Marking the difference between anxiety and panic attacks could be confusing. Both of these mental conditions have several similar symptoms. But scientifically both of these are different mental conditions. There are some particular signs and symptoms to separate them. One of the most prominent differences is that a panic attack is always a sudden emotional outburst and does not last long. While the anxiety attack builds up with time. Health experts have observed it to be lasting for a longer period of time than a panic attack. With so many similar symptoms between these two conditions, it is also right that both of these will end up in While there are many similarities between these two common experiences — including that both will result in uncontrollable feelings and. To understand the similarities and differences between these conditions let's have a look at them in detail.
What is a panic attack?According to health experts, it's not uncommon for panic attacks to come on unexpectedly, sneak up on you, or take you completely by surprise. As seen in post-traumatic stress disorder, these reactions can occur out of the blue or be triggered by something subtler. (PTSD). Because they are so unexpected, many parents may believe something is wrong with their child and will contact or visit a doctor.
What is an anxiety attack?Anxiety attacks, which usually result from a buildup of anxiety or worry, tend to feel more predictable. It's called "anticipatory anxiety" when this happens. When your child has an anxiety attack, you may have a better idea of how much stress led up to it.
How to differentiate between the symptoms of anxiety and panic attack
Signs of an anxiety attackAnxiety, in contrast to panic attacks, are not diagnosable conditions, so their symptoms are defined less strictly by groups like the American Psychiatric Association.
Physical signsIt is also possible for anxiety to have a negative impact on one's physical well-being. A person's physical well-being can be affected by:
- Sweating excessively or feeling icy cold
- Insomnia or a feeling of unease
- A state of nervous excitement
- Feeling overly energetic
- An abdominal feeling of unease
- A sped-up heartbeat
Mental and emotional signsSymptoms of an emotional panic attack can vary from person to person, but here are some of the more common ones:
- Constant and extreme fretting
- frustrated and restless
- Lack of focus and attention
- Fear that something bad will happen
- Irritability and/or a bad mood
Signs of panic attacksA panic attack can strike at any time. Within 10 minutes of onset, symptoms tend to be at their worst.
Physical signsThese may include:
- Chest pain.
- Rapid heartbeat.
- Hyperventilation and other breathing difficulties.
- Shaking or trembling.
- Numbness or tingling in the extremities.
Mental and emotional signsPotential emotions include:
- Extremely frightful.
- A feeling of being suffocated or choked.
- Anxiety about being helpless.
- You feel like death is coming.
- Disconnection from reality (derealization) or depersonalization (feeling detached from yourself).
CausesThe presence of triggers is yet another distinction between anxiety attacks and panic attacks. Anxiety attacks typically have environmental causes. If you have a phobia of enclosed spaces, for instance, being stuck in a car wash or elevator could trigger an anxiety attack. What sets off an anxiety attack for one person may not set off the same alarm bells for another. In most cases, pinpointing a specific cause of a panic attack is impossible. According to the best doctors, they begin unexpectedly complicated attempts to determine their origin.
Risk factors for anxiety attacks vs. panic attacks
- Past experiences of trauma, either as a child or an adult,
- Experiencing difficulties in life, such as separation, death, or lack of resources
- A nervous personality
- Experiencing mental health issues like depression
- A history of anxiety or panic attacks in the family
- Dependence on or abuse of alcohol or other drugs
What should I do if I have a panic or anxiety attack?Some possible solutions are listed below.
- Recognize the situation, and retreat to a peaceful spot.
- Take some deep breaths
- Experiment with PMR (progressive muscle relaxation) or GI (visualization and guided imagery) to calm down.
- Make an effort to be present.
- Stress and anxiety may be eased through regular exercise, a balanced diet, and a minimum of eight hours of sleep per night.