How Does A Panic Attack Differ From Anxiety
You will come across quite a few mentions of anxiety attack on the Internet. The term anxiety attack is not a medically recognised term and it can mean different things.
When it comes to your mental wellbeing, being specific helps health professionals such as a general practitioner, cognitive behavioural therapist, or clinical psychologist to diagnosis and manage your symptoms effectively.
Whilst some symptoms can be similar , panic and anxiety are two very different things.
For starters, a panic attack has a very sudden onset and the symptoms are extreme. Within seconds, you may experience chest pain, trembling, and feel disconnected from your reality. Anxiety, however, tends to gradually build up across time. You may find yourself worrying excessively and feel an intensifying amount anxiety across days and weeks. Unlike panic attacks, anxiety symptoms tend to feel less intense but the symptoms may be persistent for longer periods of time .
In summary, a panic attack is different to anxiety in their intensity of symptoms and the length of time that the symptoms present themselves.
Take Any Prescribed Medications
Depending on the severity of panic attacks, a doctor may prescribe a use-as-needed medication. These medications typically work fast.
However, these drugs can be highly addictive, so people should use them exactly as their doctor prescribes. Taken with opioids or alcohol, they can have life threatening adverse effects.
A doctor may also describe selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which can help prevent panic attacks from occurring in the first place.
How To Teach Your Children About Anxiety Or Panic Attacks
Anxiety attacks usually last for about 10-15 minutes however it can feel like a lifetime for both you and your child. After your child has his or her first panic attack, it is important to educate them on the signs and symptoms associated with panic attacks so if another one occurs, they can understand what is happening. Teach your children that panic attacks are a false alarm in their bodies. Let them know the physical sensations associated with a panic attack so that when they experience them, it wont be as scary.
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Ways To Prevent Panic Attacks
“You need to try to work out what particular stress you might be under that could make your symptoms worse,” says Professor Salkovskis. “It’s important not to restrict your movements and daily activities.”
- Doing breathing exercises every day will help to prevent panic attacks and relieve them when they are happening
- Regular exercise, especially aerobic exercise, will help you to manage stress levels, release tension, improve your mood and boost confidence
- Eat regular meals to stabilise your blood sugar levels
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol and smoking these can make panic attacks worse. Panic support groups have useful advice about how you can effectively manage your attacks. Knowing that other people are experiencing the same feelings can be reassuring. Your GP can put you in touch with groups in your area
- Cognitive behavioural therapy can identify and change the negative thought patterns that are feeding your panic attacks
Why This Strategy Works:
This strategy works much the same as the pinch/ apply pressure technique. It distracts us from the thoughts in our mind and refocuses our thoughts from our breathing and the symptoms we feel within ourselves.
Preplanning the object that you will use also gives you a sense of control. Personally, I find a large object that I can hug to be more effective. Hugging releases hormones that make us feel good like dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin.
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Problems Fighting Off Germs
Your body may not beat back infections so well when you worry. Even just thinking about something that made you angry or sad can lessen the response of your immune system the bodys defense against germs in as little as 30 minutes. Anxiety that stretches over days, months, or years can take an even bigger toll on the immune system, making it harder for you to fight the flu, herpes, shingles, and other viruses.
What To Do During An Anxiety Attack And How To Overcome It
Everyone has different ways of overcoming their anxiety attacks, from breathing exercises to calming techniques to telling someone. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to manage an anxiety attack.
For myself, I incorporate calming breathing techniques, ground myself, use diversions, relax my muscles, having a mantra and so on.
One of the most important things to do during an anxiety attack is to try and regulate our breathing. When we are experiencing anxiety our breathing rate increases, causing such symptoms as chest pain and dizziness, which only makes our anxiety worse.
What we want to do is slow this down.
A while ago whilst on social media, I came across a GIF that had gone viral. It is a simple animation showing a small triangle expanding into growing shapes and results in a large octagon.
The GIF is meant to show the viewer that by syncing your breaths with the animation it will calm your breathing, and its brilliant.
2. Ground Yourself
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Do I Have An Anxiety Disorder
If you identify with any of the following seven signs and symptoms, and they just wont go away, you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder:
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What Do Panic Attacks Feel Like
During a panic attack, physical symptoms can build up very quickly. These can include:
- a pounding or racing heartbeat
- feeling faint, dizzy or light-headed
- feeling very hot or very cold
- sweating, trembling or shaking
- pain in your chest or abdomen
- struggling to breathe or feeling like you’re choking
- feeling like your legs are shaky or are turning to jelly
- feeling disconnected from your mind, body or surroundings, which are types of dissociation.
During a panic attack you might feel very afraid that you’re:
- losing control
- going to die.
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Alternative Anxiety Attack Definition
Earlier we mentioned that “anxiety attack” is not a medical term, but rather a descriptive term for intense moments of anxiety. Most people, including some medical professionals, refer to panic attacks as anxiety attacks simply because it is easier for people to understand. When you say panic, people tend to think of someone running away from Godzilla. When you term them anxiety attacks, people tend to understand it better.
But because anxiety attack is not a medical term, not everyone uses it the same way. Some people use anxiety attack as a way of describing severe symptoms of other anxiety disorders. For example, those with obsessive-compulsive disorder may have an “anxiety attack” when they encounter a trigger of extreme anxiety that forces them deep into their compulsions. Those with an upcoming test in school may call their significant worry about the test an anxiety attack even though theyre really just talking about being very nervous.
Keep this in mind when people describe anxiety attack, as the term may lead to a bit of miscommunication. For the purposes of this article, however, were talking about panic attacks, because panic attacks are a very real, very common anxiety problem that most people are referring to when they say they have these attacks.
All Panic Attacks End
No matter how powerful the anxiety attack, it will end. We can end them faster by doing some or all of the above. Nevertheless, all anxiety attacks end. Its only a matter of time.
No one experiences unending anxiety attacks even though sometimes it can feel that way. Riding out the anxiety attack knowing it will end can help you remain calm, which also shuts off the stress response and anxiety attack.
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Concentrate On Your Breathing
Focus on breathing in slowly, then breathing out slowly. It can be helpful to count when youre breathing to focus your mind. You can start small at first, like counting to three as you breathe in and counting to three as you breathe out. When you begin to calm down, you can increase how long you hold each breath to five seconds or seven seconds.
I Am Anxious All The Time What Should I Do
The first thing to do is remind yourself that anxiety is a normal response to stress and stress is a daily part of our personal and professional lives.
Its OK to feel anxious. But at the same time, avoiding anxiety and distracting yourself will often make things worse.
Therefore, if you are feeling anxious all the time and you believe that it is getting in the way of your relationships, ability to perform at work, and in your quality of life, you should definitely do something about it.
Your anxiety symptoms can be alleviated with a few simple exercises/techniques. These include breathing exercises, mindfulness awareness exercises, self-safe hypnosis, and progressive muscle relaxation.
Physical exercise such as going for a walk, hitting the weights or doing high intensity interval training at the gym, and yoga and tai chi are effective ways to release repressed emotions. These forms of physical exercise has been shown to help calm your mind. Many people report that they feel as though they have gained perspective post-workout.
When symptoms of anxiety persist over a long period of time, there may be a deeper cause for your anxiety. For example, your constant feelings of anxiousness may stem from unresolved issues within your relationship, or feelings of dissatisfaction with your job or career. It is recommended that you talk to a mental health professional such as a psychologist or a qualified counsellor to help find a solution to your anxiety.
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What Are The Symptoms Of An Anxiety Attack
Symptoms can vary from person to person but some of the more common symptoms of an anxiety attack are:
- An accelerated, pounding heart rate
- Shortness of breath
- Sweating and/or hot and cold sweats
- Dizziness or feeling faint
- Feeling like you need to escape
- An intense feeling of fear
I experienced an anxiety attack last week, I hadnt had one in quite a while but this one came out of nowhere and completely caught me off guard, like most anxiety attacks do.
It was as horrible and unbearable as I remembered, my heart rate was rapid and felt like it was pounding against my chest. It got so intense that I could feel a pulsing sensation on my back and my chest began to ache painfully with my irregular breaths.
I was having a discussion at the time, I wouldnt necessarily call it a stressful discussion but I would say that I had some minor anxieties about the topics that were being discussed. I did have a severe headache at the time and looking back I feel that that may have attributed to the attack.
Physical sensations such as pain and irritability can sometimes add to and also elevate our anxiety. I have had my fair share of anxiety attacks over the years and have also spent many hours reading through books and articles in search of any techniques that may help me get through them.
How To Tell The Difference
How can you tell if youâre having AFib or an anxiety attack? Itâs a good question. Studies show that stress and anxiety can worsen symptoms of AFib, but more research is needed to find out if people with anxiety and depression are at greater risk for developing it. Research also shows that people with AFib are more likely to get depression or anxiety because the condition affects your quality of life.
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Treatments For Anxiety Attacks
When anxiety attacks take control of your life and you have a diagnosed anxiety disorder, your doctor may suggest two forms of treatment:
Talk therapy is the first approach to treating anxiety attacks. You and your therapist will discuss what might be the root cause of your anxiety disorder. Psychotherapy helps give you the skills to healthily cope with the symptoms of anxiety. The common types of therapy are cognitive-behavior therapy and exposure therapy.
There are several types of medication that help relieve anxiety attack symptoms. The type of medicine will depend on the anxiety disorder or other mental health issues you may be facing. Certain antidepressants can treat anxiety. Your doctor may prescribe an anti-anxiety medicine, like buspirone.
Along with these two types of treatment, there are things you can try at home to help you cope when symptoms start to begin:
Breathing Exercise For Panic Attacks
If youre breathing quickly during a panic attack, doing a breathing exercise can ease your other symptoms. Try this:
- breathe in as slowly, deeply and gently as you can, through your nose
- breathe out slowly, deeply and gently through your mouth
- some people find it helpful to count steadily from one to five on each in-breath and each out-breath
- close your eyes and focus on your breathing
You should start to feel better in a few minutes. You may feel tired afterwards.
Visit the No Panic website for another breathing exercise to calm panic.
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