Is It Anxiety or Panic?

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Ox123
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2017
Total Posts : 77
   Posted 2/7/2018 9:45 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi all, I may have asked this before, can't remember! But I'm struggling to define the difference between an anxiety or panic attack?

My therapist I was seeing said that it's likely I'm experiencing high levels of anxiety rather than panic attacks. As the episode tends to last hours rather than minutes. It's sort of a roller coaster where I feel my self get more and more on edge, then I will peak and somehow be brought back down to a relative state of calmness either by forced social interaction (going somewhere where I have to act normal) or reassured by someone close.

This can go on all day. And it can stop completely. There really is no relation in the duration of these.

On the other hand I can recall moments where I have been feeling fine. Then suddenly I will get this feeling like I'm about to go mad and breakdown. So it doesn't build up, it just strikes. This will all pass in a matter of minutes then I'll be left somewhat broken after.

I feel that getting a better understanding of what each means (without me googling things) will help me longterm.

Wanttheoldme
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2017
Total Posts : 29
   Posted 2/7/2018 10:23 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi
I differentiate between the two. For me an anxiety attack can last long or numerous attacks throughout the day and even waking me in the middle of the night. I would then do deep breathing exercises ( I was so sick of doing them) and I would go to bed with soft music etc etc. To me that was how I dealt with anxiety attacks.
Since July I have had 3 panic attacks. One I was just folding clothes and it came on so violently I ran out of the room to escape it( as if).. it lasted maybe 2 minutes but it devastated me for the rest of the day- I had to lie down right after. As we know once you have a real panic attack you never forget it.
To me panic attacks feel violent, anxiety just very, very uncomfortable and distressing.
I have a piece of paper on my fridge that I wrote about 20 times- panic attacks are not dangerous- they are uncomfortable- I know that is an understatement... but it does help to take some of the fear out of it.

That being said I can say that i have been on medication since the middle of December and my anxiety has almost completely gone away..so there is hope.

Scaredy Cat
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 27845
   Posted 2/7/2018 10:57 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Ox,

Because experiences/symptoms vary so much from person to person...I have never read a clear cut, definitive explanation between an anxiety vs. panic attack.

I myself have had trouble differentiationg between acute anxiety and a full blown attack...

...but I don't think that figuring out the difference is as important as managing the anxiety in general is!

My attacks were never textbook. They never peaked and ended within that trademark 10 minute window...

However, my treatment was no different than what was recommended for the 'average' panic disorder sufferer.

So focusing on your recovery plan will bring about the relief you seek. Keep working toward your goals...and stay encouraged that things will get better!

S.C.
Moderator:Anxiety/Panic

"Courage is not the abscence of fear, it is feeling afraid and doing it anyway!"

"Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles...it empties today of its strength."
Corrie Ten Boom

Panic Syndrome recovery due to CBT

Ox123
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2017
Total Posts : 77
   Posted 2/7/2018 12:05 PM (GMT -6)   
wanttheoldme - Yes we are lucky to be in a time where medication can completely relieve symptoms. Back in the old days they'd do something mad like cut your leg off! haha.

Scaredy Cat - Yeah the trademark 10 minute thing is what had me thrown. I'm thinking, 10 minutes?! Try 5 hours!

On another note - I've began reading into negative thinking and how that may be playing a key part in fuelling the fire, if not igniting it! Since trying to rule out eating habbits, sleeping patterns I've been left questioning that it may be due to my thought processes that might be partly to blame. I've Always been a negative thinker but at the ripe age of 28, it's allowed me to access the darkest parts of my mind which I didn't know was possible. All my episodes since last year have been directly related to obsessive thinking over my current problems. Looking to begin training my brain into positive thinking as of today!

Scaredy Cat
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 27845
   Posted 2/7/2018 3:01 PM (GMT -6)   
Yeah, mine almost always lasted for hours as well...:/

...and absolutely yes to the thoughts/anxiety correlation!

This is the basic principle behind CBT...and why it teaches a restructuring of the negative fearful thoughts into positive rational ones.

Have a look into our Resources for CBT material, as well as the Positive Mantra/Affirmations link. smile

Keep up the great work!

S.C.
Moderator:Anxiety/Panic

"Courage is not the abscence of fear, it is feeling afraid and doing it anyway!"

"Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles...it empties today of its strength."
Corrie Ten Boom

Panic Syndrome recovery due to CBT

Minnesota
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2012
Total Posts : 217
   Posted 2/10/2018 4:03 PM (GMT -6)   
Wow, this really rings true with my experiences lately....when you have your focus on something else things seem to calm down. But idle time is the worst.....the thoughts build thus the anxiety. Breaking that cycle is the key. It doesn't take long for thoughts to turn automatic. and project a worst case scenario.
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