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There are a number of symptoms which you may have experienced not only during your first, but also during subsequent attacks. See if any of these symptoms of panic and anxiety sound familiar:

“My body froze like a statue. My pulse would race very, very fast. My sense of reasoning and perception would become completely muddled and confused.”

“It happens very suddenly - I feel faint, hot and sweaty. My heart beats rapidly. I feel I can’t move or speak and that I just want to lie down. My stomach and chest are churning inside.”

“A ringing in my ears would occur and my body temperature dropped.”



“Numbness in my hands and then this feeling that I couldn’t breathe. A feeling I was going to have a heart attack and a dryness in the mouth. Hearing my heart going; palpitations and an overwhelming fear that I was going to have a heart attack and die.”

“A tingling sensation down my left arm. A constant pain above my chest; also tightness of the chest. A cold sweat. The need to breathe in more air. Total panic and shakes. I had thoughts of fear that it was a heart attack.”

And one man listed his symptoms as: “High heart rate; sweating; flushing sensation in head; twitching muscles; feeling of coldness in hands and feet; wanting to go to the toilet. I thought I would collapse or faint, or even die.” Of course he didn’t, and hasn’t since. Neither has anyone else. Neither will you. But the feelings you have are incredibly unpleasant to say the least, and the full horror is difficult to convey to someone who has never experienced them.
Common anxiety symptoms include:

Body (anxiety symptoms commonly associated with the body in general):

Allergy problems, increase in allergies (number, sensitivity, reactions, lengthier reactions).
Back pain, stiffness, tension, pressure, soreness, spasms, immobility in the back or back muscles.
Blanching (looking pale, loss of colour in the face or skin).
Blushing, turning red, flushed face, flushed skin, blushing, red face or skin.
Body aches, parts of or your entire body feels sore and achy, feels like your body and muscles are bruised.
Body jolts, electric jolt feeling in body, intense body tremor or “body shake”.
Body temperature increase or decrease, change in body temperature
Burning skin, itchy, “crawly,” prickly or other skin sensations, skin sensitivity, numbness on the skin.
Buzzing sensation in the feet, toes, hands, fingers, arms, legs .
Chest pain, chest tightness.
Chronic Fatigue, exhaustion, super tired, worn out.
Clumsiness, feeling clumsy, co-ordination problems with the limbs or body
Craving sugar, sweets, chocolate, unusual craving for sugar and sweets.
Difficulty speaking, moving mouth, talking, co-ordination problems with the mouth or tongue.
Dizziness, feeling lightheaded.
Excess of energy, you feel you can’t relax.
Falling sensation, feel like your are falling or dropping.
Feel like you are going to pass out or faint.
Feel wrong, different, foreign, odd, or strange
Flushed face, red face, flushed skin.
Frequent urination.
Heart palpitations, racing heart.
Hyperactivity, excess energy, nervous energy.
Increased or decreased sex drive.
Infection - increased infections, persistent infection.
Mouth or throat clicking or grating sound/noise when you move your mouth or jaw, such as when talking.
Muscles that vibrate, jitter, tremor, or shake when used.
Muscle twitching.
Neck, back, shoulder pain, tightness/stiffness.
Night sweats, waking up in a sweat, profusely sweating at night.
No energy, feeling lethargic, tired.
Numbness and tingling, and other skin sensations on hands, feet, face, head, or any other places on the body.
Persistent muscle tension, stiffness.
Pounding heart, heart feels like it is beating too hard.
Pulsing or throbbing muscles. Pulsing or throbbing sensation.
Rib or rib cage tightness, pressure, or feeling like a tight band around the rib cage.
Sexual Dysfunction, sexual disinterest.
Shooting pains, stabbing pains, and odd pressures in the neck, head, or face.
Skipped heart beats .
Sore or tight scalp or back of the neck.
Startled easily.
Sweating, uncontrollable profuse sweating.
The floor feels like it is moving either down or up for no reason.
Tightness in the ribs or rib cage area, may also feel like a tight band around the ribs or rib cage area.
Tingling sensations, anywhere on the body, including the hands, feet, legs, arms, head, mouth, chest, groin area.
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder. (TMJ).
Trembling, shaking, tremors.
Unsteadiness, dizziness, feeling dizzy or lightheaded.
Urgency to urinate, frequent urination, sudden urge to go to the washroom (similar to urinary tract or prostate infection symptoms).
Warm spells.
Weak - feel weak, weakness, low energy, light, soft, like you may faint.
Weak legs, arms, or muscles.
Weight loss, weight gain.

Chest (anxiety symptoms commonly associated with the chest area):

Chest tremors, trembling in the chest, chest feels like it is vibrating.
Chest pain or discomfort.
Concern about the heart.
Feel like you have to force yourself to breath.
Find it hard to breath, feeling smothered, shortness of breath.
Frequent yawning to try and catch your breath.
Heart Palpitations – beating hard or too fast, rapid heartbeat .
Heart - Irregular heart rhythms, flutters or ‘skipped’ beats, tickle in the chest that makes you cough.
Pounding heart, heart feels like it is beating too hard.
Rib or rib cage tightness, pressure, or feeling like a tight band around the rib cage.

Emotions (see mood) (anxiety symptoms commonly associated with emotions, mood, and feelings):

Fears (anxiety symptoms commonly associated with fear):

A heightened fear of what people think of you.
Afraid of being trapped in a place with no exits.
Constant feeling of being overwhelmed.
Fear of being in public.
Fear of dying.
Fear of losing control.
Fear of impending doom.
Fear of making mistakes or making a fool of yourself to others.
Fear of passing out.
Fear that you are losing your mind.
Fears about irrational things, objects, circumstances, or situations.
Fears of going crazy, of dying, of impending doom, of normal things, unusual feelings and emotions, unusually frightening thoughts or feelings.
Heightened self awareness, or self-consciousness.
Need to find nearest washrooms before you can feel comfortable.
Need to seat near exits.

Head (anxiety symptoms commonly associated with the head):

Burning, itchy, tight scalp.
Dizziness or light-headedness.
Frequent headaches, migraine headaches.
Feeling like there is a tight band around your head, pressure, tightness
Head, neck or shoulder pain, tightness/stiffness .
Numbness tingling, numbness and tingling.
Shooting pains, stabbing pains, and odd pressures in the neck, head, or face.
Shooting pains in the face.
Shooting pains in the scalp or head.
When you close your eyes you feel like are beginning to, or will, float upwards.
Sore jaw that feels like a tooth ache.
TMJ (Temporo-Mandibular Joint) - clenching of the jaw or grinding of the teeth.

Hearing/Ear(s) (anxiety symptoms commonly associated with hearing):

Feel like there is something stuck in your ear, that your ear canal it plugged or blocked, that there is a pebble in your ear that you can't get out.
Low rumbling sounds.
Reduced hearing, frequent or intermittent reduced hearing or deafness in one or both ears.
Ringing in the ears, noises in the ears, noises in the head.
Pulsing in the ears, throbbing sound in the ear(s).
Tickle or itch in your ear that you can't seem to get at.

Mind (anxiety symptoms commonly associated with the mind and thinking):

Afraid of everything.
Altered state of reality, consciousness, or universe feeling.
Deja Vu, a feeling like you've done or experienced something before.
Difficulty concentrating, short-term memory loss.
Difficulty thinking, speaking, forming thoughts, following conversations.
Fear of going crazy.
Fear of losing control.
Fear of impending doom.
Feelings of unreality.
Frequent feeling of being overwhelmed, or that there is just too much to handle or do.
Having difficulty concentrating.
Nightmares, bad dreams.
Obsession about sensations or getting better.
Repetitive thinking or incessant ‘mind chatter’.
Short-term learning impairment, have a hard time learning new information.
Short-term memory impairment, can't remember what I did a few days, hours, or moments ago.
Spaced out feelings, feeling spaced out.
"Stuck" thoughts; thoughts, mental images, concepts, songs, or melodies that "stick" in your mind and replay over and over again.
Trapped in your mind feeling.
Underlying anxiety, apprehension, or fear.
You often feel you are carrying the world on your shoulders.

Mood / Emotions (anxiety symptoms commonly associated with mood, emotions, and feelings):

Always feeling angry and lack of patience.
Dramatic mood swings (emotional flipping).
Emotionally blunted, flat, or numb.
Emotions feel wrong.
Everything is scary, frightening.
Feeling down in the dumps.
Feeling like things are unreal or dreamlike.
Frequently being on edge or 'grouchy'.
Feel like crying for no apparent reason.
Have no feelings about things you used to.
Not feeling like yourself, detached from loved ones, emotionally numb.
Underlying anxiety, apprehension, or fear.
You feel like you are under pressure all the time.

Mouth/Stomach (anxiety symptoms commonly associated with the mouth and stomach):

A ‘tinny’, ‘metallic’ or ‘ammonia’, or unusual smell or taste.
Aerophagia (swallowing too much air, stomach distention, belching).
Burning mouth, feeling like the inside of your mouth is burning, or tingling, or like pins and needles, or all of these together or at different times.
Burning tongue, feeling like your tongue is burning, or tingling, or like pins and needles, or all of these, or all of these together or at different times.
Constant craving for sugar or sweets.
Difficulty swallowing.
Difficulty talking, pronouncing certain letters or sounds, mouth feels like it isn't moving right, slurred speech.
Dry mouth.
Feeling like you can’t swallow properly or that something will get caught in your throat.
Feeling like your tongue is swollen.
Lack of appetite or taste.
Lump in the throat, tight throat, something stuck in your throat.
Mouth muscles twitching/jumping.
Mouth or throat clicking or grating sound/noise when you move your mouth or jaw, such as when talking.
Nausea or abdominal stress.
Numbness tingling, numbness and tingling.
Stomach upset, gas, belching, bloating.
Teeth grinding.
The thought of eating makes you nauseous.
Tight throat, lump in throat.
Throat or mouth clicking or grating sound/noise when you move your mouth or jaw, such as when talking.
Tongue symptoms - Tingly, “stretched,” numb, frozen, itchy, “crawly,” burning, twitching, “jumpy,” aching, sore, or swollen tongue (when it isn’t).
Urgency to urinate, frequent urination, sudden urge to go to the washroom.

Skin (anxiety symptoms commonly associated with the skin):

Burning skin sensations, skin sensitivity.
Numbness tingling, numbness and tingling.
Skin problems, infections, rashes.

Sleep (anxiety symptoms commonly associated with sleep):

Difficulty falling or staying asleep.
Frequent bad, bizarre, or crazy dreams.
Hearing sounds in your head that jolt you awake.
Insomnia, or waking up ill in the middle of the night.
Jolting awake.
Waking up in a panic attack.
You feel worse in the mornings.

Sight (anxiety symptoms commonly associated with sight):

Distorted, foggy, or blurred vision.
Dry, watery or itchy eyes.
Eye tricks, seeing things our of the corner of your eye that isn’t there, stars, flashes.
Eyes sensitive to light.
Spots in the vision.
Flashing lights when eyes are closed.
Your depth perception feels wrong.

Touch (anxiety symptoms commonly associated with touch):

Burning skin sensations, skin sensitivity.
Feeling cold or chilled.
Numbness tingling, numbness and tingling.
Tingling, pins and needles feelings.

Other anxiety symptoms are described as:

Being like a hypochondriac, muscle twinges, worry all the time, tingles, gagging, tightness in the chest, tongue twitches, shaky, breath lump, heart beat problems, head tingles, itchy tingling in arms and legs, and so many more.

In addition to these anxiety symptoms, you may also find yourself worrying compulsively about:

Having a heart attack
Having a serious undetected illness
Dying prematurely
Going insane or losing your mind
Suddenly snapping
Losing it
Uncontrollably harming yourself or someone you love
Losing control of your thoughts and actions
Being embarrassed or making a fool out of yourself
Losing control
Fainting in public
Not breathing properly
Losing control of reality
Choking or suffocating
Being alone.

These are some of the common panic and anxiety symptoms. But there are more that are not on the above list.

The Diagnosis of Panic Attacks and Anxiety Problems

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual IV Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR) lists the full range of physical symptoms which people may experience during a panic attack. These are:

shortness of breath or smothering.
accelerated heart rate or palpitations.
pains or discomfort in the chest.
feeling of choking.
feeling faint, dizzy or unsteady.
feelings of unreality (depersonalisation and derealisation).
tingling in the extremities, or numbness.
fear of losing control or going crazy.
fear of dying.
hot and/or cold flushes.
trembling muscles or shaking.
feeling nauseous or abdominal distress.
wanting to go to the toilet.

The manual describes the panic attack as: A discrete period of intense fear or discomfort, in which four (or more) of the above symptoms developed abruptly and reached a peak within ten minutes.

There should be no obvious life threatening situation setting them off.

You probably won’t experience all these things at the same time. Apparently, people on average tend to report having about seven different symptoms. Besides the physical sensations, people tend to share similar thoughts and feelings too. These are:

a sudden overwhelming feeling of fear, terror or apprehension.
an awful sense of impending doom.
being frightened you might die.
being scared you might go crazy or lose your mind.
fearing you might lose control completely.

Many sufferers experience more than four sensations. The sort of sensations they notice may not be exactly the same one week as another week. What bothers one person may not bother another.

The term “limited panic attacks” is used when someone suffers from only one or two of these feelings out of the blue. I’m saying “only” one or two, but this gives the wrong impression, because for these people one or two of these sensations catching them unawares can be worrying, aggravating and frequent enough to spoil their lives.

Although terrifying, none of these thoughts and feelings ever comes to anything. There is no evidence that anyone has ever died from a panic attack, and no one has ever gone crazy. Neither has anyone completely lost control of him or herself. There is no evidence of anything bad ever happening to anyone during a panic attack, no matter how frightened they have felt. So be reassured that although what you feel is extremely unpleasant, you will come to no harm. It’s important that you realise this.

There is one particular combination of symptoms which is quite common and worth mentioning: palpitations, sweating, shortness of breath and a fear that you might be dying. It’s important only because those who have this combination tend to think they’re having a heart attack, like a few of the people quoted above. Typically, they may rush themselves to hospital, fearing the worst, only to find that the doctors pronounce their heart is strong and sound. Although people obviously feel a great deal of relief in being told that, they can also leave the hospital feeling confused and still somewhat frightened if the doctor doesn’t reassure them enough. They know they felt something powerful, very real and frightening, and without a proper explanation they may still harbour fears that they haven’t been told the truth, or that perhaps next time it will be a real heart attack.

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