People are more aware of panic attacks, as stressful or anxiety inducing triggers cause them, but anxiety attacks are just as common, even if they are not as well known. Both attacks have many similarities, and people can be forgiven for considering them to be the same, but that is not the case.
Panic attacks are known to come on without warning; they are triggered by stressors like phobias, PTSD, and even a prolonged anxiety attack can induce panic. The physical symptoms can include shortness of breath, nausea, and a rapid pulse, accompanied by overwhelming panic, and all these symptoms occurring at once is frightening to those who suffer from these attacks.
Fortunately, a panic attack peaks after 10 minutes, and rarely lasts more than half an hour, because the body cannot sustain that fight or flight response for a prolonged period.
Signs of Anxiety Attacks
When you suffer from severe anxiety, there will always be situations, places, or people that make you feel intensely distressed, even if you only think about them, and as mentioned, a prolonged anxiety attack can trigger a panic attack if you cannot get away from the anxiety trigger, or find a way to calm down.
Someone who has mild anxiety will often feel worried and on edge about things that can trigger an attack, however, it will not be as intense as a severe attack.
Despite being separate conditions, anxiety and panic attacks can share similar symptoms. Here are some of the symptoms of anxiety attacks:
· Intense worry
· Continuous distress
· Intense fear
· Heart palpitations
· Rapid heart rate
· Chest pain
· Shortness of breath
· A choking feeling
· Dry mouth
· Hot flushes
· Numbness or tingling
· Upset stomach
The Differences Between Panic Attacks vs Anxiety Attacks
The trigger for panic attacks is not always apparent at the time, as they can seem to happen without any warning. Anxiety attacks will often have a conscious trigger that sets the attack off, and it can build more gradually than the sudden burst of a panic attack.
When you suffer from panic disorder, the physical symptoms are usually more obvious than the emotional or mental ones. Therefore, people know more about panic attacks than anxiety attacks – they can see it happening and can see how it affects the sufferer.
How to Stop an Anxiety Attack
If you can feel an anxiety attack coming on, there are some things that you can do to try and make yourself feel better. The first thing that you need to do is take deep breaths to keep yourself calm, and if you can, remove yourself from the situation that is causing the attack.
You can also find an object to focus on, make a conscious note of everything that you can about it, size, texture, color; hopefully, all of this will help to distract you.
It might also help to make people you are close to aware of your anxiety; if they know the triggers to your attacks, they can help to distract and support you through it.