What Is the Difference Between a Panic Attack & an Anxiety Attack?

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Anxiety can be the root cause of a panic attack, so determining the difference between an anxiety attack and panic attack is all about understanding what your body is doing. Many use the terms interchangeably, which has caused confusion.

Panic Attack Thoughts

  • Thoughts associated with having a panic attack can be extreme, and can include thinking about something for so long it makes you anxious, thinking bad thoughts and constantly worrying about life. Once these stressors are in place, the panic attack will happen at any given moment.

Panic Attack Physical Symptoms

  • Panic attack sufferers often feel as if they are going to die. They shake, tremble and have shortness of breath. Their heart starts to race as they are overcome with fear. These symptoms can result in a panic attack that can last several minutes to a few days.

Panic Attack Treatments

  • Low-dose antidepressants are used to treat panic attacks. Giving sufferers a regular or high dose could cause more attacks. Sufferers also need to undergo cognitive behavioral therapy.

Anxiety Attack Feelings

  • Feelings associated with having an anxiety attack come on suddenly. The thoughts and feelings tend to be things like chronic worry, tension and feelings of terror. These thoughts are stressors and once they go away, so does the anxiety.

Anxiety Attack Symptoms

  • Anxiety attack sufferers can feel like they are having a stroke, with a racing heart, fast-paced breathing and tightness in the chest. Sometimes sufferers feel as if they cannot breathe and feel fearful. The anxiety attack itself can take about ten minutes to develop and will last a matter of minutes to a few hours.

Anxiety Attack Treatments

  • Antidepressants are used for those suffering from anxiety attacks. Those with more severe cases are treated with a higher dose. It is also recommended that the sufferer obtain relaxation training.

References

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