This Is How to Tell the Difference Between Anxiety Attacks vs Panic Attacks

Anxiety disorders are a very serious issue. Anxiety disorders are the top reason people miss work days! Many people have heard of or even had a panic attack at some point in their life.

It might not even seem like a big deal. However, this is not the case. The difference between anxiety attacks vs panic attacks are much more broad.

The line between the two can be difficult for those that have personal experience with the two. In this guide, we will highlight the symptoms and how to generally treat the two.

What Are the Causes and Triggers

The causes of anxiety attacks and panic attacks are often complex. Panic attacks are commonly associated with underlying medical conditions, while anxiety attacks are more often triggered by mental health issues. These could be stress, depression, and traumatic events.

In some cases, anxiety and panic can be triggered by specific behaviors or habits, such as smoking or drinking alcohol. Certain medications and drugs can also be triggers of anxiety and panic attacks. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional to investigate the causes and develop an effective treatment plan.

Anxiety attacks and panic attacks are both triggered by an increase in stress. Panic attacks are triggered by an unexpected event that causes fear or apprehension. These could be a sudden loud noise or an intensely stressful situation. Anxiety attacks, on the other hand, are generally longer in duration and are triggered by more prolonged stress.

Common triggers are work pressures, difficult relationships, school or social anxiety, or a traumatic event in the past. People with extreme anxiety might experience a combination of both panic and anxiety attacks. This can be difficult to identify to those unfamiliar with it. 

Panic attacks usually involve a fear of something specific. Fear can be a trigger for both types of attack, which is why it is important to recognize early signs of anxiety or panic and take action to ensure the safety of the individual.

What Are the Symptoms of Anxiety Attacks 

When it comes to panic attacks vs anxiety attacks, the line can be a bit blurry. The most important thing to know is that anxiety attacks and panic attacks both involve a period of intense fear or distress, however, their causes are very different. Here are some of the symptoms of anxiety attacks.

Mental Symptoms

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness

Physical Symptoms

  • Disturbed sleep
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased startle response
  • Muscle tension
  • sweating
  • trembling
  • rapid breathing

Knowing the signs of an anxiety attack can be helpful. This will give you enough time to address it before it gets worst. Make sure to call a professional for more info on treatment.

What Are the Symptoms of Panic Attacks 

The difference between anxiety and panic attacks is not always easy to identify. The effects of a panic attack can be frightening and overwhelming to the point of feeling like you might die.

Therefore, it is important to be aware of the symptoms of panic attacks to better address and resolve the issue. Here are those symptoms. 

Mental Symptoms

  • Feelings of unreality (derealization)
  • Feeling detached from oneself (depersonalization)
  • Fear of losing control or going crazy
  • Fear of dying

Physical Symptoms

  • Chest pain
  • Chills
  • Excessive sweating
  • Feeling of choking
  • Feeling dizzy or unsteady
  • Feeling lightheaded or faint
  • Heart palpitations or pounding heart
  • Accelerated heart rate
  • Hot flashes
  • Nausea or abdominal distress
  • Numbness or tingling sensations (paresthesia)
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Sensations of shortness of breath

If you know someone who experiences these signs of a panic attack, it’s best to help them by calming them down. You can give them water and medication to address it immediately. 

What Are the Clinical Differences

When discussing the difference between anxiety attacks and panic attacks, the key clinical difference lies in the level of intensity and duration of the attacks. Anxiety attacks tend to have a gradual onset and last for up to several minutes. They are typically characterized by physical symptoms.

Panic attacks, on the other hand, are more intense and tend to have a sudden onset, last for a few minutes up to an hour, and are accompanied by a variety of symptoms. Although anxiety attacks can lead to panic attacks, they are still distinct entities in terms of intensity, duration, and associated physical symptoms.

Additionally, panic attacks are often triggered by an external stimulus. Whereas anxiety attacks are triggered by fear of the unknown or things considered dangerous.

What Are Treatments for Panic Attacks

The most common treatment for panic attacks is cognitive behavioral therapy. It focuses on changing the thinking and behavior that leads to panic attacks. It is also one of the sough out ways to overcome panic attacks.

Another treatment includes medications like antidepressants and antianxiety medications. Relaxation techniques such as meditation and deep breathing can also be helpful. The most effective way to address panic attacks is through lifestyle changes.

This change involves getting enough sleep, reducing caffeine intake, and exercising regularly. Whatever treatment option is chosen, it’s important to talk to a mental health professional. They can help find the approach that works best for managing panic attacks.

What Are Treatments for Anxiety Attacks

Treatment of anxiety attacks consists of identifying and addressing the underlying cause. It also includes using deep breathing, muscle relaxation, and visualizing techniques. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is also effective in addressing anxious thoughts. 

It can also teach coping skills. In addition, exercise and healthy lifestyle habits can be incredibly helpful. These should include getting enough sleep and having a healthy diet.

It is also important for them to get support from friends and family. Having the right support can provide them confidence in treating this condition. This is because most of the triggers for this condition are social, and having support can help fight it.

If the symptoms of an anxiety attack persist, seeking professional help is recommended. This is so treatment can be tailored to the individual’s needs.

Know the Difference Between Anxiety Attacks Vs Panic Attacks

Anxiety and panic attacks can be difficult to differentiate. It is important to consult a mental health professional if you are experiencing anxiety or panic attack symptoms.

By understanding the differences between anxiety attacks vs panic attacks, you can find the best treatments and learn how to cope with these often overwhelming feelings. Take the first steps to managing your mental health today.

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