There are infinite combinations of symptoms. Some people may have three or four symptoms, other people may have five or six happening at any one time
Do not self diagnose. Anxiety Disorders can mimic a number of physical conditions and it is important that a medical assessment and diagnosis is made by your treating doctor or specialist.
Once you have been diagnosed by your doctor as having panic and/or anxiety, understanding your symptoms is a vital component in the recovery process. If you don't understand how your symptoms happen, then you can remain caught up in your fears about them.A brief overview
The symptoms of panic attacks and anxiety can be many and varied. (For a full list of symptoms see the following page link below)
Everyone who experiences panic and anxiety, feels the effects of the the 'Fight' and Flight' response. The fight and flight response is a natural response to danger in humans and in animals. When the fight and flight response is activated, hormones are released through the body to enable us to either fight the dangerous situation or to run from it.
The effects of the fight and flight response include an increase in our heart rate to pump blood faster to the brain, lungs and muscles. We may begin to breathe quickly to increase our oxygen levels, our muscle tense and we can begin to perspire.
Many people don't realise that the way they think when they have an anxiety disorder, turns on the 'fight and flight' response. Our bodies can't tell the difference between the thoughts, 'what if I have a panic attack, what if I make a fool of myself, why am I feeling like this, why is this happening to me, what if the doctor has made a mistake etc etc'.... and the thought :
'Here comes a truck at 100 kms an hour and it has no brakes. It is heading straight for me!'
The way we think when we have an anxiety disorder, the 'what ifs' etc, keep turning on the fight and flight response and around and around we go.
Another group of symptoms include depersonalisation and/or derealisation. These are common symptoms of spontaneous panic attacks, and are part of a group of symptoms known as Dissociation.
People with an anxiety disorder can also experience a number of different effects as a result of their disorder. These effects can include lack of concentration and extreme exhaustion.
Recovery for all of us means understanding our symptoms and how they happen. This in turn helps us to learn to lose our various fears, and by doing so we 'turn off' the fight and flight response.