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Anxiety Attack vs Panic Attack: Is There a Difference?

Many people think that anxiety and panic attacks are the same things and use the terms interchangeably. However, there’s a clear difference between the two. If you have been experiencing signs of either an anxiety attack or a panic attack, help is available.

At Zelus Recovery, our team not only understands the difference between an anxiety attack and a panic attack, but we can also help you learn to identify the symptoms of these mental health disorders. Unfortunately, there is no cure for an anxiety attack or a panic attack. However, once you can identify the symptoms, you can then use coping skills to deal with the anxiety attacks or panic attacks.

Anxiety Attack Vs. Panic Attack

A panic attack comes on quickly and without warning. In most cases, it involves an overwhelming and intense fear. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) recognizes recurring panic attacks as a disorder.

The DSM-5 doesn’t recognize anxiety attacks as a disorder, though. Despite that, anxiety attacks are the rapid onset of worry and distress. In most cases, they occur because of trauma or some other stressful situation. Since the DSM-5 doesn’t recognize anxiety attacks as a disorder, the symptoms are open for doctors to interpret.

What Are Panic Attacks?

Panic attacks are sudden, unreasonable feelings of fear and anxiety. Symptoms of a panic attack include:

  • Chest pain
  • Nausea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fear of losing control or feeling like you’re going to die
  • Intense feeling of terror
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Tingling or numbness in fingers or toes
  • Trembling or shaking

Symptoms usually peak within ten minutes after an attack starts. The symptoms often disappear soon after. Some people become so fearful of these attacks that they develop panic disorder, a type of anxiety disorder.

What Are Anxiety Attacks?

An anxiety attack is a sudden and intense episode of fear and anxiety. These anxiety attacks can sometimes occur unexpectedly for no apparent reason, but they can also be linked to specific triggers.

Symptoms of an anxiety attack can vary. Some people may only experience a few mild symptoms of anxiety, while others may experience a wider variety of more intense symptoms. These symptoms include:

  • Insomnia
  • Irritability or sudden mood swings
  • Headache or lightheadedness
  • Muscle tension
  • Nausea
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Shaking or sweating

The Link Between These Attacks and Substance Abuse

Regardless if people suffer from anxiety or panic disorder, they’re at an increased risk of abusing substances. In fact, most substance abuse programs include some treatment to help people deal with anxiety and panic attacks. They refer to these programs as dual diagnosis treatment.

However, why does substance abuse go hand in hand with anxiety and panic? The main reason is that people turn to drugs and alcohol for relief and comfort. Unfortunately, the pleasure is fleeting and ends when the drugs wear off. As people continue to take them to maintain the relief, they can develop a substance use disorder or addiction.

Anxiety treatment starts with therapy. Rehab offers therapy to help people address the cause of the anxiety and panic. Doing so is the only way for them to overcome the problem truly. It can also prevent the use of alcohol or drugs, which avoids the development of a substance problem.

Zelus Recovery’s Anxiety and Panic Attack Treatment

If you need anxiety and panic attack treatment for young adults, consider Zelus Recovery. We can even provide care for co-occurring disorders. For instance, our services include treatment for anxiety and substance abuse problems. Some of the other programs that we offer include:

Ease Your Anxiety Disorder with Zelus Recovery

Nothing is more important than your mental health. Let Zelus Recovery show you how to overcome your anxiety or panic issues. If you are seeking mental health treatment in Idaho, reach out to our friendly staff today by calling 208.518.0797, or contact us online.