Symptoms A-Z

Anxiety Attack Symptoms, Causes & Common Questions

Understand your anxiety attack symptoms, including 5 causes & common questions.

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Contents

  1. 5 Possible Anxiety Attack Causes
  2. FAQs
  3. Questions Your Doctor May Ask
  4. Statistics

5 Possible Anxiety Attack Causes

The list below shows results from the use of our quiz by Buoy users who experienced anxiety attack. This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.

Panic disorder

Panic disorder is a chronic condition that involves repeated episodes of panic attacks, as well as worry about future attacks or consequences of attacks, or unhelpful changes in behavior to avoid the attacks. Panic attacks are episodes of sudden-onset fear, discomfort, and/or other symptoms that may or may not be associated with a specific trigger.

Symptoms of panic attacks include chest pain, shortness of breath, shaking, trembling, sweating, abdominal discomfort, nausea, dizziness, heat or cold sensations, numbness or tingling, or fear of dying.

Treatment options include psychotherapy and antidepressant or anti-anxiety medications.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: anxiety, abdominal pain (stomach ache), nausea, stomach bloating, depressed mood

Symptoms that always occur with panic disorder: anxiety

Symptoms that never occur with panic disorder: agoraphobia

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Panic or anxiety attack(s)

Panic or anxiety attacks are sudden feelings of intense fear or stress without true danger. Symptoms usually peak and then decrease within minutes. One may feel as if they are losing control or have physical symptoms like sweating or a racing heart. A panic attack can be a very scary experience and should be taken seriously.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms:

Symptoms that always occur with panic or anxiety attack(s): anxiety or anxiety/panic attacks

Urgency: Primary care doctor

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Generalized anxiety disorder (gad)

Anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental health problems in the United States. Generalized anxiety disorder refers to ongoing feelings of worry and anxiousness that persists for at least six months. Generalized anxiety disorder seems to run in families, making some individuals more vulnerable to stressors than others.

Symptoms include constant feelings of worry over both major and everyday events, difficulty concentrating or sleeping, feeling tired, irritability, as well as physical symptoms, such as headaches and body aches.

The diagnosis is made by patient history and physical examination to rule out physical causes. The individual may be referred to a mental health specialist for further evaluation and treatment, which may involve talk therapy to learn new ways to manage stress, medications, and lifestyle adjustments.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: fatigue, trouble sleeping, general anxiety (stress), irritability, nausea

Symptoms that always occur with generalized anxiety disorder (gad): general anxiety (stress)

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Acute stress disorder

Acute stress disorder (ASD) is a psychological condition caused by trauma, especially by any violent attack such as robbery, assault, or combat. "Acute" means that clear symptoms appear within days of the traumatic event. Most susceptible are those with a previous history of trauma, or a history of other mental health conditions.

A person may experience ASD after sustaining trauma themselves, witnessing a traumatic event directed against someone else, or learning that a person close to them endured trauma. The symptoms last for less than one month but greatly interfere with the ability to function normally in work, school, or other settings.

Symptoms include severe anxiety as well as dissociation, which is the feeling of being outside of one's body and observing events from a distance. There will also be detachment, emotional numbness, and flashbacks to the traumatic event.

Diagnosis is made through psychological evaluation. Sometimes a physical examination is done as well to rule out any physical causes for anxiety or depression.

Treatment involves a type of psychological counseling called cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, and sometimes short-term medication.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: trouble sleeping, anxiety, irritability, depressed mood, difficulty concentrating

Symptoms that always occur with acute stress disorder: impaired social or occupational functioning

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Post-traumatic stress disorder (ptsd)

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a disorder that develops as a reaction of trauma. One can get PTSD after living through or seeing a traumatic event, such as war, a hurricane, sexual assault, physical abuse, or a bad accident. PTSD causes stress and fear after the danger is over.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: psychological or physiological distress

Urgency: Primary care doctor

FAQs About Anxiety Attack

Here are some frequently asked questions about anxiety attack.

What can trigger an anxiety attack?

Anxiety attacks are triggered by a variety of things that generally fall into the category of life stresses. These can be anything from fear of social situations to worries about work or interpersonal relationships. Anything that adds to daily stress can trigger the biological and mental processes that initiate a panic attack.

Can you die from having a panic attack?

Generally, no. Panic attacks are not fatal. They can be dangerous if they happen during a moment where a person can harm themselves or someone else (e.g. operating a vehicle, walking across the street) or if the body is unable to handle the increased arousal from the panic attack. A heart attack (myocardial infarction) caused by increased heart rate in an individual with severe cardiovascular disease may result in death. However, these circumstances are very rare.

What causes anxiety attacks for no reason?

Most anxiety attacks are triggered by an errant thought, emotion, or exposure. It can be challenging for patients to discover their trigger, and for other patients, it may be obvious. A counseling session with a psychologist or psychiatrist may be helpful in discovering a trigger. Additionally, diseases that cause unforeseen increased arousal can cause panic attacks. Diseases that increase heart rate or drop blood pressure suddenly may also trigger a panic attack.

Why do I only have anxiety attacks at night?

It is not known what causes nocturnal anxiety attacks. They can, however, be a sign of a more comprehensive sleep disorder. If they persist, they should be discussed with a medical professional. It should be noted, however, that anxiety attacks at night are different from night terrors in which an individual experiences a fear-inducing dream state and may sleep walk or even act out elements of his or her dream.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Anxiety Attack

To diagnose this condition, your doctor would likely ask the following questions:

  • Are your symptoms causing difficulty at work, socializing, or spending time with friends & family?
  • Have you ever been diagnosed with a psychiatric issue, such as depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, or anxiety disorder?
  • Are there specific situations that cause your anxiety, or does it seem that almost anything will make you anxious?
  • Are you feeling irritable (easily made upset)?

The above questions are also covered by our A.I. Health Assistant.

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions

Take a quiz to find out why you're having anxiety attack

Anxiety Attack Symptom Checker Statistics

People who have experienced anxiety attack have also experienced:

  • 4% Fatigue
  • 3% Anxiety
  • 3% Tremor

People who have experienced anxiety attack were most often matched with:

  • 40% Panic Or Anxiety Attack(S)
  • 30% Panic Disorder
  • 30% Generalized Anxiety Disorder (Gad)

Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

Anxiety Attack Symptom Checker

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