Banner Health Services  

What are the symptoms of anxiety attacks?

Sandi Lloyd  

Sandi Lloyd is manager of Outpatient Behavioral Health at Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center. Her office can be reached by calling 623-214-4210.

Question: What are the symptoms to anxiety attacks? Is the condition treatable?

Answer: Anxiety can be mild or severe with symptoms such as feeling sweaty and shaky; rapid heartbeat, having a difficult time relaxing; and difficulty concentrating. 

Anxiety is one of the most common mental illnesses as there are 19 million Americans experiencing this disorder costing the U.S. approximately $46.6 billion a year.

There are different types of anxiety disorders that include panic disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, phobias and general anxiety disorders. Anxiety can lead to panic attacks.

Panic disorders are repeated episodes of intense fear that often strikes without warning. Physical symptoms include chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, abdominal distress, feelings of unreality and fear of dying.

There are effective treatments for anxiety disorders that often combine medication and psychotherapy.  Medications are available to effectively treat anxiety and include groups of drugs called antidepressants and benzodiazepines.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an effective, proven form of psychotherapy in treating anxiety disorders. CBT focuses on teaching patients to understand and change their thinking patterns so they can react differently (and perhaps more appropriately) to the situations that trigger their anxiety.

It is important to check with your primary care physician if you are experiencing anxiety or panic attacks to be sure there is not a physical health condition that may be causing these symptoms. 

Page Last Modified: 02/22/2010
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