Coping with Anxiety Attacks? Understanding Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment Options healthcare nt sickcare

What are Anxiety Attacks? Symptoms, Causes, Test, and Treatment

Mood, anxiety, and behavioural disorders are among the most common mental health conditions. They affect a person's emotional state, thoughts, and ability to function in daily life. These disorders can range from manageable to severe and disabling.

It's estimated that in any given year, around 20% of adults in America experience some form of mental illness, including mood and anxiety disorders. These conditions are particularly prevalent among young adults aged 18-25.

Mood disorders like depression and bipolar disorder disturb a person's emotional state. Feelings of persistent sadness, loss of interest, and manic highs and lows characterize these conditions. Anxiety disorders lead to excessive fear, worry, avoidance behaviours and physical symptoms like rapid heart rate.

Behavioural disorders involve patterns of disruptive conduct and an inability to regulate emotions and impulses. Conditions like oppositional defiant disorder and intermittent explosive disorder fall into this category.

The causes of mood, anxiety and behavioural disorders range from genetic vulnerability and brain chemistry to traumatic experiences and substance abuse. These disorders can significantly impair a person's quality of life and ability to function day-to-day.

Effective treatments are available in the form of medications, psychotherapy, and lifestyle changes. With appropriate care, many people with these conditions can manage their symptoms, regain stability, and lead fulfilling lives.

What are the Mood and Behavioural Disorders?

Mood and behavioural disorders are mental health conditions that primarily affect a person's emotions, behaviours, and ability to function in daily life. Some key types of mood and behavioural disorders include:

  • Depression - Persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and loss of interest. Can be mild to severe with suicidal thoughts in major depression.
  • Bipolar Disorder - Fluctuations between depressive and manic/hypomanic episodes. Mania causes elevated mood, agitation, and impulsiveness.
  • Anxiety Disorders - Excessive fear, nervousness, and worry. Includes generalized anxiety disorder, phobias, panic disorder, OCD, and PTSD.
  • Eating Disorders - Disturbances in eating behaviors and weight regulation. Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorders.
  • Personality Disorders - Maladaptive patterns of thinking and behaviour. Includes antisocial, borderline, histrionic, paranoid, and schizoid disorder types.
  • Disruptive Behavior Disorders - Problems regulating emotions and behaviors. Includes oppositional defiant disorder, conduct disorder, and ADHD. More common in childhood.
  • Substance Abuse Disorders - Dependence and addiction to alcohol, opioids, tobacco, and other drugs.
  • Schizophrenia - Distorted thinking and perceptions. Hallucinations, delusions, disorganized speech and behaviour.

Treatment typically involves a combination of medication, psychotherapy, and lifestyle changes. Early and consistent treatment leads to better outcomes in managing mood and behavioural health disorders.

Anxiety is a natural stress response and can be beneficial in certain situations. However, when anxiety becomes overwhelming and uncontrollable, it can lead to anxiety attacks or panic attacks. These attacks can be debilitating and interfere with daily life activities. 

In this blog, we will discuss anxiety attacks, their symptoms, causes, and treatment options, and the role of healthcare nt sickcare in treating anxiety attacks.

What are Anxiety Attacks?

Anxiety attacks are intense episodes of anxiety or panic that can occur suddenly and without warning. They are often accompanied by physical symptoms such as rapid heartbeat, sweating, trembling, shortness of breath, and chest pain. Anxiety attacks can last for a few minutes to several hours and can be triggered by a specific situation or occur spontaneously.

The Most Common Types of Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders are a group of mental disorders that are characterized by excessive fear, worry, and anxiety. Some of the most common types of anxiety disorders include:

  1. Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
  2. Panic disorder
  3. Social anxiety disorder (SAD)
  4. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  5. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  6. Specific phobias

Each type of anxiety disorder has its own set of symptoms and diagnostic criteria, but all can be debilitating and interfere with daily life. Treatment options, including therapy and medication, are available to help manage anxiety disorders.

Symptoms of Anxiety Attacks

The symptoms of anxiety attacks can be overwhelming and may include:

  • Intense fear or panic
  • Rapid heartbeat or palpitations
  • Sweating or trembling
  • Shortness of breath or tightness in the chest
  • Nausea or abdominal distress
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Feeling detached from reality
  • Fear of losing control or going crazy
  • Fear of dying

Causes of Anxiety Attacks

Anxiety attacks can be caused by a variety of factors such as:

  • Genetics: Some people may be more prone to anxiety attacks due to genetic factors.
  • Stressful life events: Traumatic or stressful events such as a job loss, divorce, or death of a loved one can trigger anxiety attacks.
  • Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions such as thyroid disorders, heart disease, and respiratory disorders can cause anxiety attacks.
  • Substance abuse: The use of certain drugs or alcohol can trigger anxiety attacks.
  • Medications: Some medications such as stimulants or antidepressants can cause anxiety attacks as a side effect.

Treatment Options for Anxiety Attacks

There are various treatment options available for anxiety attacks such as:

  • Therapy: Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and exposure therapy are effective in treating anxiety attacks by helping individuals identify and modify negative thought patterns and learn to cope with mechanisms.
  • Medications: Anti-anxiety medications and antidepressants can be prescribed by doctors to reduce symptoms of anxiety attacks.
  • Lifestyle changes: Making lifestyle changes such as regular exercise, healthy eating, and stress-management techniques can help reduce the frequency and severity of anxiety attacks.

How to Test for Anxiety Attack?

Anxiety attacks, also called panic attacks, cause sudden intense physical and psychological symptoms. Repeated attacks may indicate an anxiety disorder. Testing helps identify key signs and triggers.

Looking for Symptoms

Doctors assess for common anxiety attack symptoms like:

  • Pounding heart or chest pain
  • Feeling dizzy, lightheaded or faint
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath, choking sensation
  • Sweating, chills or hot flashes
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Fear of losing control or dying

Symptoms peak within minutes and last up to 30 minutes.

Physical Exam

A medical exam helps rule out physical conditions like thyroid disorders, heart problems, or low blood sugar that could mimic an anxiety attack. Doctors check:

  • Heart rate and blood pressure
  • Breathing rate
  • Reflexes
  • Oxygen saturation


Validated questionnaires help assess attack severity and frequency. These include:

  • Beck Anxiety Inventory
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7-item Scale
  • Panic Disorder Severity Scale

Questionnaires identify key emotional, physical, and behavioral signs.

Thought Tracking

Your doctor may have you track thoughts and symptoms leading up to and during attacks to identify triggers like stressors, places, caffeine, or activities.

Breathing Tests

Breathing exercises that alter oxygen and carbon dioxide levels can sometimes provoke symptoms, helping confirm anxiety as the cause.

Clinical Criteria

Your doctor will assess whether your attacks meet the criteria for a panic disorder diagnosis in the DSM-5 psychiatric manual.

Multifaceted testing provides the best assessment when anxiety causes distressing attacks. Testing identifies any related disorders needing treatment.

Natural Home Remedies for Fighting Anxiety Attack

Here are some natural home remedies for fighting anxiety:

  1. Chamomile Tea: Chamomile tea is a natural relaxant and can help soothe anxiety symptoms.
  2. Exercise: Regular exercise can help reduce anxiety by releasing endorphins and reducing stress hormones.
  3. Aromatherapy: Essential oils like lavender, rose, and frankincense can help calm the mind and reduce anxiety.
  4. Meditation: Meditation can help reduce anxiety symptoms by promoting relaxation and mindfulness.
  5. Yoga: Yoga combines physical exercise with mindfulness and can help reduce anxiety symptoms.
  6. Herbal Supplements: Certain herbal supplements like valerian root, passionflower, and kava can help reduce anxiety symptoms.
  7. Deep Breathing: Deep breathing exercises can help reduce anxiety symptoms by promoting relaxation and reducing stress.

It's important to note that if you are experiencing severe anxiety symptoms, it's important to seek medical attention from a healthcare professional.

What is the Difference Between Stress and Anxiety?

While stress and anxiety are related and can often coexist, they are two distinct conditions. Stress is the body's response to external pressures or demands, while anxiety is a feeling of unease, worry, or fear about what may happen in the future. Stress is a normal and often necessary part of life, while anxiety is a more persistent and intense emotional response. While stress can be managed with techniques such as time management and relaxation, anxiety may require more focused treatment, such as therapy or medication.

What is an Antidepressant?

An antidepressant is a type of medication used to treat depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders. They work by altering the levels of certain chemicals in the brain, such as serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine, which are involved in regulating mood and emotions.

Antidepressants are typically prescribed by a doctor, and there are several different types available, including;

  1. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  2. Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
  3. Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAS)
  4. Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)

It is important to note that antidepressants are not a cure for depression, but rather a way to manage its symptoms. They can take several weeks to start working, and it is important to follow the prescribed dosage and talk to a healthcare provider about any side effects or concerns.

List of Possible Side Effects of Antidepressants

Antidepressants can have a range of possible side effects, which can vary depending on the specific medication and the individual. Some of the most common side effects of antidepressants include:

  1. Nausea
  2. Drowsiness
  3. Insomnia
  4. Dry mouth
  5. Dizziness
  6. Headache
  7. Weight gain
  8. Sexual dysfunction
  9. Increased sweating
  10. Agitation or anxiety

In some cases, antidepressants can also increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behaviours, particularly in children, teenagers, and young adults. It is important to discuss any potential side effects with a doctor and to report any concerning symptoms immediately.

It is also important to note that sudden discontinuation of some antidepressants can cause withdrawal symptoms, including flu-like symptoms, dizziness, and irritability. It is important to work with a healthcare provider to safely and gradually taper off antidepressants when discontinuing them.

Tips to Treat Anxiety Disorder at Home

Some self-care tips may help manage anxiety symptoms, including:

  1. Practising relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga
  2. Engaging in regular exercise to help reduce stress and improve mood
  3. Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet
  4. Avoiding alcohol and caffeine, which can worsen anxiety symptoms
  5. Prioritizing good sleep hygiene and getting enough rest
  6. Identifying triggers or stressors that may worsen anxiety and finding ways to manage or avoid them
  7. Maintaining a support system of friends and loved ones who can offer emotional support
  8. Consider seeking professional help, such as therapy or medication, if symptoms persist or significantly impact daily life.

It's important to remember that self-care can be helpful, but it's not a substitute for professional treatment. If you are experiencing severe or persistent anxiety symptoms, it's important to speak with a healthcare provider.

How to Treat Anxiety When Natural Remedies Don't Work?

If natural remedies for anxiety don't work, it is recommended to seek professional help. Here are some options:

  1. Therapy: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a common form of therapy for anxiety disorders. It helps identify and change negative thought patterns that lead to anxiety.
  2. Medication: Certain medications, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and benzodiazepines, can help treat anxiety disorders. These should only be taken under the guidance of a healthcare professional.
  3. Mindfulness practices: Meditation, yoga, and deep breathing exercises are all mindfulness practices that can help manage anxiety. These practices may be more effective when used in conjunction with therapy.
  4. Lifestyle changes: Making healthy lifestyle changes, such as regular exercise, getting enough sleep, and eating a balanced diet, can also help manage anxiety.

It is important to note that treating anxiety may take time and patience, and what works for one person may not work for another. It is important to work with a healthcare professional to find the best treatment plan for you.

healthcare nt sickcare's Role in Treating Anxiety Attacks

healthcare nt sickcare offers various diagnostic tests to identify any underlying medical conditions that may be causing anxiety attacks. These tests include blood tests, thyroid function tests, and electrocardiograms (ECG)

healthcare nt sickcare also offers online consultations with qualified doctors who can provide personalized treatment plans for anxiety attacks. Additionally, healthcare nt sickcare provides resources and information on coping mechanisms and lifestyle changes that can help individuals manage anxiety attacks.


Anxiety attacks can be distressing and interfere with daily life activities. However, with the right treatment options and lifestyle changes, individuals can manage and reduce the frequency and severity of anxiety attacks. healthcare nt sickcare plays a crucial role in diagnosing and treating anxiety attacks by providing diagnostic tests, online consultations with doctors, and resources for managing anxiety attacks.


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