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Symptoms of Anxiety/Panic
Do not self diagnose. Anxiety Disorders can mimic a number of physical illness and it is important that a medical assessment, including clinical tests, and diagnosis are made by your treating doctor/specialist.
The symptoms of anxiety can be many and varied. People can experience symptoms from several categories at the same time.
These can include dissociative symptoms such as depersonalisation and derealisation, the 'fight' and flight' response - rapid heart beat, rapid breathing, effects of hyperventilation and muscle tension. People can also experience a number of different effects as a result of their anxiety and panic attacks.
Fight and Flight Response.
The fight and flight response is a natural response to danger in humans and in animals. When 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 can begin to breathe quickly to increase our oxygen levels, our muscle tense and we can begin to perspire.
Many of us don't realise the way we think when we have an anxiety disorder turns the 'fight and flight' response on.
Our bodies can't tell the difference between our 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 keeps turning on the fight and flight response. The sensations of the fight and flight response, our anxiety and panic attack symptoms, keep on going, which keeps on turning on the fight and flight response and around and around we go.
The main categories of physical symptoms are as follows:
|racing or rapid heart beat||nausea and/or vomiting||giddiness / dizziness|
|heart palpitations||churning / burning stomach||flushing face|
|'missed' heart beats||indigestion||frequent need to urinate|
|pounding heart||Dissociative symptoms||diarrhoea|
|Breathing symptoms||feeling detached from the body||sleeping difficulties|
|breathing difficulties||feeling as if you and/or surroundings are not real||night sweats|
|hyperventilation||feel as if looking through a white or grey mist||unexplainable rashes|
|tightening of the throat||sensitivity to light and sound||feelings of weakness in left hand and/or arm|
|choking sensation||stationary objects appear to move||Effects|
|sensations of falling into a 'void'||lack of concentration|
|chest pain||dizziness||extreme exhaustion|
|loss of feelings and/or libido|
|lower back pain||pins and needles||short term memory loss|
|sciatica||hot and cold flashes|
|muscle pain||shaking/ trembling||fear of dying/ having a heart attack|
|aching jaw||excessive perspiration||fear of going insane/ losing control|
|clenching fists||sweating hands||fear of embarrassment / of making a fool of yourself|
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