How to Tell the Difference between a Panic Attack and an Anxiety Attack
There are many different types of anxiety disorders and panic attacks, including social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and more. These conditions all vary in the severity of symptoms and the length of time they last. One of the most important things to understand when experiencing anxiety or panic attacks is how to tell the difference between them and when it’s time to get help from your doctor or therapist. This guide will explain how to tell the difference between a panic attack and an anxiety attack and how you can use this information to effectively manage your symptoms and live your life free from anxiety attacks and panic attacks.
What is a panic attack?
A panic attack is defined as a sudden, usually unexpected bout of intense fear or anxiety, often with physical symptoms such as chest pain. This event can come without warning and may result in the person feeling like they are losing control of their emotions or going crazy. People who experience these events for prolonged periods of time may be diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). A panic attack may also be referred to as acute stress response. It’s characterized by shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, sweating, shaking and hyperventilation. It’s important to note that panic attacks are not considered life-threatening medical emergencies but can lead to serious health consequences if left untreated.
The good news is that panic attacks typically do not last long so there’s no need to worry about emergency rooms visits or trips back-and-forth from the hospital. There are some differences between a panic attack and an anxiety attack which should help you determine what type of help you might need. For example, it may be more difficult to speak when experiencing a panic attack than when having an anxiety attack. An individual experiencing a panic attack will feel out of control while someone experiencing an anxiety attack might feel embarrassed or ashamed.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is something that plagues people every day, especially in America. It can manifest itself in many different ways, but it generally involves feeling as though one has no control over a situation. Some of the more common forms of anxiety are generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic attacks, social anxiety, and generalized depression. If you have experienced any of these before, then you will know how terrifying they can be. When someone has a panic attack or anxiety attack, they feel like they cannot breathe or their heart is racing at a million miles per hour.
What should I do if I am having an anxiety attack?: The first thing you should do if you think you might be having an anxiety attack is take deep breaths and talk yourself down from the ledge. Taking your own pulse can also help regulate your breathing and give you an idea of whether or not you need medical attention. A difference between a panic attack and an anxiety attack is that with a panic attack there is usually some kind of trigger, while with anxiety there is often no clear cause for the worry.
The difference between them
There are many causes of panic attacks, including PTSD, addiction, medications, narcolepsy, postpartum depression, hyperventilation syndrome and more. They can also be caused by sudden stress or body trauma.
Anxiety attacks can have their root in the same factors as panic attacks but there are also other possibilities that should be ruled out first such as heart problems. Additionally, it’s important not to ignore anxiety attacks because they may actually indicate something much worse like congestive heart failure.
Even if your doctor thinks you’re dealing with just general anxiety, you need to continue seeking treatment because untreated panic attacks can worsen into chronic issues. The two disorders are similar but they’re both different enough that they need to be treated on their own.
Long term effects of each
A panic attack is characterized by sudden and intense feelings of terror that reach beyond what would be considered normal. Symptoms may include chest pain, dizziness, breathlessness, nausea, cold sweats, tingling in extremities, numbness or feeling unreal, fear of dying or going crazy. Anxiety attacks often share some symptoms with panic attacks but without the sudden onset; instead they are usually abrupt but come on gradually over time.
Ways to cope with each
Panic attacks often come with physical symptoms that can make you feel even more anxious. Take note of what physical symptoms you experience so you can better understand how your body reacts when having a panic attack. These physical symptoms may include: nausea, chest pain, and shortness of breath, trembling or shaking, intense stomach aches, drowsiness or feeling dizzy or faint.
A panic attack is a sudden burst of intense fear and discomfort, which reaches its peak within 10 minutes. An anxiety attack can cause similar feelings as a panic attack, but lasts more than 10 minutes. The difference between these two attacks is that anxiety attacks are usually caused by something specific that worries you. For example, if you’re going on a date and have social anxiety disorder, then your date may trigger your anxiety. But when it comes to panic attacks, they’re not typically triggered by anything in particular. They just happen sometimes for no reason at all!