The difference between anxiety attacks and panic attacks is revealed in their symptoms. While one can certainly lead to the other, having anxiety by no means is a sign of a panic attack. There are, however, telltale precedents that can indicate a panic attack is coming.
Knowing the difference between panic attacks and anxiety attacks can do more than put your mind at ease. It can help you combat and neutralize panic attack episodes before they occur while helping you manage anxiety levels.
The details below clearly outline the difference between panic and anxiety. After observing two types of attacks, you’ll be readily equipped to combat the correct condition head-on. Here is everything you need to know about the difference between anxiety attacks and panic attacks.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a common emotion that affects almost 20% of individuals 18 and older. Anxiety is specifically identified as intense thoughts or emotions of excessive fear. Anxiety can trickle down into other serious health defects even without episodes. If left unchecked or untreated, anxiety can cause uncontrollable episodes defined by your emotional state.
What Happens During An Anxiety Attack?
Anxiety attacks can leave the sufferer feeling helpless and unable to control their emotions. Anxiety attacks are almost always a result of a stressful trigger that instigates the episode. The worst part is people who experience anxiety attacks may not even realize precursors. The only thing they’re aware of is the overwhelming inability to control the situation.
Equipping yourself with the knowledge below will help you identify the warning signs of an anxiety attack. Identifying the warning signs in turn help you take the necessary actions to prevent or suppress them.
What Are the Symptoms of An Anxiety Attack?
Knowing the precedent of an anxiety attack can help you manage the buildup to better prevent n attack. If you experience any of the symptoms to be named, be mindful of your circumstance and situation. The right therapist can teach you to manage these symptoms or progress of these symptoms with relative ease.
Though often overlooked, stomach discomfort can be a sign of anxiety. Experiencing mental distress takes a toll n your body, including your digestive processes. If you feel queasy or have any sign of discomfort, it’s best to speak to a doctor to accurately assess the underlying cause.
Any abnormal heart “fluttering” or skipped beats is a sure indication that your anxiety levels have reached a peak. This is especially concerning because excessive heart palpitations can lead to heart defects up to and including cardiac arrest. Treatment from a loving therapist can equip you with the tools to overcome the prospect of an attack. Through medically-trained methods or prescriptions, you can manage your symptoms and condition.
Uncharacteristic irritability indicates elevated anxiety levels and can be a precedent to an anxiety attack. Managing your anger can in turn help you suppress and manage anxiety attacks from occurring. Anger management courses can prove to be the most therapeutic method for managing anxiety attacks.
An overload of anxiety or fear can induce uncomfortable headaches. These headaches can even be the gateway to acquiring other symptoms on this list up to and including a panic attack itself. Prescriptions and/or medically-aided anxiety training can reduce or even eliminate migraines and other stress-related symptoms.
Uncontrollable shakes can be a difficult and scary byproduct of anxiety. It can also induce an anxiety attack. If your tremors are stress-related, don’t delay in seeking medical attention. If they’re not, it’s important to see a doctor determine the cause of your shakes.
What Are Panic Attacks?
Panic attacks bring upon an immediate strong onset of excessive fear and physical impulses. This overwhelming physical manifestation of dread often comes without warning as it is often mild, non-threatening circumstances that can trigger panic attacks. Knowing the immediate symptoms of a panic attack and understanding the bodily reactions can help you learn how to counteract it by medically-trained methods.
What Are the Symptoms of a Panic Attack
You’ll see similarities with panic and anxiety attacks, but with a very slight twist that makes them very unique. It is vital if you notice any of these indicators that you separate yourself from the situation and get into a circumstance that you feel comfortable in.
When a panic attack is about to occur, it’s common to feel an uncontrollable elevation in heart rate. With these symptoms comes the potential for heart damage if your body is persistently exposed to such episodes. You can turn the tide on these uncomfortable, health-threatening conditions by reaching out today.
Difficulty breathing is a sure sign of a panic attack. This can be a dangerous symptom if left to yourself or not possessing the medically-trained tools to reverse the circumstance. Difficulty breathing can even escalate the degree of your panic attack in turn.
Losing your mental equilibrium is one of the most common symptoms of a panic attack. If you’re having an unexplained dizzy spell, find a place to sit down and try to regain your focus. The more you panic, the worse your attack will be. Try to acknowledge the situation and remind yourself that there is no imminent danger.
What is the Difference Between Anxiety Attacks and Panic Attacks?
Though there are many similarities between the two, the difference between anxiety attacks and panic attacks is very specific. They do share many of the same symptoms, however, anxiety attacks are a direct result of a stress-inducing event or circumstance while panic attacks can occur out of the blue, without reason.
Many people may use the terms “anxiety” and “panic” attacks as interchangeable terms as if they are synonymous. That couldn’t be farther from the truth for the reasons mentioned. You can often see an anxiety attack coming. A panic attack, however, is much harder to catch before the incident. That’s why it’s important to contrast the difference between panic and anxiety.
That’s where having the right doctor and therapy program for you comes into play. One of the most common reasons people struggle with their conditions is because they are treating the wrong stress-related condition. Understanding the difference between anxiety attacks and panic attacks will alter your approach to successfully combat these separate conditions.
How to Deal With Anxiety Attacks and Panic Attacks
Since the difference between anxiety attacks and panic attacks is slight, many of the same natural remedies have cross-condition efficacy. Few things are in your control when confronted with a sudden attack of anxiety or panic. Utilizing these simple foundational principles could make all the difference in the world to managing your symptoms.
Accepting the situation means acknowledging you are having a panic attack. As simple as it may sound, most people don’t acknowledge what’s happening to them, as symptoms of various conditions, especially anxiety and panic attacks can be so similar to each other. Not knowing, can cause a person to excessively worry, exacerbating the panic attack or anxiety attack. Accepting the situation then helps you deal with the situation at hand with greater clarity of thought. Not acknowledging what’s happening allows the situation to control you rather than controlling the situation.
One of the greatest ways to naturally relax your body is the application of slow breathing exercises. Especially in the case of hyperventilation, focusing on your breathing, specifically counting 3 or 4 seconds between breaths, will help you regain your breathing regularity. Many times, this exercise alone can reverse panic and/or anxiety attacks.
Because panic and anxiety attacks attack your muscles and central nervous system, your body needs to feel relaxed. That’s why oftentimes the best home remedy is a simple soak in a warm bath to relax those muscles and nerves affected by such attacks. A soak in the tub could be exactly what the doctor ordered to suppress or prevent an episode from occurring.
Therapy Options for Anxiety Attacks and Panic Attacks
Medically prescribed OTC drugs can help stabilize your episodes almost immediately. Some more severe forms of anxiety and panic-related conditions may require prescription medications prescribed by your medical professional to help cope with your conditions short-term and long-term. Everyone and their needs are different, so treatment methods will vary.
A therapist can train you how to deal with panic and anxiety-related struggles, including teaching you what to do amid an episode. Being equipped with a knowledgeable physician makes all the difference in the world before, during, and after an episode.
For those experiencing panic attacks and anxiety attacks, group therapy is often implemented into a person’s treatment plan. This type of therapy gives people a place to go with like-minded people, giving them a sense of belonging and community. Having individuals to talk to who are going through similar situations helps look at things from a different perspective and can help recovery feel more comfortable and possible.
Addiction and mental illness don’t just affect one person, it also affects the family. Panic attacks and anxiety attacks can hinder communication, relationships, and family dynamics. Therefore, family therapy is often implemented into a person’s treatment plan to help families improve communication, and relationships, and create a unit surrounding the issues at hand. This will allow the person experiencing these conditions to feel supported and more motivated during recovery.
Alternative Support Groups
There are various therapies, alternative support groups, and recovery meetings available for people suffering the effects of anxiety and panic attacks. Know you are not alone in your struggles.
Personal Prevention Tools
The right therapists equip you with numerous tips and methods to help you stay a step ahead of an oncoming attack. By doing so, you can significantly diminish occurrences and even reverse them when having an episode. Helping you help yourself is the greatest tool you can have to have control over your attacks.
Take Control Today
Feeling helpless when experiencing stress or panic-related conditions can be the most lonely place to be. Thanks, to LUNA Recovery Services in Texas, you don’t have to. Knowing the difference between panic attacks and anxiety attacks can help you or a loved one learn to take control of your symptoms and conditions. Today, it starts with reaching out to our professional team of physicians to get a correct diagnosis of your stress-related condition.
The difference between anxiety attacks and panic attacks can be so minuscule, that you may be treating the wrong condition. Our rehab facility has all the individualized attention and expert physicians to guide you in the right direction.
The first step of taking control of your symptoms. At LUNA Recovery, we strive to find the right treatment regimen for those suffering from paralyzing anxiety attacks and panic attacks. Access to help is available and you’re not alone! Start your journey to an improved life, contact us today!
Dr. Allaire received his Bachelors of Science in Biology from the University of Houston, as Valedictorian of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and his Medical Doctorate from Baylor College of Medicine, where he served as Chief Resident. He is the medical monitor for the Physician Counseling Committee of the Harris County Medical Society and the Medical Director of Serenity House Detox. Dr. Allaire specializes in medically assisted detox cases, treating patients in recovery from addiction or other mental health disorders, the medical assessment and monitoring of patients with addictive disorders, medical care related to eating disorders and the medical treatment of patients with mental health conditions.