Fortunately, anxiety attacks tend to be short--the worst is usually over within 10 minutes, and it is unusual to have an anxiety attack that lasts more than 30 minutes.


There are many possible symptoms of an anxiety attack. A hallmark symptom is an intense surge of panic that may make you feel like you are losing control or going insane. Common physical symptoms are heart palpitations, chest pain, difficulty breathing or hyperventilation, nausea, hot flashes or chills, sweating, dizziness, and weakness or trembling. Many people experience a sense of impending doom or even death, and often feel detached from reality.

Anxiety attacks are terrifying while they last, but they don’t need to inject fear into the rest of your life. Anxiety attacks are very treatable, and many people will see a significant improvement in anxiety symptoms with just a few therapy sessions.

Photo by John Nyboer

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