Have you ever experienced a sudden rush of fear and dread that can be overwhelming and uncontrollable? If so, you may have had either an anxiety attack or a panic attack. These two terms are often used interchangeably, but they actually refer to different experiences. While they both involve intense fear and physical symptoms, understanding a panic attack vs. an anxiety attack can help you better manage your own mental health.
Columbia Associates offers anxiety treatment services in Bowie, MD, Aldie, VA, Arlington, VA, Alexandria, VA, North Bethesda, MD, and Reston, VA. Our team can help you identify the triggers for your anxiety or panic attacks, provide coping strategies, and guide you toward recovery. Call 703.682.8208 today to get started.
Are Anxiety Attacks and Panic Attacks the Same Thing?
Both anxiety attacks and panic attacks can happen unexpectedly, but they have different causes. An anxiety attack is triggered by excessive worry or stress over a significant period of time. Someone who experiences an anxiety attack may feel anxious most of the time, but it becomes more intense when facing certain situations or events.
On the other hand, a panic attack is a sudden and intense fear reaction that comes without warning. It can happen at any time, even when someone is relaxed or asleep. Panic attacks are often accompanied by physical symptoms such as a racing heart, shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, and sweating. Panic attacks are officially recognized as a medical condition, while anxiety attacks are not, though they are often seen as a symptom of an anxiety disorder.
Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety Attacks
Anxiety attacks are often the result of long-term stress or anxiety. The symptoms may include constant worrying, fearfulness, difficulty concentrating, irritability, trouble sleeping, muscle tension, and fatigue. Physical symptoms such as headaches, stomach aches, and digestive issues can also occur.
These episodes can be triggered by various things, such as social situations, work stress, financial worries, health concerns, or traumatic events. However, they can also happen randomly without any identifiable trigger.
Signs and Symptoms of Panic Attacks
Panic attacks typically come on suddenly and reach their peak within 10 minutes. They may include intense feelings of fear, a sense of impending doom or death, heart palpitations, sweating, trembling or shaking, and shortness of breath. Other common symptoms include chest pain, nausea, dizziness, tingling sensations, and chills or hot flashes.
Panic attacks can be triggered by specific phobias, social anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or other mental health conditions. They can also occur in response to a stressful event or situation.
How Treatment Can Help
Just a few of the ways that treatment can help with treatment for anxiety attacks and panic attacks include:
- Identifying triggers and coping strategies – Therapy can help you identify the underlying causes of your symptoms and give you practical strategies to manage them.
- Medication – In some cases, medication may be prescribed to help relieve symptoms or reduce their severity.
- Lifestyle changes – Making lifestyle changes, such as limiting caffeine and alcohol intake and getting regular exercise, can also help alleviate anxiety and panic attacks.
- Talk therapy – Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can help change negative thought patterns that contribute to anxiety and panic attacks.
- Relaxation techniques – Learning relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation, can also be effective in reducing the physical symptoms of an attack.
Whether you are struggling with anxiety attacks or panic attacks, it is important to seek help from a mental health professional.
Call Columbia Associates Today for Anxiety Treatment Services
Ready to take control of your anxiety or panic attacks? Call 703.682.8208 today to get in touch with Columbia Associates. If you’re ready to take the next step in your mental health journey, click here to reach out to our team of empathetic, mental health care experts! For existing clients, please click here and find your office location to contact your office directly.