While anxiety is a necessity for people to some extent, heightened anxious systems cause physical damage and impact life choices, making it important that they do not go untreated. The problem is, is that symptoms associated with anxiety attacks can be subtle , making them difficult to recognize and causing them to go untreated for years.
The existence and physical responses of the extreme panic attack are well known, TV and movies have shown us quite accurately what a panic attack can look like. Difficulty breathing, pain in the chest, dizziness, and fear of death, are all symptoms of a panic attack. However what's a bit misleading from the typical portrait is that most of the time these symptoms do not manifest themselves in the extreme form. The person bent over, needing to sit down, unable to leave the house are a form of an anxiety attack. However, anxiety attacks can contain more subtle signs, like being light headed, having shallow breath, spacing out, disconnecting from the physical sensations in the body, or imagining that something bad could happen. All of these things are also the result of too much anxiety, or a system overload.
A continuous experience of the more false symptoms is not good, research shows anxiety slowly hormones our system, they are linked to heart disease and physical injury such as shoulder and neck pain. But they also guide our behaviors, causing us to eat less or more, increasing our alcohol or drug use, or causing us to isolate and shy away from relationships.
The other falseness about anxiety attacks is that something concrete must happen before an attack. So in this case A happened so of course B (the attack) happened. But this is not how it works, usually. Often times there is no clue as to what triggers these heel attack, so we do not recognize that we are having one. The absence of a trigger combined with minor symptoms makes it hard to identify something is happening.
But recognizing the physical symptoms and seeking professional help is powerful, and can be life changing. While change is not always easy it is not impossible. So iI encourage you to pay attention to your body's minority clues and if you are managing a lot of stress to reach out for support. Seeing a professional can help you by recognizing the minority anxiety attack. Recognizing attacks can give you the sense of control needed to stop them and live more now in the moment.