Today you’re going to learn how to tell if you’re having an anxiety attack or a panic attack. You’re going to learn the mental and physical symptoms of each, and be sure to stick around to the end because I’m going to share with you what I’ve learned as an expert in integrative mental health care, to stop anxiety and panic attacks in their tracks.
Panic attacks are defined by the DSM as bursts of extreme anxiety and fear that come on suddenly out of nowhere. The feelings in panic include fear of death, fear of losing control, fear of insanity, foreboding, and despair. Some people feel something called derealization which is a form of dissociation. Signs that you are dissociating are you feeling foggy, detached, distant from your own body or distant from your environment. Some people who dissociate feel like they zone out or may even completely lose chunks of time. Panic attacks are accompanied by intense physical symptoms that are one of the main psychological reasons people present to the emergency department. Physical signs that you are experiencing panic attacks include:
- Racing heartbeat
- Reeling of an elephant on your chest
- Difficulties breathing
- Numbness and tingling
- Trembling and shaking
- Feeling faint and dizzy
Anxiety attacks aren’t recognized in the DSM-5 but are typically symptoms of another diagnosable mental health condition. Anxiety attacks are best described as a flair in an underlying anxious state. Anxiety is usually related to the anticipation of a stressful situation, experience, or event. It may come on gradually, or spike quickly with a stressor. Symptoms of an anxiety attack include:
- Extreme worry
Anxiety attacks are more common in individuals who have a diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, as a result of going through a huge stressor, enduring loss, grief, disappointment, or even if you or someone you know is experiencing a trauma or going through a stressor.
Similarities between Anxiety Attacks and Panic Attacks
Panic and anxiety attacks may feel similar, and they share a lot of emotional and physical symptoms.
Anxiety and panic attacks have similar risk factors. These include:
- Experiencing or directly witnessing a trauma or traumatic events
- Going through a stressful life event, eg: the death of a loved one, abuse, divorce, etc
- Ongoing stress and worries, eg: work responsibilities, job loss, conflict in your family, or financial loss
- Enduring a chronic health condition
- Being diagnosed or suffering with a life–threatening illness
- Having a high baseline of anxiety
- Having a different mental health disorder, such as depression or OCD
- Close family members who have anxiety or panic disorders
- Using drugs or alcohol or living in a household with an addict
Sometimes we need a quick fix, and when panic and anxiety are bringing their worst you don’t have time to mess around. I get that, I’ve been there. I consolidated some of my favorite resources together and created a FREE anxiety wellness springboard. The springboard has strategies that work and fast.
Here is what the free springboard includes:
- The 3 Biggest Game Changers For Ditching Anxiety
- Of ALL the therapy, medications, supplements, practices and tools that have supported my patients out from under anxiety, these three have been, BY FAR, the most impactful
- The Secret To Setting Yourself Up To Outwit Anxiety From The Day’s Start
- This powerful technique used by high achievers and thought leaders helps flip your brain’s anxious script so you can design the story of your day and your life.
- Stop Intrusive, Repetitive Thoughts Instantly
- Learn to use my proprietary technique called the “5 Minute Spot Point Pivot” to stop negative loop thinking and shift it to safe thinking patterns that serve you. CAUTION: positive effects accumulate!
- Explore Supplements That Can Support You While You Do The Work To Beat Anxiety Naturally
- While I’m not a fan of being stuck on supplements or medications, they can be an effective bridge while we do the emotional work required.
Here’s to your next chapter,
Dr. Nicole Cain is an advocate for empowering people around the world to help themselves via her educational video e-courses, books, and exclusive free Facebook group. You can receive the tools you need to find the root cause of your symptoms and feel healthy again.