Read below about anxiety attack, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your anxiety attack from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

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6 Potential Anxiety Attack Causes

Disclaimer: The article does not replace an evaluation by a physician. Information on this page is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes.

  1. 1.Acute Stress Disorder

    Acute stress disorder describes changes in one's mood or memory for less than a month following an emotional or traumatic event.

    Acute stress disorder generally lasts days to 1 month.

    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
  2. 2.Panic Disorder

    Panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder. It causes panic attacks, which are sudden feelings of terror without true danger. One may feel as if they are losing control or have physical symptoms like sweating or a racing heart.

    Chronic with relapses

    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
  3. 3.Other Specified Anxiety Disorder

    Other specified anxiety disorder is an anxiety disorder that does not fit into a more defined disorder like generalized anxiety disorder or social anxiety disorder.

    May be lifelong.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    anxiety, anxiety attack
    Symptoms that always occur with other specified anxiety disorder:
    anxiety
    Symptoms that never occur with other specified anxiety disorder:
    anxiety when doing something in front of a group, anxiety from a specific situation
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

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  4. 4.Agoraphobia

    Agoraphobia is an intense fear and anxiety of being in places where it is hard to escape, or where help might not be available. Agoraphobia usually involves fear of crowds, bridges, or of being outside alone.

    Chronic but easily controlled.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    abdominal pain (stomach ache), nausea, stomach bloating, diarrhea, constipation
    Symptoms that always occur with agoraphobia:
    agoraphobia, impaired social or occupational functioning
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  5. 5.Anxiety Due to Medication or Drugs

    Certain medications and illicit drugs may cause anxiety.

    Resolves after causative drug is stopped

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    anxiety, impaired social or occupational functioning, anxiety attack, anxiety that worsens when taking a recreational drug
    Symptoms that always occur with anxiety due to medication or drugs:
    anxiety
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  6. 6.Bulimia

    Bulimia Nervosa is an eating disorder. People suffering from this condition sometimes will eat huge amounts of food, and might take extreme steps such as making themselves vomit to avoid putting on weight.

    With appropriate treatment, recovery is very likely.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    anxiety, irritability, stomach bloating, trouble sleeping, difficulty concentrating
    Symptoms that always occur with bulimia:
    vomiting after binge eating
    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

  • Q.Have you been feeling more tired than usual, lethargic or fatigued despite sleeping a normal amount?
  • Q.Are your symptoms causing difficulty at work, socializing, or spending time with friends & family?
  • Q.Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Q.Do you currently smoke?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our anxiety attack symptom checker to find out more.

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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:

    • 23% Panic Disorder
    • 8% Acute Stress Disorder
    • 5% Other Specified Anxiety Disorder
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

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