Anxiety Attack vs. Panic Attack

Last updated on July 7th, 2022 at 08:39 pm

Anxiety and Panic Attack

Conversations about Mental health are still taboo in many places in the world. The effect of a mental health disorder on the victim can be devastating, and it must be spoken about for better awareness. Every mental health issue is perceived as the person becoming mad, which is a false notion that has spread worldwide. Mental health disorders result from awful experiences in a person’s life in the form of violence or abuse. It is important to know about Anxiety and Panic Attack.

Any mental health disturbance is not a result of a single bad experience; it is the continued internal trauma to your mind that bursts out after a period of saturation. One form of mental health disturbance is frequent panic attacks and anxiety attacks.

Anxiety and Panic attacks may have common symptoms, but there is a significant difference between the two, and here we will understand each of them well.

What is Panic Attack?

A panic attack is a sudden outburst of intense fear and discomfort which produces a feeling of fear and fright in an individual.

A panic attack presents all the physical signs and symptoms of fright and fear.

Etiology

The exact cause of the panic attack is unknown. It is a multifactorial phenomenon that involves the inclusion of,

  • Environmental Factors.
  • Genetics.
  • Excessive Stress.
  • High Temperament with negative emotions.
  • Changes in brain function.

Symptoms Of Panic Attack

The symptoms of a Panic Attack include,

  • Impending Fear.
  • Fear of loss of control.
  • Breathlessness.
  • Palpitations.
  • Nausea.
  • Chills.
  • Excessive Sweating.
  • Flashing Visions.
  • Chest Pain.
  • Headache.
  • Hyperventilation.
  • Abdominal Cramps.
  • Shivering.
  • Dizziness.
  • Numbness.
  • Suicidal Tendencies.

Treatment of Panic Attack

The treatment includes medications, psychotherapy, and self-care.

Medications that can be usually preferred for panic attacks are Anxiolytics and Antidepressants.

Anxiolytics like Clonazepam, Lorazepam, and Etizolam are given to minimize the recurrence of panic symptoms which can eventually eliminate the occurrence of a panic attack.

Antidepressants are given to prevent the occurrence of panic attacks in the future. The antidepressants used are Sertraline, Escitalopram, Amitriptyline, and Fluoxetine.

Psychotherapy is another line of treatment for patients suffering from frequent panic attacks. Psychotherapy is conducted by a therapist who understands and guides the patient out of their mental trauma by using various strategies and relaxation techniques.

Another way of curing panic attacks is indulging in self-care. Self-care is the most neglected form of mental therapy, which has greater benefits in the long run. Self-care includes indulging in physical exercise, a healthy diet, indulging in activities that a person enjoys the most, a positive mindset, good sleep, meditation, Yoga, and eliminating stimulants like alcohol, caffeine, and smoking from the daily routine.

What is Anxiety Attack?

An Anxiety attack is the result of the anticipation of a stressful situation. The attack is purely led by the fear of an unknown event, experience, or situation which may or may not happen.

Normal anxiety levels are useful in some life situations to be aware and alert. Normal anxiety levels increase due to negative incidents in one’s life; these incidents act as the triggering factors for frequent anxiety attacks.

The frequent anxiety attacks turn into a mental health issue, and its effects dominate your personal and professional life. These attacks make a person weak mentally and emotionally, which eventually affects a person’s physical health.

Types of Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders can be categorized into various types, some of which are:

  1. Phobia– It is the condition where a person has excessive fear about a person, situation, or object
  2. OCD- It means Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. It is characterized by repetitive actions which are unstoppable.
  3. Panic Disorder- It refers to occasional panic attacks at irrelevant times. The person also lives in fear of another panic attack.
  4. Separation Anxiety Disorder- It is the fear of separation from loved ones.
  5. Hypochondriac- It is the condition in which a person is constantly anxious about his health.
  6. PTSD refers to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. It occurs after a traumatic event.

Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety

The common signs of an anxiety attack are:

  • Rapid Heart rate.
  • Fast Breathing.
  • Restlessness.
  • Lack of Concentration.
  • Insomnia.

The common symptoms of anxiety attacks are:

  • Shortness of Breath.
  • Dry Mouth.
  • Sweating.
  • Fear.
  • Dizzy Feeling.
  • Chills or Hot Flashes.
  • Numbness and Tingling of the hands and feet.
  • Lightheadedness.
  • Nausea.
  • Chest Pain.
  • Trembling and tremors.
  • Irritability.
  • Intense panic and fear.
  • Palpitations.

Treatment of Anxiety

The treatment of Anxiety can be done in 2 ways – Psychotherapy, Medications, and Self-care.

Medications

The medications include Anti-anxiety drugs. Benzodiazepines are the choice of drug for anxiety attacks.

Another line of drugs given are Antidepressants which include SNRIs (Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors) and SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors), which are the choice of drugs for anxiety attacks.

Hence, to treat the physical symptoms of an anxiety attack, beta-blockers are prescribed; they are Atenolol, Metoprolol, etc.

Psychotherapy

Therapy for anxiety attack patients can be approached in 2 ways- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Exposure Therapy.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) involves teaching the patient to become aware of their distorted thoughts and behaviors and help convert them into emotionally adaptive ways.

Exposure Therapy is a virtual reality approach where the patient is subjected to frightening stimuli gradually. The gradual exposure helps them learn the adaptive techniques and adjust to the stimuli. This way, they become mentally strong.

Self-care

Among all the treatment options, the most underrated one is Self-care, but it has the best effect if practiced well. Self-care helps change the mindset of a person from negative to positive. It makes you feel good and lively. Some of the self-care management techniques are,

  • Always try indulging in some form of physical activity.
  • Incorporate the habit of eating a balanced diet.
  • Staying connected with friends and family as social life can help induce positivity.
  • Journaling can help acknowledge a person’s thoughts and take help at the earliest stage of mental health issues.
  • Schedule a special time for self-care and relaxation.
  • Practicing Gratitude can make you feel good about life.
  • Planning for spiritual retreats once in a while will help you relax.
  • Meditation and Yoga can help you relax and come out of your mental trauma with ease.

The treatment of anxiety attacks is usually done with a holistic approach to finding better results.

Read About – Difference Between Anxiety, Depression, And Stress

Anxiety Attack vs. Panic Attack

As we have seen above that the symptoms of both anxiety and panic attacks are very similar, but they have striking differences between them, and they are,

  • A situation or object cues anxiety attacks, but Panic attack always happens suddenly without the trace of any cue.
  • Anxiety attacks can range between mild, moderate, and severe, but Panic Attacks are always severe in frequency.
  • In Anxiety attacks, the physical symptoms take the lead, but in Panic attacks, the autonomous system’s response takes over.
  • An anxiety attack is usually a result of gradual build-up, but a Panic attack is abrupt and sudden.

Conclusion

People who suffer from anxiety and panic attacks go through much mental trauma. Mental trauma can be anything like violence, abuse, or negative experiences.

The trauma they experience is not just limited to a single day; the continuous occurrence of such horrible incidents brings their mental health to a toss.

This world is extremely insensitive to put names on people suffering from mental health issues. This sarcasm or jokes on them by society have made them resort to harmful actions like suicide. Just think before you comment on a person about them being mad or psycho.

It’s time to say ‘No’ to such insensitivity and help people with mental health issues live their life. If anyone in your family, friends, neighbors, or colleagues is suffering mentally, make it your duty to offer them help. In this way, you are saving the most precious thing on the Earth, Life.

Read – 7 Surprising Natural Ways To Improve Your Memory