The Key Signs of Anxiety, Stress and Panic

August 24, 2010 Kate White

Knowing the signs of anxiety, stress and panic attacks is crucial to anxiety management. Do you know what happens before and during anxiety attacks? Read this.

It's all well and good to talk about anxiety awareness, but first, you need to know what to look for: What are the signs of anxiety, stress, and panic? Your body signals you to oncoming panic and anxiety in a variety of ways, and if you know what to look for, physically and psychologically, then you can figure out the best anxiety treatment for you.

Many Ignore Warning Signs of Anxiety, Stress, and Panic

The reactions and sensations associated with anxiety can significantly interfere with a person's life, but a lot of people write them off. Warning signs of chronic stress or acute panic are often ignored because people may not realize that the signals their mind-body gives them form a pattern: A pattern of anxiety for which there's help (Eight Anxiety Management Tips).

You can only effectively manage anxiety if you're able to articulate what triggers your stress and panic. That's easier said than done. Many people, even those who experience anxiety attacks, aren't aware of the wide range of ways anxiety can present itself, nor of how best to handle the situation when it does arise. And if you don't know how to combat anxiety and stress, that can lead to a vicious cycle of uncertainty and worry that perpetuates panic and instills fear.

Signs of Anxiety and Stress

Knowing the signs of anxiety, stress and panic attacks is crucial to anxiety management. Do you know what happens before and during anxiety attacks? Read this.If you answer yes to one or more of the following questions then you may well be suffering from stress or anxiety:

• Are you deeply uncomfortable in enclosed or crowded spaces e.g. the supermarket, cars, or the elevator?
• Do you get very tense or uneasy in situations that would not have bothered you much in the past?
• Have you struggled with intrusive thoughts, images or impulses that won't seem to go away or stop?
• Do you fear driving over bridges, being stuck in traffic or at red lights?
• Have you felt irritable, restless or agitated most of the time, for a substantial period of time?
• Do you experience intense, apparently inexplicable fears of people, places or things?
• Do you feel the need to repeat certain behaviors and don't really know why?
• Are you afraid of losing control?
• Do you spend a lot of the time wishing the world seemed safer, or avoiding activities because you are uncertain?

10 Early Warning Signs of Panic Attacks

Knowing the early warning signs of a panic attack can help you avoid it or get to a place that feels safer for you. Here are ten early warning symptoms of a panic attack:

  • Overwhelming fear you may be losing control, even going crazy
  • A racing heart with tingling sensations
  • Obsessive worries or unwanted, intense thoughts
  • Dizziness or nausea leading to panic
  • Chills, hot flushes or the sweats followed by waves of anxiety
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Unexplained weakness or numbness in parts of your body
  • Tightness in the throat or chest and shortness of breath
  • Feelings of disconnection from what is going on in your body and/or environment
  • The sense that anxiety may push you beyond what you can take

If you've had a few of these anxiety symptoms at some point, no matter how long ago, then you were probably having an anxiety attack (take this panic attack test). Panic attacks often become a source of fear and worry. You may even begin to obsess over them and experience anticipatory anxiety if you aren't recognizing and dealing with all your symptoms.

Remember that anxiety can present itself in many ways depending on the individual and their circumstances. So the more you know about what stress looks like for you, the more effectively you can target and treat anxiety.

Train image from George Grie

APA Reference
White, K. (2010, August 24). The Key Signs of Anxiety, Stress and Panic, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 17 from

Author: Kate White

Char Brooks
August, 25 2010 at 7:43 am

i have a friend who is absolutely unwilling to figure out what his triggers are for his panic attacks. i find it so sad that he allows his life to be run by panic antacks and anticipating them - such that his denial is actually the biggest issue in his life. there is no getting through to someone who doesn't want to face the reasons they are anxious - i just send my prayers to him that he finds his way because he doesn't want my help.
thank you for this enlightening article - you helped me put this situation in perspective.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kate White
August, 26 2010 at 2:34 pm

Hi Char,
Glad it could help. Sounds like a tough thing to go through with your friend.

Tammy G.
August, 27 2010 at 6:17 am

I, too, have anxiety attacks. My clue is the feeling of confusion. Then, I do the slow-breathing exercises (yoga) to calm myself down. That usually relaxes me enough so that I can focus better and understand what set off this anxiety in the first place. Its a coping skill I've learned along the way.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kate White
August, 27 2010 at 4:01 pm

Hi Tammy,
Yeah. That's a very good point. Confusion and sometimes a bit more general spaciness hit for me.
Love yoga. Good one! :)

Hipolito M. Wiseman
November, 15 2010 at 5:08 pm

I too deal with OCD, panic attacks and anxiety attacks.

Sarah W
March, 31 2011 at 12:21 pm

I had so many panic atttacks since the age of 20. I can't count how many I seem to live through. I can't remember most of it. Everytime I have one I lose part me. I know never come back as the same person. A stranger or some of my family members I can't explain my reasons for the problems in relationships. Sometimes feels like I'am the problem for any guy. I can't be certain the man would understand I might never completely change to something he needs in life. A woman isn't broken or feels the pain in anything sexaully.
A panick attack happens if I'am intensely thinking about a problem. An image from the past is stuck in my mind. I hear voice of someone is stuck in a different place talking to me. I know this sounds cazy. Why would I hear voices in my mind? When would I see the girl screaming, she can't be free? I stop calling myself "I" Knowing I had to remember anything in my relationships would cause pain. The pain is buried beneath the hopes someone would see her again.
I don't like to be in crowded places. I look at other people. The thought I'am not there anymore. I can't have any stable relationships at the age of 24 year-old. I never know when a panick attack will strike again in my life. This is a life no one should have to live in. I guess I learn how to push everything away.
Is there any support groups in Monroe?

Dr Musli Ferati
March, 14 2015 at 9:15 pm

To be honest, therapeutic contact with patient, who suffer from panic attack exhibits tremulous experience for me as clinical psychiatrist. In inevitable manner the terrible signs of panic attack intrudes to my body giving rise a disturbing emotional and somatic state. The explication of this therapeutic induction is complex psycho-social issue, but common sense tell me that panic attack as tremendous anxious disorder indicates serious and shuddering emotional strangulation, with dangerous implication on somatic, personal, occupational and social welfare. In consequence, psychiatric treatment of this morbid entity try to find professional attendance. Beside instant and innocent psychiatric management of patient who has got panic attack it ought to use many psycho-social activities, which ones improve current psychiatric prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of this urgent psychiatric illness. Otherwise, we would face with many serious and stressful outcomes of panic attack, which ones profoundly compromise global life functioning of respective patient and its social milieu.

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