IS THERE A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN ANXIETY ATTACK V/S A PANIC ATTACK?

In the era of “too much to do, too much to worry,” you may see it impacts human behavior/body in so many different ways. People constantly feel anxious and feeble and are not aware of the fact that they may be having one of the two conditions, Anxiety or Panic attacks.

People interchangeably use these two conditions without knowing anything about them. These conditions are not much different but definitely not the same.

Anxiety Attack

Anxiety is a mere response to the crisis. It can not be termed as a critical condition but is extremely stressful. However, Anxiety is one of the prime reasons for disruptive behavior disorders.

Anxiety attacks are acute episodes of fear, also may have a particular cause behind them, such as workplace concerns, health issues, or even relationship problems. Anxiety attacks are not diagnosable as it is not a clinical term.

Panic Attack

A Panic Attack is a severe episode of fear/concern that triggers physical responses. They are not life-threatening but rather frightening. It may seem like having a heart attack or a stroke. Panic attacks do not have a particular cause behind them. It may have some symptoms but rarely occur before the attack. Panic attacks are diagnosable and could be due to panic disorders.

SYMPTOMS

The symptoms have emotional as well as physical aspects to them as it just does not affect the mind but the body too.

Anxiety attack

Anxiety Attack | Health Script
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Anxiety attack gradually surfaces with initial warning symptoms unlike, panic attacks.

Emotional Aspects –

  • Constant Fear
  • Distress
  • Uneasiness

Physical Aspects –

  • Heart trembling
  • Chest ache
  • Breathlessness
  • Dry mouth
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Dizziness

Panic attack

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Panic attacks may come with warning symptoms but mostly come unexpectedly. The following symptoms are for the anticipated attack:

Emotional Aspects –

  • Fear of life
  • Detachment
  • Fear

Physical Aspects –

  • Choking
  • Numbness
  • Intense sweating
  • Headaches
  • Heartache
  • Abdominal pain
  • Shivers

ANXIETY ATTACK V/S A PANIC ATTACK

Anxiety attacks are anticipated due to stress or pressure. On the other side, Panic attacks can not be anticipated and may occur unexpectedly.

Visible panic attack physical symptoms are usually more intense than anxiety attacks. Even at times, panic attacks are caused due to excessive anxiety.

Nonetheless, anxiety can develop, but panic attacks come abruptly. The body automatically responds to it a panic attack.

Normal routine chores or workload can make you anxious and might give you a mild anxiety attack or can be severe at times. However, Panic attacks often have severe symptoms. Panic attacks leave you all worried concerning another attack that may actually induce an attack.

Anxiety attacks usually occur slowly, leaving a person all anxious whereas, panic attacks can occur even when a person feels calm.

CAUSES

The causes of both the conditions are quite the same whereas panic attacks can be unexpected:

  • Chronic stress – Stress makes the body release huge levels of stress compounds (adrenaline).
  • Chronic hyperventilation – It disturbs the balance of breathing and makes a person more anxious.
  • Change of environment – When the body is not habitual of a kind of environment, it may lead to a panicking situation.
  • Excessive physical exercise – People experience anxiety after having an excessive workout session, which further leads to these acute conditions.
  • Chronic caffeine intake – Caffeine may make your palms sweaty, heart shivers and can induce sensations that lead to a severe panic attack. Caffeine can be found in coffee, tea, and most drinks.

Further, some more causes for the same –

  • Driving
  • Phobias
  • Alcohol withdrawal
  • Long term Illness

HOME REMEDIES

Exercise: Some may experience anxiety and panic attacks as a consequence of exercise, others may feel the exact opposite and believe that exercise can control anxious behavior.

Exercise liberates endorphins that soothe the mind and relaxes the body.

It improves hormone regulation, breathing and promotes better sleep.

Well, consider it but within the purpose.

Breathing: Studies have found that Hyperventilation is a leading cause of anxiety and panic attacks. Hyperventilation is a condition in which your body could not balance between breathing in oxygen and breathing out carbon dioxide.

Try breathing efficiently and see how breathing influences your anxiety and panic attacks. Slow Breathing may help calm your mind and body.

Socialize: Find your people and groups. Explore a lot, spend time with supportive people. You may receive support, which would eventually help you calm your mind preventing anxiety.

The Bottom Line

Panic attacks and anxiety attacks are two different health conditions. They have quite similar symptoms and causes but impact the body differently.

In addition, panic attacks are much more serious with severe bodily symptoms than anxiety with mild to moderate symptoms mostly.

Also, One should always see a doctor if the episodes are occurring more than once a week and are severe in routine.

Sources –

https://www.healthline.com/health/caffeine-and-anxiety

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/307863

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/panic-attack

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