Panic Attack & Anxiety Attack: Symptoms & Solutions

Here are the symptoms and solutions of a panic attack and anxiety attack

People may call a panic attack as anxiety attack or vice versa but here is how one can tell the difference between the two, including the symptoms and solutions.

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The difference

“The difference between the two is about the suddenness of the feelings — usually (but not always) people who get panic attacks will feel okay before it happens,” Amanda Spray, Ph.D., Clinic Director of the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Center and a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at NYU Langone Health in New York City said.

The symptoms will go away within 30 to 60 minutes. However, people who experience anxiety attacks tend to carry around a low level of anxiety. The anxiousness goes high during an attack and then eventually (anywhere from a few minutes to a few weeks) it settles back down to a normal-for-them level, according to Good Housekeeping.

There is confusion between the two because panic attacks and anxiety attacks overlap in a few ways, and some unlucky people experience both. In addition, people tend to use the terms interchangeably.

Common thing

According to Dr. Spray, both panic and anxiety attacks “activate the fight, flight, or freeze reaction in the body.”  In this kind of scenario, your sympathetic nervous system prompts your brain to release of a lot of hormones. This includes adrenaline and noradrenaline, that rev your body up.

It serves as an alarm bell which is good during a situation that you are in danger and will prompt you to do safety measures.

However, panic and anxiety attacks happen even if your are not at risk.

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Symptoms of panic attack

  • palpitations
  •  sweating
  •  trembling or shaking
  •  sensations of shortness of breath
  •  feelings of choking
  •  chest pain
  •  nausea or GI upset
  •  dizziness or lightheadedness
  •  chills or heat
  •  numbness or tingling
  •  feeling of unreality or that the person is detached from themselves
  •  fear of losing control or fear of dying.

Symptoms of anxiety attack

  •  excessive and hard-to-control worry, often about many different everyday things (like finances, relationships, or work)
  •  restlessness
  •  difficulty concentrating
  •  irritability
  •  muscle tension
  •  trouble sleeping

Solutions/How to treat the attacks

  • getting the right amount of sleep for you
  • following a healthy diet
  • eating regularly to avoid blood sugar dips
  • exercising
  • meditation, mindfulness, and a solid social support system
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • medication is always an option

What to do during panic and anxiety attacks

  • Breathe in through your nose for a count of four.
  • Hold for a count of one.
  • Breathe out of your mouth for a count of six. “Purse your lips and pretend you’re blowing out a straw,” she says.
  • Hold for a count of one.
  • Repeat until you feel calmer.

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