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Panic Attacks vs. Anxiety Attacks: How to Determine Both Conditions?

Panic attacks vs. anxiety attacks, how can we really differentiate one from the other? Although these terms are usually used interchangeably to mean the same thing, there is a different definition for each condition from a clinical perspective.

Panic attack is associated with panic disorder, which is a condition that falls under the categories of an anxiety disorder, and it suddenly occurs without signs and lasts shorter with severe symptoms. Anxiety attacks, on the other hand, have clear stressors that are accompanied with less severe reactions. This kind of condition could last weeks or months, depending on the stressors that a certain patient is dealing with.

According to health professionals, panic attacks vs. anxiety attacks can be differentiated through the intensity of the symptoms manifested by a person who is suffering from an anxiety disorder. Both conditions can also be determined through the length of time the main symptoms occur.

When a certain patient is having a panic attack, the symptoms suddenly occur and are extremely intense. A person who is likely to experience panic attack cannot determine when the attack will happen, and when it suddenly occur the peak time of the attack is within 10 minutes and would slowly subside. There are also cases wherein the attacks may last longer, and it is also difficult to determine when a certain attack will end and begin if it occurs in succession.

To be able to identify such health problem and immediately seek for panic attacks treatment, there are several symptoms that could characterized the attacks. These symptoms are: sweating, accelerated heart rate or palpitations, trembling or shaking, chest pain or discomfort, sensations of shortness of breath, chills or hot flushes, nausea of abdominal distress, feeling of choking, feeling of unreality, fear of losing control or going crazy and fear of dying.

Anxiety attack, on the other hand, occurs slowly and would intensify over a period of time. Such condition would lead a person who is suffering from it to extremely worry about a certain matter. Anxiety attacks have similar symptoms with panic attacks, and these symptoms include: muscle tension, difficulty in concentrating, fatigue, irritability, shortness of breath, increased heart rate, dizziness, disturbed sleep and increased startle response.

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