What are the signs and symptoms of anxiety?
Anxiety is a perfectly normal response to stressful situations, but when your anxiety starts to have a big impact on your daily life, then that could be the sign of an anxiety disorder. This type of anxiety tends to happen more frequently or persistently, sometimes without a clear cause. While there are many different types of anxiety, each with its own set of challenges, they do share some common symptoms.
Emotional symptoms of anxiety include:
- a sense of dread, or impending doom
- difficulty concentrating
- feeling irritable
- feeling “on edge” all the time
- Physical symptoms of anxiety include:
- muscle aches
- dry mouth
- shortness of breath
- excessive sweating
- stomach ache
- difficulty sleeping
Can anxiety cause heart palpitations?
Yes, when you suffer from anxiety you may feel like your heart is beating harder or faster, which is known as heart palpitations. They can feel like your heart is racing, fluttering, or pounding. Some people feel like their heart is skipping a beat or may feel these feelings in their neck or throat.
Does anxiety affect sleep?
Yes, anxiety can affect sleep. Anxiety can cause you to feel worried or afraid, which can keep you awake at night, and make it harder to stay asleep once you finally drift off. Sleep disorders can be a cause of anxiety, so you may find yourself in a cycle where your anxiety is making your sleeping pattern worse, which can make you even more anxious.
What is an anxiety attack?
An anxiety attack involves sudden, intense feelings of panic and fear. These can be triggered by a stressful event or situation, but they can also happen without warning or an obvious reason. The usual signs of an anxiety attack are:
An anxiety attack usually lasts for between 5 and 30 minutes.
- Increased heart rate
- Chest pain
- Breathing difficulties
- Irrational thoughts - such as a feeling of losing control, or that something bad is about to happen to you or to others.
How long does an anxiety attack last?
Anxiety attacks usually peak within 10 minutes and don’t last longer than half an hour. Although they’re short-lived, they can cause overwhelming feelings of distress or worry. This can make an anxiety attack seem like it lasts longer in the moment than it actually does.
Can anxiety attacks cause chest pains?
Yes, anxiety attacks can cause chest pains. Anxiety can trigger a “fight-or-flight" response and this can cause your muscles to tighten or become tense in response. When combined with an increased heart rate, muscle tension in the chest caused by an anxiety attack can feel painful.
If your chest pain lasts for more than a few minutes and causes you to feel short of breath, dizzy, sweaty, or clammy, call 999 for emergency care straight away.
Are anxiety attacks dangerous?
No, anxiety attacks themselves aren’t dangerous. Although an anxiety attack won’t kill you, they can have a serious impact on your mental wellbeing and should be treated if you feel you are experiencing symptoms regularly.
However, it can be difficult to tell the difference between anxiety and a heart attack. If you have a heart condition and think you are having an anxiety attack, you should always seek medical attention just in case.