Anxiety is a universal human feeling, which we all experience from time to time. Most people experience some anxiety in a challenging situation, such as an important test or job interview. Anxiety becomes a problem requiring professional help when it intensifies and spreads beyond normal limits.
Anxiety may take the form of panic attacks, creating frightening symptoms that can become incapacitating if not controlled. Symptoms may include overwhelming feelings of fear, shortness of breath, light-headedness, and sweating and heart palpitations. If you are having panic attacks you might think that you are going to faint or have a heart attack.
These symptoms may limit your ability to do certain things, to go certain places and to lead a normal life. Sometimes anxiety takes the form of a specific fear, which is called a phobia. Common phobias include fears of flying, fears of driving on freeways, fears of enclosed places and fears of crowds. A fear of being away from your home is called agoraphobia. Panic attacks sometimes occur when a person anticipates confronting a feared situation.