Anxiety Attacks VS Panic Attacks – Understanding the Differences & Learning How to Prevent Attacks from Occurring

by Jason on July 15, 2011

Do you think you might have an anxiety disorder or a panic disorder? Have you been experiencing symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, etc. lately? While the two disorders have similar symptoms, they are quite different.

Whether you suffer from anxiety attacks or panic attacks, treatment is available! You can learn how to stay relaxed in almost any situation. I used to suffer from panic attacks. Sometimes I would get really dizzy and feel faint while I was simply walking around shopping! Fortunately, I managed to stay calm enough to make it to the car.

If you are experiencing similar problems, here is an overview of the differences between the two conditions.

Anxiety Attacks VS Panic Attacks

An anxiety attack is usually triggered by a stressor. An individual has an anxiety attack whenever he/she comes in reaction to a stressor. If your attacks come whenever you’re near something that makes you frightened, or whenever you’re apprehensive about an upcoming event, then the cause is due to anxiety.

A panic attack, on the other hand, can literally occur out of the blue with no apparent stressor. It’s unpredictable and unprovoked. During a panic attack, the individual experiences a host of physical symptoms, ranging from shortness of breath to chest pain and nausea. They even become fearful that they are going to pass out or die, and this only causes the situation to worsen. This is referred to as anticipatory anxiety.

Anxiety Attack Symptoms

Anxiety generally intensifies over a period of time. It’s highly correlated to excessive apprehension and worry. The symptoms may include:

• Muscle tension

• Restlessness

• Irritability

• Difficulty focusing

• Fatigue

• Disturbed sleep

• Increased heart rate

• Increased startle response

• Shortness of breath

Panic Attack Symptoms

Unlike an anxiety attack, a panic attack doesn’t intensify over a period of time: it occurs suddenly and the symptoms are extremely intense. They “peak” within a few minutes and then subside. However, sometimes additional attacks may occur after the first one, with just a short amount of time between each.

These symptoms may include:

• Palpitations or accelerated heart rate

• Trembling/shaking

• Discomfort or pain in the chest area

• Lightheadedness and dizziness

• Feeling of suffocating

• Abdominal pain or nausea• Feeling of being detached from oneself

• Tingling sensation

• Hot flushes or chills

• Fear of dying

Managing Attacks

Now that you understand the symptoms for each, you can learn how to manage your attacks. Whether you’re suffering from anxiety attacks or panic attacks, you can take steps to lessen the chance of having them.

There are a variety of treatments, including medication, therapy, acupuncture, and more . Both anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications are available. Anti-depressants will lessen anxiety over a period of time, and anti-anxiety sedatives will provide almost immediate relief to panic attack sufferers.

Helpful Foods

I’ve found that eating certain foods will help prevent me from having panic attacks. When the body has plenty of nutrients and Vitamins, it will less likely go into anxiety or panic mode.

Here are a few tips on what you can eat:

• Complex carbs. For a steady supply of serotonin, eat plenty of complex carbs such as oatmeal, whole-grain cereal, and pasta. Serotonin is a “feel-good” chemical released by the brain.

• Oranges. They are filled with Vitamin C. Vitamin C can reduce stress hormone levels while strengthening the immune system. When your stress level is reduced, you’ll be less likely to experience a panic attack or anxiety.

• Fatty fish. Tuna and salmon contain a lot of Omega-3 fatty acids. These can prevent surges in stress hormones. Try eating at least 3 ounces of fatty fish 2-3 times a week.

• Drink plenty of water. Panic attacks and anxiety attacks are both likely to occur whenever one is dehydrated. Having plenty of water in you will keep your internal body temperature lowered, which will prevent an attack.

Now you know how to manage anxiety attacks and panic attacks! There are other treatments and management techniques you can try if you want to live a calm, relaxed life.

Anxiety attacks VS panic attacks: if these have one thing in common, it’s fear. Both of these are scary to experience, so you need to learn as many management techniques as possible to prevent either from occurring.

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