So are these anxiety attacks or what?

That’s what I call them when I talk to my psychiatrist, but I haven’t really talked to other people with anxiety attacks so I’m not totally sure if that’s what’s going on. Frequently, for no apparent reason at all, I’ll go all trembly, start sweating, get a nervous stomach that starts flip flopping around, and I’ll have this overall sense of major unease. It seems to have no trigger in reality. It’s like stagefright but without the stage. Anyone here relate?

If physical causes have been ruled out by a doctor then yes, it sounds very much like anxiety/panic disorder. If it is a panic attack it should last about 10 minutes then slowly fade in intensity over the next 20-30 minutes, leaving you with a sense of unease and perhaps some depersonalization and derealization (a sense that things are not quite right, like seeing the world through a window, or watching a play).

Could be a blood sugar issue. Had that tested lately?

That’s what mine always feel like. Sometimes I can pinpoint a trigger for them, other times they come on for absolutely no reason, during a perfectly typical day. They definitely feel like you’re describing.

We’re putting questions about medical and psychological conditions in IMHO these days, so let me move this thither for you.

twickster, MPSIMS moderator

Oh thanks, twickster. I didn’t know.

No prob – it’s a relatively recent policy. All medical, psychological, financial, legal, etc. advice goes in IMHO, where readers should remember that the advice may or may not be any damn good. :wink:

That is what panic attacks feel like. I have had them and it made life unbearable at some points. Don’t let people tell you “it is all in your head” or anything like that. They are a physiological reaction and can be measured through blood pressure, heart rate, and other readings just like any physical symptom can. General stress and anxiety is obviously contributing factor but physical factors can come into play as well. Certain medications can cause them as well as irregular blood sugar and lots of other things. Substance abuse and addiction can cause them or make them worse.

Panic attacks are reasonably common should be dealt with just like any other medical or psychological condition. Vigorous exercise a few times a week helps a lot of people. If there are no other underlying medical issues and the panic attacks have a common theme in certain thought patterns, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has a good clinical track record for helping deal with those. Panic attacks often feed back on themselves so you become fearful of having an attack or making one worse which is counterproductive. If you learn what is happening when they start, you can interrupt the cycle.

Interesting info, Shagnasty, thanks. So far I haven’t been able to tell what brings them about. They make me feel just terrible, though, and my brain starts frantically trying to pin them to a cause, which causes more anxiety.

There is a site where you can download a free resource to work through panic attacks:

The big one they’re pushing now is working on the panic sensations, as they are usually the strongest triggers for panic attacks, Chapter 7 in the panic disorder manual.


It’s anxiety but it may or may not be an anxiety attack or panic attack.

It’s possible to have generalized anxiety without every having attacks. I’ve had bad panic attacks, so bad, you wouldn’t believe how bad mine were. Believe me panic attacks can last hours on end.

The thing is anxiety has a reason and if it’s misplaced then you have a problem. Often the two will be mixed, as mine is now.

I’ve been out of work for a long time and only have temp jobs. Every month it’s a day by day struggle to meet the rent. Of course that would make anyone nervous, so the anxiety and panic brought on, is not classed as a panic attack although symptomatically it is. Why? Because a decent job, would relieve the pressure.

An actual panic or anxiety attack disorder is rooted in avoidance behavior where you start to avoid situations where the anxiety comes on.

As you age heart problems (angina, hypertension etc), lung problems, brittle bones and diet can trigger symptoms that look like anxiety or cause stresses that bring on the anxiety.

The first step is to get a complete physical to rule out anything that may be physical. The older you are the more likely you may have an actual symptom trigger it.

Thanks for the link Otara. Markxxx, mine usually last from 30 minutes to an hour or so, feeling crappy the whole time, and this overwhelming sense of impending doom.

Persistent Panic states (ones that don’t end within 30-45 minutes and do not respond to the usual meds) are serious and not the ‘usual’ panic attack. I had one that lasted 3 days. If anyone is in that state my unprofessional but personal advice is get thee to an ER.

There are many medical conditions that have symptoms that mimic anxiety or panic disorders, ranging from thyroid to heart problems, and everything in between. In fact, you can google “medical conditions that mimic anxiety” to see a list of them. IMO, it would be better to see a doctor to rule out such things than to just assume it’s anxiety or panic attacks, wouldn’t it?

I could not agree more. I started my original response with “If physical causes have been ruled out by a doctor”

Provided you have a clean bill of health, yes, they sound like the panic attacks I have. They come more frequently when I’m too stressed, not stressed enough, or drink too much coffee.

My doctor told me to try doing more sports. It gets me sweaty and my heart races, and it sorta…iunno, “assures” me that I’m doing alright? A good spinning class or squash game is quite therapeutic.

But here I go rambling on. I’ve only had one or two super serious “OMGZ AMMA DIE” type anxiety attack, where I hyperventilated so much that i lost feeling in my hands. I’ve been told the trick with those is to take a deep breath, and hold it in four or five seconds before exhaling.

I’ve been going through a “good” period with my anxiety lately. Good luck keeping the demons at bay!

Yes, a stress test and a physical is a good idea. Beyond that, anxiety tends to go hand in hand with hypochondria, so googling “conditions which mimic anxiety” might be a bad call in and of itself. But it is always good to discuss with your doctor. :slight_smile:

Psychiatrists are doctors (MDs). Any psychiatrist worth paying would do a work up to rule out “organic” causes of the anxiety.

Unfortunately, there are quite a few that aren’t. That’s why I recommend psychologists, as they are used to spending more time with their patients, and are trained in proper testing. And they tend to have a hesitancy towards recommending psychiatric intervention, so are more likely to remember to try everything else.

I’ve known (well, had) psychiatrists who have had one patient respond very well to one medication and thus give it to everyone with similar sounding symptoms. And the evaluation is made in less than 15 minutes.

And all of my out of the blue panic attacks are usually caused by medication. Are you still on that benzo?

In what country? In the US I’ve never been given psychological testing for anything by anyone, and I’ve been inpatient and take several meds and have been in therapy for five years. My Psychiatrist actually told me he just gives me meds based on what I tell him is going on and has no interest in talking to my therapist or running any tests. He did recommend a psychologist for testing, but the psychologist said the only tests they run are for brain injury or learning disabilities.

Basically, I say I’m anxious and they give me meds. They might as well be drug dealers.