How to Determine If I Have Anxiety Attacks


The most effective method to determine if you have anxiety attacks is to talk to a licensed mental health professional. Many different types of disorders may cause symptoms of an anxiety attack, according to the Mayo Clinic, so proper diagnosis is an important part of treatment.


Consider the frequency and duration of your anxiety. For many people suffering from an anxiety disorder, the excessive feelings of unease, worry or fear about day-to-day problems and situations affect them most days of the week for a period of at least six months, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.


Take into account your ability to control your feelings of anxiety. With almost any type of anxiety disorder, you'll have a difficult time controlling your feelings, emotions or reactions to situations and events that cause your worries, anxieties or fears. It's often hard for you to shake it, even if the feeling is irrational.


Think about how your anxiety affects your everyday life. Most people living with an anxiety disorder, according to the Mayo Clinic, find that the feelings of worry, anxiety or fear are so intense or excessive that it interferes with how they live their daily life. It may become debilitating.


Look at how you react to "anxiety-producing" situations or events. It's possible for an anxiety disorder to cause you to ultimately avoid "anxiety-producing" situations and thereby avoid the feelings of anxiety.


Keep in mind other symptoms that occur in conjunction with your feelings of anxiety. It's common to experience a number of other symptoms simultaneously with anxiousness, nervousness or fear, such as muscle tension, shortness of breath, sweating, rapid heartbeat, irritability, restlessness, insomnia and fatigue.

Tips and Warnings

  • Health disorders that may cause symptoms of an anxiety attack include generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, phobias, depression, alcohol abuse, drug abuse and post-traumatic stress syndrome (to name a few).
  • Anxiety itself is quite common. Certain situations or events can make many people feel some level of apprehension, nervousness or even fear, but it doesn't necessarily mean you're suffering from an anxiety disorder. The true difference between standard anxiety and an actual anxiety attack is how it affects your everyday life.