Difference between a panic attack and an anxiety attack
Anxiety vs panic attacks:
The terms anxiety attack and panic attack are often used interchangeably and while this is okay in some cases, it is not regarded as suitable in others. There are certain differences between an anxiety attack and a panic attack the differences of which will be discussed in this article that follows.
What is an anxiety attack?
Anxiety can be generally defined as a feeling of discomfort prior to doing something. It is situational and is often based on a previous experience of the individual which he or she has deemed as being unpleasant or dangerous. It is often manifested in the form of severe nervousness, the anticipation of a negative outcome of a situation. A person suffering from anxiety may avoid a situation which makes him or her feel uneasy to the point that it makes even simple activities in his or her day to day life rendered unachievable.
An anxiety attack occurs when a person is anxious about something regarding his or he life which may lead to the symptoms of muscle tension, palpitation, racing heart, feel short of breath and once the stressor disappears, the anxiety attack too may pass.
What is a panic attack?
A panic attack appears out of the blue, all of a sudden. It does not require a reaction or a stressor and is quite unpredictable and comes unprovoked. Once panic strikes, the individual is seized with terror, fear, or apprehension, perhaps fearing that he or she may die or lose control. The symptoms of a panic attack includes chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, nausea, numbness or tingling sensations, chills or hot flushes, trembling, etc. and it often comes with a fear that leads to avoiding certain places that the individual fears that he or she may have a panic attack again which results in anticipatory anxiety.
What is the difference between a panic attack and an anxiety attack?
An anxiety attack and a panic attack are very difficult to recognize because of their similarities of symptoms. An anxiety attack and a panic attack both display symptoms of dizziness, lightheadedness, shortness of breath, racing heart, etc and yet, the reasons and conditions under which they occur are very different.
An anxiety attack occurs as a result of one being anxious about a certain factor about his or her life. Once the stressor has been there for a considerable while and something happens which will in turn trigger a response, the anxiety attack occurs in an individual. And yet, a panic attack in contrast, comes unannounced. It is quite unpredictable and comes unprovoked as there is no visible stressor or a reaction that triggers the attack. A person under a panic attack may experience a feeling of unreality or being detached from oneself, fear of losing control or going crazy, choking and tingling sensations or nausea which one may not experience during an anxiety attack. Also, an anxiety attack often goes away once the stressor is gone and may last a very short time compared to a apanic attack. And yet, a panic attack may last more than a few hours and as there is no stressor present, there is no knowing when and how it will go away.