Anxiety attacks vary in severity and duration. Some may only last a few minutes, while others can go on for hours. The following are some of the factors that affect how long anxiety attacks last:
1) Anxiety Disorder
Many different types of anxiety disorders can cause anxiety attacks to occur. Depending on which disorder is present, an average attack can range from 5-20 minutes or longer.
Anxiety attacks of long duration are more commonly associated with panic disorder, PTSD, and agoraphobia.
2) Severity of the Attack
The severity of an anxiety attack can determine how long it lasts. If symptoms are not severe, then the attack could only last for a few minutes. If the anxiety attack is more severe, it could last for an hour or two.
3) Personal Factors
Some people are just more susceptible to anxiety than others and may be prone to anxiety attacks that last longer than normal. Also, certain personal factors can affect how long an anxiety attack lasts. For instance, if you have asthma or diabetes, you may experience a more severe anxiety attack.
If the person is in an unfamiliar situation, they feel trapped in some way, or they are experiencing a trigger from their past, they could be more likely to have a longer anxiety attack.
Many of these factors can vary from individual to individual and cannot be generalized.
The medications that a person takes can affect how long an anxiety attack lasts, as well as its intensity and frequency. In addition to medication used for treatment of anxiety disorders, other medications such as those for high blood pressure and heart disease can also cause problems with anxiety attacks.
Medications that can prolong or worsen an anxiety attack include blood pressure medications, certain antidepressants, corticosteroid medications, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories.
In some cases, anxiety attacks can last longer as a result of the person being ill. This is especially true if the illness causing the symptoms is somehow related to the anxiety disorder itself. For example, an anxiety attack may come on as a result of someone recovering from surgery, having a fever or other illness that causes pain, or experiencing trigger symptoms that are related to their phobia.
There are many different possible conditions that could affect how long an anxiety attack lasts. This includes things like food allergies and sensitivities, heart disease, and digestive problems.
6) Other Factors
For many people, there are other factors that may affect how long an anxiety attack lasts. These include:
· Alcohol or drug use
· Being tired/sleep deprivation
· Weather changes or strong winds
· Menstrual cycle or hormonal fluctuations
· Travel and jet lag
These factors can affect how long an anxiety attack is likely to last, but cannot be generalized. Some people may experience a longer than average anxiety attack due to one of these factors while another person may not. Many of these factors are beyond the sufferer’s control, but should be considered if the attack is not showing any signs of stopping.
Some forms of treatment for anxiety disorder may affect how long an attack lasts. For people who respond well to certain medications or treatments, their attacks can last anywhere from 30 minutes to 6 hours or more.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and exposure therapy may also prolong the duration of an anxiety attack. These types of treatment require a large amount of time, but can be very beneficial for reducing anxiety attacks as well as the anxiety disorder itself.
Although not everyone responds to these forms of treatment in the same way, some people report that their anxiety attacks last longer as a result.
8) Duration of Anxiety Attack
Though there are many factors that can affect how long an anxiety attack lasts, the duration of each one tends to be similar for most sufferers. On average, an anxiety attack usually lasts anywhere from 5-20 minutes. Some people may experience shorter anxiety attacks, while others may have longer attacks.
The average anxiety attack tends to last around 10-20 minutes, but some may continue for hours. Since the greatest majority of sufferers experience anxiety attacks that last less than one hour, it is not necessary to seek immediate medical attention unless they are lasting more than this length of time.