Difference between Anxiety and Panic Attacks

Difference between Anxiety and Panic attacks

Difference between anxiety and panic attacks

‘Anxiety attack’ and ‘Panic attack’ are two terms that people are extremely familiar with in today’s stressful world. The difference between anxiety and  panic attacks are  two terms that have been used interchangeably to intend the same meaning, clinically they are considered two separate conditions, having distinct markers and requiring different types of treatment. While ‘panic attacks’ is a term used to describe short, intense episodes of panic and anxiety, ‘anxiety disorder’ is a term with a much broader meaning, referring to various different types of anxiety and panic disorders.

Panic Attacks:

Panic attacks are usually triggered by a traumatic event or some major life experience that disturbs the mental equilibrium of the individual. Emotional exhaustion and depression are two of the biggest contributing factors to panic and most people suffer from both anxiety as well as depression at the same time. It is very rare to find someone who is not emotionally exhausted or depressed, but who has an anxiety disorder, and vice a verser.They are generally short in duration as compared with anxiety attacks, however their onset is much quicker, and they usually develop to their full intensity in about ten minutes.

General Panic Attack Symptoms:

The symptoms experienced are far more harsh in intensity as compared with those related to anxiety disorders, and they usually include four or more of the following:
“Heart palpitations and pounding of the heart”  “Shortness of breath and a feeling of being choked” “Sweating,Shaking and trembling” “Chest pains” “Nausea” “Dizziness” and the “Feeling of being detached from reality.”

Anxiety Attacks:

Anxiety attacks is a term to describe the underlying feature which is the core marker for several illnesses such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Phobias, Panic Disorders, and Social Phobias. The onset of the symptoms of Anxiety attacks are much slower than those of panic attacks, however they last a much longer duration, sometimes even weeks or months
Anxiety disorders are characterized by persistent stress and worry, and some of the symptoms of these disorders include:
“Increased heat rate” “Restlessness” “Irritability” “Dizziness” “Shortness of breath”

There are several ways to tackle and deal with panic attacks and anxiety attacks. Although most doctors and patients alike prefer to use holistic forms of treatment, sometimes drugs and other medications may also be used in a combination with holistic methods in the case of extreme or rare patients, depending upon their requirement.

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Now that we have identified the Difference between Anxiety and Panic Attacks,


Here are  5  effective ways to deal with Anxiety and Panic Attacks


TIP #1 – Relaxation

It is an extremely important for individuals suffering from panic attacks and anxiety to learn to relax their mind. Many panic attacks and anxiety disorders stem from persistent worry and repeated thoughts of being doomed or hopeless. Learning to control these thoughts and relax the body as well as the mind is very crucial in dealing with these issues. Massage, yoga, and meditation are some of the methods of treatment that can be used to help relax the patient as well as release ‘serotonin’, which is a natural feel good hormone secreted in the body, hence reducing stress and the chances of another attack.

TIP #2 – Exercise

It cannot be stressed enough how important exercise is for those people suffering from any type of anxiety or stress. Exercise helps to reduce stress hormones while simultaneously increasing the ‘happy hormones’ in the body. The combination of these two helps to drastically reduce stress, and with it the chances of another panic or anxiety attack. Exercise also helps release pent up frustration and depression, which is another huge trigger for anxiety and panic disorders.

TIP #3 – Understanding Triggers 

Understanding what the triggers are for panic attacks in a person is another effective way of not only dealing with the actual attack, but also preventing it. If an individual is able to determine what triggers his attacks, he can either deal with or avoid those situations and triggers, thus helping the underlying problem of the attacks. Also, understanding that a panic attack is the body’s reaction to a ‘perceived’ threat, not an actual one, is an extremely helpful step in learning to control one’s panic episodes.

TIP #4 – Invoking the rational mind

Panic attacks and anxiety disorders are basically the body’s ‘fight or flight’ reaction to a perceived threat. However, the mind sometimes loses it’s ability to distinguish between life threatening situations and the built up stress of daily life. Thus, panic attacks are essentially an over-reaction of the subconscious mind. Observing the attack as a third person gets the rational mind working, which overcomes the thoughts of the subconscious mind and it’s emotional responses. Once an individual develops control over his own mind, he can then easily control the attacks, making them less traumatic and sometimes even cutting them off before they start.

TIP #5 – Eliminating dietary triggers 

Food intake that causes increase in heart rate and energy such as caffeine, sugary food, and some types of preservatives, can help increase the chances of a panic attack. When the heart rate increases, the mind begins to believe that the individual is having a heart attack, thus creating even more panic and escalating the entire episode. Consuming calming supplements for coffee and sweets such as chamomile tea or lemon balms can be extremely helpful in reducing and dealing with panic and anxiety disorders.