Anxiety Disorders And Anxiety Attacks

Published on September 14th, 2020

Updated on February 23rd, 2024

What You Can Do When You Are Blindsided By Anxiety

Anxiety is something we feel when something unexpected, unpleasant, uncomfortable, or unpredictable is happening or about to happen. The uncertainty of an outcome, or simply the idea of something happening or not happening, can affect us so much that our bodies and minds react through visible and palpable symptoms.

Anxiety can affect a person so strongly that they feel like they are in danger of something harmful happening. It causes several uncomfortable symptoms, like:

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What Is An Anxiety Disorder?

Anxiety is something everyone experiences, but there are people who chronically experience symptoms. When anxiety affects a person’s ability to cope with their day-to-day, it may mean they are suffering from an anxiety disorder.

Many people with anxiety disorders do not know what they are experiencing is anxiety. Sometimes they even believe that it is a typical reaction that everyone experiences, which is not always the case.

Everyone will experience anxiety at some point in their life. It is an emotion that can be triggered by several factors. Sometimes it will be triggered by recognizable situations and sometimes it will be triggered by circumstances that are more difficult to identify and understand. To be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder implies that the anxiety that is experienced is:

Common Causes Of Anxiety Disorders

Everyone will have their own triggers for stress and anxiety. Some people will have unique stressors that will trigger different types of anxiety. Different factors can cause an anxiety disorder, which is a chronic condition of anxiety.

Common factors that may cause an anxiety disorder include:

Heredity And Family History

If you have an immediate family member with chronic or excessive anxiety, you are at high risk of also experiencing heightened anxiety. This could be due to genes or learning modeled anxious behavior from others during upbringing. It is possible to be genetically predisposed to anxiety.


Change can be scary for people. When a person is exposed to significant change, they can feel vulnerable. Having to adjust to significant changes can cause a person to experience heightened anxiety. Changes that can cause anxiety include:


Living, working, or attending school in a chaotic, volatile, or unhealthy environment can cause anxiety. People in an unhealthy or chaotic environment feel unsafe. This unsafe feeling causes people to feel insecure and on edge. Prolonged exposure to a stressful environment can cause chronic anxiety. This chronic anxiety caused by your environment can carry over to other areas of your life.

Types Of Anxiety

There are many different types of anxiety disorders that a person may suffer from. Each disorder may have unique symptoms, causes, and methods of treatment. They also typically have thought and behavior patterns in common with one another.

Different types of anxiety disorders include:

What Is An Anxiety Attack?

What Is An Anxiety Attack?

Having an anxiety attack (panic attack) is a scary experience. It causes uncomfortable symptoms that can be scary and upsetting. It is not uncommon for a person who is having an anxiety attack to not understand what is happening to them. Since an anxiety attack has physical symptoms, people can confuse it for a medical emergency.

An anxiety attack can be triggered by something known or can happen unexpectedly. It occurs as a result of being overwhelmed with anxiety. Sometimes, that anxiety can seemingly come out of nowhere. It is not uncommon for a person to have an anxiety attack and not know what is causing the panic or anxiety.

Anxiety attacks are commonly seen with anxiety disorders and mood disorders. They can be a symptom of different disorders as well. Having anxiety attacks may be the result of panic disorder, but may also be a symptom of other disorders and mental health issues.

Symptoms Of An Anxiety Attack

An anxiety attack causes an affected person to feel many distressing sensations. During a severe anxiety attack, you may feel like you are dying or experiencing a medical emergency. These sensations are scary and typically last for about 10 minutes. Symptoms can be confused with a medical emergency because of how intense they can feel, but new or troubling sensations should be taken seriously and addressed by a medical professional.

Symptoms of an anxiety attack include:

How Anxiety Is Treated

It is important to seek therapy for anxiety disorders. Therapy helps a person learn how to cope with their symptoms. If an anxiety disorder is not addressed it could lead to consequences. Some consequences include:

Anxiety can cause muscle tension, headaches, and hypertension. It can also affect the immune system, causing someone who is sick to have a hard time getting better.

Fortunately, there are therapeutic approaches that can help a person learn to manage anxiety. Cognitive and behavioral therapies are particularly effective in reducing negative self-talk. This lessens the intensity of symptoms and helps the affected person stay in control of their thoughts and emotions.

The following forms of therapy are helpful for anxiety:

Anxiety is uncomfortable and challenging to live with, but recovery is possible. Learning about how anxiety affects you and what you need to cope with the experience can help you feel better. Seek support from a therapist to learn how to cope with anxiety and manage anxiety attacks.

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