Comparing Panic and Anxiety AttacksOn September 25, 2017 by Admin
You may be familiar with anxiety and panic attacks, but people often use them to mean the same thing. From a clinical perspective, anxiety and panic have different characteristics, so behavioral specialists use these terms for certain disorders and symptoms. Find out more about differences between these conditions and their meaning, especially if you have panic or anxiety attacks.
Basic Clinical Differences
Healthcare professionals who treat anxiety and panic issues always base a diagnosis on certain definitions from the book titled the DSM-5. It uses panic attacks to describe a number of characteristics linked to the condition called panic disorder, but they may happen in other psychiatric diseases. It’s worth mentioning that anxiety attacks aren’t defined in the DSM-5. The term anxiety is used to describe the main feature of some diseases identified under such headings as obsessive-compulsive, anxiety and stressor and trauma related disorders. Some of the main disorders under these headings include the following:
• Specific phobia;
• Panic disorder;
• Social anxiety disorder;
• Generalized anxiety disorder;
• Separation anxiety disorder;
• Obsessive-compulsive disorder;
• Post-traumatic stress disorder.
Differences between anxiety and panic are described in terms of the length of time their major symptoms happen and their intensity. Their in-depth definitions given in the DSM-5 guide all healthcare providers to make the right diagnosis and classify medical conditions correctly. Get more information about the basics of anxiety and panic.
During panic attacks, symptoms are very intense and sudden. They often happen without any clear and instant triggering factors. Symptoms peak within ten minutes before starting to subside. However, some panic attacks may last longer, thus, making it more difficult to define when one attack ends and the next one starts. After attacks, it’s common to feel worried and stressed during the day. Based on the DSM-5, panic attacks are characterized by some of the following common symptoms:
• Increased sweating and feeling of choking;
• Heart palpitations and accelerated or pounding heart rates;
• Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing;
• Shaking or trembling;
• Abdominal stress and nausea;
• Chest discomfort or pain;
• Hot flashes or chills;
• Fears of going crazy and losing control;
• Feeling unsteady and dizzy;
• Fainting and lightheadedness;
• Tingling sensations and numbness;
• Fear of dying and feelings of unreality.
On the other hand, anxiety attacks often intensify over a certain period of time, and they’re closely correlated to excessive worries about possible dangers. Anxiety symptoms are quite similar to the signs of panic attacks:
• Difficulty concentrating and irritability;
• Muscle tension and unusual fatigue;
• Disturbed sleep and restlessness;
• Dizziness and shortness of breath;
• Increased startle response and heart rates.
While some of these signs are quite similar to many symptoms linked to panic attacks, they are less intense in most cases. Another basic distinction is that, unlike panic attacks, anxiety symptoms can be persistent and quite long-lasting (weeks and even months).
Available Treatments for Anxiety and Panic Attacks
You have effective treatments whether you suffer from persistent anxiety or panic attacks. Some of the most popular options include prescribed meds, therapy and self-help methods. Feel free to try one or several strategies if you have anxiety or panic disorders. For example, therapy helps patients develop unique ways to manage their symptoms, determine their future path, work through past experiences and get a clearer view that will provide them with a more positive outlook.
Medications can help patients decrease severe symptoms, while self-help strategies are beneficial, because they allow them to work through the right symptoms management at their own pace. Panic and anxiety attacks are common, so treat them effectively.