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Difference between panic attack and anxiety attack

Difference between panic attack and anxiety attack

March 08 | By Rachael

It is natural for the body to respond to a sudden onset of high emotion. As a response, one may experience sweating, trembling or even feelings of nausea. Some might term this episode as a panic attack while others may call it an anxiety attack. Even though they might appear similar, and their names used interchangeably; in reality, anxiety and panic attacks are manifestations of two different mental disorders.

An anxiety attack is usually short-lived and is often a reaction to an external factor or stressor. Even though its duration is not very long, it causes fright, apprehension and an increased heart rate, till the situation is back under control.

Panic attacks, on the other hand, are unprovoked and random, causing the person to be seized by a sense of terror, fear or apprehension. The sensation could be so severe that the person suffering a panic attack might feel that he or she is having a heart attack, with symptoms like chest pain, dizziness, shortness of breath and nausea. In cases of expected panic attacks, external stressors, such as phobias, are at play. Anyone can have a panic attack but having more than one may be an indication of a panic disorder.

Conditions that differentiate the two

While a panic attack is associated with the atomic nervous system, designed to detect the onset of danger, an anxiety attack has more to do with planning and anticipation. Even though it is difficult to differentiate between the two, it has often been wondered whether the two can occur simultaneously. The answer is – yes! To cite an example, a person could be anxious about attending a function. Once in that state, he or she could also experience a panic attack if he or she feels psychologically threatened in some way.

Anxiety and panic are an integral part of an individual’s life and humans are somewhat hardwired to endure mild feelings of anxiety or panic on a regular basis. But when these mild feelings take on a more severe form, they may develop into anxiety or panic disorders. This is mainly because humans have a sensitive nervous system that may not be able to take a lot of stress.

Which is more common?

To understand how best to differentiate between panic and anxiety, one has to observe the intensity of the symptoms and for how long the main symptoms occur. This goes a long way in enabling and guiding a health provider in making the correct diagnosis.

A larger number of people deal with an anxiety attack compared to panic attacks. The main reason behind this is that probably anxiety is largely linked with the emotional side of people. Being aware of this mental illness and knowing how the different types of anxiety disorders could affect an individual’s life, can be helpful in managing the symptoms, be it by making lifestyle adjustments or seeking professional help.

Dealing with anxiety disorders

Anxiety disorders can be developed because of a combination of any rick factors including brain chemistry, personality traits, life events or genetics. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), 18.1 percent of the adult U.S. population suffers from anxiety disorders every year. Moreover, anxiety disorders are treatable, still 36.9 percent of those suffering from this disorder receive treatment.

Though meditation can help ease stress, it’s always advisable to seek professional treatment if a person is suffering from severe anxiety or panic. If you know someone who is struggling with an anxiety disorder and seeking expert help, the Anxiety Treatment Help can assist. Call at our 24/7 Texas anxiety treatment helpline number (866) 487-5015 or chat online with one of our experts for information on anxiety disorder treatment centers offering evidence-based treatment programs for anxiety disorders.

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