Much too often the term Anxiety Attack and Panic Attack is interchanged and is used to mean the same thing; however there are subtle differences based on the duration of the persistent symptoms. The symptoms and abstracts given below will help you to distinguish between the two –
Anxiety Attacks occur as a response to some kind of stressor and may stay for several days, depending on the presence of the stressor. An Anxiety attack develops with continuous pronounced worry and is lesser in intensity than a panic attack. Anxiety may continue for several days or even months unless the stressor or condition contributing to the anxiety is removed.
Symptoms of Anxiety can be all or at least four of the following:
- Insomnia or sleep disturbance
- Difficulty in concentrating
- Shortness of breath
- Startle response is heightened
- Restless behavior
- Muscle tightness
The symptoms of a Panic Attack start suddenly and are much more intense than an Anxiety Attack. The symptoms may peak within ten minutes and are short lived. However some panic attacks may continue for a longer period and occur one after the other in succession, to form a continuous chain of attacks showing a few or all of the symptoms below.
- Accelerated heart rate, palpitations or pounding of heart
- Shaking or trembling
- Nausea and/or upset stomach
- Tingling sensation or numbness in limbs
- Acute fear
- Smothering feeling or a shortness of breath
- A choking feeling
- Lightheadedness, dizziness
- Hot flushes all over
- Sweating profusely
- Feeling of being detached from one’s body
- Feeling of craziness engulfing
- Fear of dying
- Chest pain
The symptoms listed above may look similar to those that occur in Anxiety Attacks, but it should be remembered that the symptoms are more intense in a Panic attack.
The main thing to remember is that whether you are suffering from an Anxiety disorder or a Panic Attack, help is always at hand. With the advancement in medical science, conditions like anxiety and panic can be effectively treated. Treatment could amount to a counseling session with your counselor or medication in some cases. To be aware of your condition is necessary and also to talk about it to a professional and seek proper help within time.
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