What Causes Anxiety Attacks: Anxiety Causes and Symptoms

There's a lot of mystery surrounding panic and anxiety. So many people suffer and so few of them understand what lies beneath their conditions.

So what causes anxiety attacks?

The answer to that question will be slightly different for everyone. It's a bit like asking "What causes stress?" One person's stress is another person's passion. So what causes anxiety attacks in you may not be what causes anxiety attacks in me.

But there's a way to answer this question that can be very helpful if you have an anxiety disorder.

The key is to focus on those things that seemingly affect everyone with anxiety. If we can isolate the handful of causes that are common to everyone who suffers with anxiety and panic, then we have a great chance of being able to avoid these things and prevent future attacks.

What can you do to stop constant anxiety and fear? Is it possible to stop panic attacks without medication?

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So here's a handful of things that we should all be avoiding, since they can all cause problems with anxiety.

1. Lack of quality sleep

It's so important to get at least 7 or 8 hours of sleep each night. For your body, your mind, and your anxiety. And not just any 7 or 8 hours, but 7 or 8 hours of quality, restful sleep.

2. Anger

Yes, you read that right: anger. Anger is one of the most damaging things our bodies are ever exposed to. It causes an almost unlimited number of negative emotions, and can ruin your health and worsen any existing anxiety.

3. Stress

Stress, like anger, is a silent menace in our bodies. It ruin our sleep, it ruins our diets because our stomachs are full of acid, it ruins any hope of clear thinking. And it causes severe problems with anything panic-related.

If you can avoid these 3 things, you'll be in much better shape in all areas of life.

When someone asks me what causes anxiety attacks, there are so many unknowns that I can't tell them. But these 3 things are true for everyone. Cut them out at every opportunity you get.

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Anxiety attacks are absolutely terrifying, but the good news is that they are generally harmless. The intensity of their symptoms peaks after around 10 minutes and the symptoms don't usually last more than 30 minutes. Here, you'll learn about 5 natural anxiety attack treatments you can do at home, or, where appropriate, the workplace.

First though, let's look at why so many people are now turning to natural treatment for anxiety attacks...

Things such as antidepressants, beta-blockers and Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) are generally prescribed to help relieve the psychological and / or physical symptoms of anxiety and anxiety attacks. And for most people they can work given time. But, they can have some very severe side effects, including dependency issues.

The other problem is that they can't address the underlying anxiety issues, so that when you come off them there is no guarantee that your anxiety won't return. This is why more and more sufferers are turning to natural anxiety attack treatments.

Now let's look at 5 of these natural treatments...


Meditation can relieve stress and anxiety by expelling negative energy from your body, relaxing tense muscles and calming your mind. It helps to reduce the fear and apprehension of having other anxiety attacks, which is a key element in the continuing cycle of anxiety attacks. You'll need to get expert help on meditation techniques and to practise them over a period of time in order to get the full benefits of this treatment. But the result will be well worth the effort.


This is a super technique to help control your thought processes by channeling your negative thoughts into more positive ones. Self-hypnosis is recommended by psychiatrists as a valuable technique in the treatment of anxiety attacks and other anxiety disorders. Once again, you'll need to get help in how to use the technique, and, you'll get better at it as you practise more.

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This can be used during an anxiety attack to help reduce the severity of the symptoms and the length of time they persist. Proper controlled breathing helps to re-balance your carbon dioxide / oxygen ratio, slowdown your heartbeat, and, calm your tense muscles and your mind. Plus, the very act of concentrating your mind on proper controlled breathing, diverts your attention away from your anxiety attack symptoms, so helping to shorten the attack.


These are used in the treatment of the psychological side of anxiety. One of the most popular is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). CBT helps you alter the way you think about anxiety and anxiety attacks and, in so doing, helps you transform negative thoughts into positive thoughts and actions. There are various techniques used to achieve this, such as role-playing, relaxation and exposure therapy. Your doctor may propose CBT along with medication.


As with many ailments and disorders, so in your treatment for anxiety, herbs can play an important part. The beauty is that they are natural and, for the vast majority of people, have no negative side effects as with drug-based medications. Typical of such herbs are chamomile, passion flower, lavender, and ginkgo biloba.

All of the above can give positive outcomes, but they generally just help you to 'manage' or 'cope' with your condition. The drugs just address the symptoms by altering the chemicals in your brain.

The key to a complete cure is to rid yourself of your subconscious (or conscious) 'fear' of having another anxiety attack. You need to do this because your fear is continually raising your already high anxiety levels to such an extent that it's your fear itself that can cause further anxiety attacks to occur. You're in a 'cycle of anxiety' that feeds on your fear. You need to break this cycle in order to prevent further attacks and cure your general anxiety.

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Individuals respond in unique ways to different anxiety relaxation techniques. So you have to try various techniques to find the one(s) that's right for you. As an anxiety sufferer, relaxation is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. Here, you'll discover a simple relaxation technique for anxiety that uses diaphragmatic (abdominal) breathing to restore the oxygen / carbon dioxide balance in your body.

Your objective as an anxiety sufferer is to lower your overall anxiety levels as much as possible. Planned regular relaxation episodes help to calm your mind and relax your body, leading to less anxiety. There are many everyday things that can help such as, long walks in the countryside or in the park, a long soak in the bath, or, listening to relaxing music, etc. Keep these up.

But there are also specific relaxation exercises that you can do. These are skills that have to be learned and practised, but once you have mastered them they can bring great relief from stress and anxiety. One such popular relaxation technique for anxiety is diaphragmatic breathing...

How you breath is important because your body needs the correct oxygen / carbon dioxide balance to function at it's best. Too much oxygen and too little carbon dioxide and you'll feel agitated and edgy. Too much carbon dioxide (a natural tranquilizer) and too little oxygen and you'll feel tired and sleepy.

Anxiety sufferers tend to breath rapidly using their upper chest. This causes overbreathing, which then leads to carbon dioxide depletion. In other words you end up with too much oxygen stored-up which then causes you to feel agitated, anxious and breathless. So you need to redress the oxygen / carbon dioxide balance.

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Diaphragmatic breathing by using your stomach muscles to breathe instead of just your upper chest will correct your breathing and provide the right oxygen / carbon dioxide balance that you need. Here is how to use this particular anxiety relaxation technique...

1 - Lie back flat (or sit up perfectly straight) with one hand on your upper chest and the other on your abdomen.

2 - Breathe out naturally and slowly, don't force it.

3 - Then let your body start to inhale naturally. Don't try to help things along, let the body do it itself.

4 - At the natural end of the inhalation, breathe out slowly, again don't force it.

5 - Repeat the cycle, each time allowing your breathing to become shallower and slower.

6 - Keep working at it. Your objective is to get your lower hand to rise first when you breathe in, i.e. diaphragmatic breathing.

Repeat this exercise daily until you have mastered it. It may take some time, but it'll be worth it. Remember, you're trying to 'unlearn' years of poor breathing technique, i.e. upper chest breathing. Over time you'll begin to feel the benefits. And this anxiety relaxation technique can be particularly powerful when combined with the 'ONE MOVE' technique outlined below, which is designed to eliminate your constant 'fear' of anxiety and anxiety attacks.

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I'm always timid when it comes to making suggestions, let alone writing an outline on how to cure panic attacks. The reason for this is simply because I'm not a doctor. In fact, I encourage anyone who is suffering from anxiety and panic visit a doctor. The medical profession has come a long way when it comes to dealing with panic attacks and associated illnesses.

However, on the other hand, I went through a long period when I suffered through frequent panic attacks and I swore at that time if I was ever freed from the grasp of their horror; I would do all I could to help others who were going through such a miserable period.

Bearing in mind hearing about my experiences doesn't take the place of medical attention, I hope reading what I have discovered in my life's experience will be helpful to you.

While desperately trying to find an escape hatch out of the deplorable maze of anxiety and panic I had found myself in, I turned to reading anything I could find about how the human nervous system works. In doing so, I found nervous reaction is controlled by body parts known as sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves. These nerves control the flow of adrenaline through the body.

Adrenaline, plainly and simply, is what makes us feel the way we do when we are having a panic attack. In other words, it is adrenaline flowing in our veins that brings us the scary feelings, such as mock heart attacks or strokes. It is also a simple fact that when these sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves are not pumping an abnormal amount of adrenaline, we are not nervous. Of course, if we are not nervous, we will not be experiencing panic.

So, what is it that triggers these nerves? Adrenaline secreting nerves start the adrenaline flow when we become afraid. The buzz term here is "fight or flight." We humans are constructed so our bodies become supercharged when we need to fight an enemy; like our ancestors would have to fight wild animals or other wild club carrying humans.

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The problem is adrenaline makes our hearts thump and our palms sweat. It can make us dizzy and affect our vision to the point we see stationary things appear to move. It can do other very frightening things to our five senses.

All this is fine if it helps us club our next meal to death. However, when we are stuck in a traffic jam, all it does is makes us feel like we are going insane. In reality, insanity is out of the question when it comes to anxiety. The problem we do have is when our nerves kick up, adrenaline manufactures strange feelings. These strange feelings are scary in themselves, and when we become afraid of them, more adrenaline gets injected into our bloodstreams and we become even more afraid!

Even at this point. we would still not be in a stage of panic yet, but when we try to fight these awful feelings we become further immersed in fear. This fear, of course, gets these adrenaline pumping nerves working even harder!

The end of a panic attack eventually comes when we give up. We get so tired, we can fight no more and then the adrenaline flow starts to lessen. I know this is a very difficult concept to grasp, but I started to overcome panic attack disorder when I learn to give up very early in the process.

You may need help, like a coach, or at least someone who has been through the panic attack disorder recovery process to help you can get the hang of giving up as a means to victory. However, in the world of anxiety and panic, giving up is the key to ridding them from your life forever. This true because it is the opposite of fighting adrenaline's scary feelings and this fighting is what is responsible for bringing ordinary anxiety up to the level of panic.

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