The difference between anxiety and panic and how to deal with it
The thing about anxiety is that most people think you are looking for attention or trying to get out of doing a certain task at work (or school). This is a very sad and incorrect assumption on a non-sufferer’s part.
If you are one of the lucky ones who does not have sudden and crippling anxiety attacks, then reading up on our panic away review – it may give you a new perspective on the disease. And yes, it really is a disease.
Anxiety can be mild enough that nobody will ever know when you have an attack, or so severe that you can have trouble breathing, sweat excessively and any number of symptoms. In older people it can look and feel like a heart attack, while in younger people it can look like you are completely freaking out (and for no good reason). Children who suffer from the attacks may be labelled as attention seekers and diagnosed as having ADHD and probably even learning disabilities. Nothing could be further from the truth.
In fact, in some cases anxiety attacks can become full-blown panic attacks. People who suffer from these types of attacks usually suffer a host of other problems at the same time. Things like phobias and depression. Actually, since we’re on the subject, depression is prevalent with anxiety sufferers as well simply because they are usually misdiagnosed or simply left untreated. Phobias are not uncommon for panic and anxiety sufferers. There is a long list of phobias for every letter of the alphabet, but mostly each letter carries a list of phobias all its own. Some of the phobias sufferers endure are things like achluophobia- fear of darkness, acousticophobia- fear of noise, acrophobia- fear of heights, aeroacrophobia- fear of open high places, agateophobia- fear of insanity, agliophobia- fear of pain, anthropophobia- fear of people or society, atychiphobia- fear of failure, bacteriophobia- fear of bacteria, bathmophobia- fear of stairs or steep slopes, bathophobia- fear of depth, botanophobia- fear of plants, catoptrophobia- fear of mirrors, coulrophobia- fear of clowns, ecophobia- fear of home and eosophobia- fear of dawn or daylight. These are literally just a few of them from the first 5 letters of the alphabet. The list is terrifyingly long!
It is not uncommon for some people to suffer from more than one anxiety disorder at once. This is known as co-morbidity. Many agoraphobics, for example, may find that their problems started with panic attacks and panic disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) sufferers may also have generalised anxiety disorder. If at any time you feel that you may in fact be suffering from any kind of disorder, it is advisable to see your GP at once! Self diagnosis is not advisable and you will not get the correct treatment this way. The internet is a tool for finding information, not diagnosing diseases or disorders.
Ever wondered what the difference is between a panic attack and anxiety? Well to put it quite simply, a panic attack is a sudden extreme response to a thought or sometimes even sensations. Typically sufferers also experience feelings of danger or physical symptoms like increased heart rate, palpitations and also possibly pins and needles. It can be very distressing and disorientating.
Anxiety is really more of a psychological condition. Constantly thinking about it or brooding about it will accelerate it. It can make people deliberately avoid certain situations or places that they believe is the cause (or trigger) for their anxiety. This obviously has a knock on effect and can limit the freedom of a sufferer and even negatively affect their quality of life.
Sometimes the effects of anxiety can be so severe that the person having the attack has no idea what is happening and this can cause physical symptoms, escalating into a panic attack, making the situation worse.
The best way to gain control over these disorders is through therapy; intensive and consistent therapy. Medication will have little or no effect on problems like fear of people or open spaces, but can help patients sleep better and manage depression. Therapy is also recommended for depression (which is a nasty side effect of most disorders, especially anxiety and panic attacks!) People suffering with these disorders really should confide in someone close to them like a family member or husband or wife. Support is vital to recovery and also to understand what is happening when it strikes.
By keeping quiet about your condition, you are alienating yourself from your best chance at beating this and gaining control over your life again. Being a sufferer is lonely enough, so why isolate yourself from the ones who love you and can help, support and understand you best?