Panic attacks and anxiety attacks are sometimes referred to as the same thing by people. But they are two completely different situations. There are key differences between the two, even though they share many symptoms. The intensity and duration of each attack type vary. Panic and anxiety attack both send your nervous system into overdrive, putting you in a state of fight-or-flight mode which results in both physical and emotional symptoms. The distinction between them is in the methodology used to launch the attack.
Panic attacks strike without warning and are accompanied by feelings of terrible fear. A racing heartbeat, shortness of breath, or nausea are among the scary physical symptoms that go along with them.
Worrying about something in the future and anticipating a poor consequence is what causes anxiety. Muscle tension and an overall feeling of unease are frequently associated with it. In addition, it normally develops over some time.
Panic and anxiety attacks signs and symptoms
Comparing the symptoms of anxiety and panic attacks helps to emphasize the differences between the two conditions:
Symptoms of a panic attack
Panic attacks strike without warning and for no apparent reason.
The following are signs and symptoms:
- A throbbing or rapid heartbeat
- A tightening in the middle of the chest
- Nausea tingling or numbness in the external body parts
- Anxiety sweating heart palpitations
- having the sensation of being suffocated or smothered while sweating
Panic attacks can also lead to:
- feeling like I’m spinning out of control
- Are under the feeling that there is a big problem with them
- suddenly fear for one’s life
- feel aloof from their environment and themselves, a condition is known as depersonalization.
Panic attacks usually peak after 10 minutes and then fade away. However, a series of panic attacks might occur, giving the impression that the attack is much longer than it is. Many people experience odd feelings the rest of the day after an attack strikes.
Symptoms of an anxiety attack
Anxiety symptoms, on the other hand, appear gradually, whereas panic episodes strike out of nowhere. Over minutes or hours, symptoms may worsen. Panic attacks are more severe, but anxiety attacks are milder.
Symptoms of an anxiety attack include:
- being frightened easily
- dizziness and heart palpitations
- discomfort in the throat fear of irritation dry mouth
- concentration problems muscular discomfort tingling or numbness in the limbs
- restlessness accompanied by an elevated heart rate
- exhaustion, loss of breath, and insomnia
- being suffocated or distressed by worry and anxiety in a smothering manner
Anxiety symptoms often make you suffer longer than panic attack symptoms. Days, weeks, or even months are not uncommon for them to last.
Panic attacks that happen out of the blue have no obvious external causes. Anxiety attacks and panic might be triggered by the same things that cause regular panic attacks. The following are some examples of things that might set you off:
- An extremely stressful job
- Within the context of social interactions
- Phobias like agoraphobia (fear of crowded or open environments), claustrophobia (fear of tiny spaces), and acrophobia (fear of heights)
- Trauma-related reminders or memories
- Chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, or asthma are examples of this.
- Can cause a heart attack if not treated on time.
- A period of not using drugs or drinking alcohol
- The uses of medications and dietary supplements
- Issues with the thyroid gland
Factors that increase your risk
Panic attacks and anxiety attacks have many of the same risk factors. These are a few examples:
- Traumatizing incidents as a youngster or as an adult, or witnessing traumatic occurrences
- Facing a traumatic life event, such as a loved one’s death or divorce
- Tension and worry at work, conflict in the home, or ongoing money problems
- Having a life-threatening or chronic health condition like heart problems, thyroid disorder, diabetes
- Having an anxious nature
- Suffering from a different type of mental illness, like depression
- Suffering from anxiety or panic disorders along with a close family member
- Consuming illicit drugs or excessive amounts of liquor
Anxious people are more likely to suffer from panic attacks. Having anxiety, on the other hand, does not guarantee that you will have a panic attack.
Panic attacks and panic disorder, if left untreated, can influence nearly every aspect of your life. You may be so fearful of having additional panic attacks that you live in continual terror, impairing your quality of life.
Complications associated with panic attacks include the following:
- You can develop specific phobias, like fear of driving or leaving one’s home.
- Medical attention regularly for health issues and other medical problems
- Trying to avoid social situations
- Work or school-related issues
- Depression, anxiety disorders, and a variety of other mental conditions
- Suicidal thoughts or increased chance of suicide
- Intoxication with alcohol or other drugs
- Financial difficulties
For some persons, panic disorder may entail agoraphobia (avoiding locations or situations that trigger anxiety) out of fear of being unable to flee or seek assistance if they experience a panic attack. Alternatively, you may develop a dependency on others to accompany you when you leave your home.
Anxiety is one of the most prevalent mental health disorders, impacting an estimated 19.1% of adult Americans each year. Only approximately 20% of people with anxiety symptoms seek care, even though it can have a devastating impact on one’s life.
Effective therapies are available that can significantly improve health and well-being, which is why it is critical to speak with your doctor if you are experiencing panic or anxiety attacks. Since women are twice as likely as males to develop anxiety symptoms, the Women’s Preventative Services Initiative recommends that all women over 13 years undergo anxiety screening.
A physician or mental health professional can diagnose a panic disorder, panic attacks, anxiety attacks, or an anxiety disorder.
They make diagnoses using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition as a guide (DSM-5).
These specialists are unable to diagnose an anxiety attack because the DSM-5 does not include it as a clinically defined condition. They are, nonetheless, capable of recognizing anxiety’s signs.
A doctor will review symptoms and life events with you to identify any of these diseases. Furthermore, They may also do a psychological assessment to determine if the symptoms fit into a specific category. It may be essential to rule out physiological states that present similarly to the current situation.
To achieve this, a doctor may conduct the following procedures:
- evaluation of the body
- testing of the blood
- cardiac examinations, such as an ECG
To learn more about anxiety and panic attacks, talk to your doctor or mental health professional. When an attack strikes, establish a treatment plan and stick to it if you want to feel in control.
If you start to feel anxious or get panicked, try these things:
- Breathe slowly and deeply. Concentrate on each inhalation and exhalation as your breathing becomes more rapid. As you inhale, feel the oxygen fill your stomach. As you exhale, begin counting down from four. Continue until your breathing becomes more relaxed.
- Realize and accept what’s going on for you and move on from it. Having had an anxiety or panic attack, you know how terrifying it can be. Just keep telling yourself that the symptoms will pass, and you’ll be OK when they do.
- Be conscious of your thoughts and actions. Anxiety and panic disorders are increasingly being treated with yoga meditation-based therapies. The practice of meditation or yoga can help you focus your attention on things. Actively monitoring your thoughts and sensations without reacting to them is one way to learn mindfulness.
- Make use of relaxing methods. Guided visualization, aromatherapy, and muscular relaxation are all effective relaxation methods. Anxiety or a panic attack might be relieved by engaging in activities that you find relaxing. Relax by closing your eyes, taking a bath, or smelling lavender.
Changes in lifestyle
Take precautions by changing your lifestyle and avoid anxiety and panic attacks. Try to lessen the severity of your symptoms if you do experience one by utilizing below given lifestyle changes:
- Stress can be reduced and managed if you eliminate or minimize its occurrence in your life.
- Acquire the ability to recognize and put a halt to your negative thoughts.
- Engage in regular, low-intensity physical activity.
- To relax your body and mind practice yoga or meditation.
- A healthy diet plan to assist you in maintaining a healthy weight.
- Participate in a support group for those who are dealing with anxiety or panic attacks.
- Reduce your alcohol, drug, and caffeine intake.
Additional treatments are also available.
If you suffer from anxiety or panic attacks, talk to your doctor about different therapy options. However, severe anxiety or panic attacks may lead to a heart attack. You can get online heart medication with the doctor’s prescription.
Psychotherapy and medicine are two popular forms of treatment, including:
- Antianxiety medications
Your doctor may recommend several different therapies in addition to each other. But, your treatment strategy may need to change as time goes on.