“Anxiety”, “anxiety disorder” and “panic disorder” are three different but related conditions. Because these conditions have parallel symptoms and sometimes even similar causes, it is easy to get them confused. Why don’t I start answering your question by defining each.
Anxiety is a psychological and physiological state often brought on without an identifiable event or threat, but which is characterized as a general reaction to threats and situation that are out of our control and unavoidable. Anxiety can led to chest pain, headaches, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, stomach aches or nausea. You also can have a combination of these effects.
Many if not most people suffer from anxiety at one time or another. Anxiety is a mood state like fear, though fear is in response to the presence of a real threat, while anxiety is a response to perceived threats or simply uncomfortable external situations. Anxiety is an unpleasant feeling combined with elements of uneasiness, foreboding, worry and even fear.
Anxiety Disorder is an excessive and ongoing state of anxiety. A person with anxiety disorder has a chronic conditions that often debilitates the individual. Anxiety disorder tends to bring on fatigue and even exhaustion, and often (but not always) causes clinical depression. Anxiety disorder may lead to the symptoms of anxiety, but also more serious medical conditions, like hypertension.
Anxiety disorder might appear in someone at an early stage of development, or an anxiety disorder might be traced to a triggering event. High stress often brings on an anxiety disorder.
How Do I Know If I’m Having A Panic Attact?
Panic Disorder is a type of anxiety disorder. Therefore, all panic disorders are an anxiety disorders, but not all anxiety disorders are panic disorders. If you’re asking yourself “how do I know if I’m having a panic attact?” then here’s the answer. Panic disorder is characterized by panic attacks. A panic attack is a case of physiological (not psychological) arousal, where a person begins to get a sense of impending doom, uncontrolled fear, stomach problems and discomfort. This triggers a rush of protective hormones, specifically adrenaline (epinephrine). When adrenaline begins to flow through the body, the panic attack is fully in force.
A panic attack tends to cause more fear, which in turn causes a more panicked reaction. This happens especially in those experiencing their first panic attack, and these people are often rushed to the emergency room. Some complain of sharp chest pains usually associated with a heart attack. A panic attack last somewhere between 15 seconds and 30 minutes. Other symptoms include trembling, heart palpitations, hot flashes, cold flashing, sweating, dizziness, light-headedness, tingling sensations, burning sensations in the face and neck area, shortness of breath, hyperventilation and (as mentioned before) chest pains or chest tightness.
Panic disorder is the recurrence of panic attacks in an episodic nature. Panic attacks often lead to agoraphobia and/or social anxiety disorder, but a “panic disorder” is not the same as these. Panic disorder can last months or years. Those with the disorder should get medical treatment to regulate their adrenaline flow and understand the nature of their condition, because a panic disorder left untreated can lead to a worsening of the condition.
Anxiety, Panic Disorder and Panic Attacks Differences
As you can see, the two are somewhat related, but anxiety is nowhere near as serious as panic disorder and panic attacks. In fact, many other anxiety disorders are not as serious as panic disorder.
Anxiety is a natural emotional state which most people have at one time or another, and so long as you do not suffer a “disorder”, it is much less serious in nature. Those with anxieties should attempt to deal with these episodes either psychologically or physiologically, because a growing sense of anxiety might lead to more serious conditions.
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