I became interested in panic and anxiety attacks several years ago following my one and only episode. It occurred in the middle of a sporting event I was broadcasting and when it was over it was like…”did anyone get the number of that truck!”
In fact, panic attack is common. Almost one third of adults will have experienced it in one form or another and most will have had an isolated experience like I did.
Difference Between Anxiety And Panic Attack
Let’s clear up the difference between anxiety and panic attacks. An anxiety attack tends to last longer. It is more of a gradual build up and the feeling is not quite as intense. On the other hand, panic attacks will occur without warning and overwhelm a person quickly.
So in summary, an anxiety attack is being worried about something while a panic attack is also being concerned about something in your life but with it comes the whole package, namely the symptoms of panic attack.
What Is Panic Disorder?
Is panic attack related to panic disorder. Isolated instances of panic attack shouldn’t be a concern for developing panic disorder. However, if the attacks are frequent then yes, there is reason for concern.
Panic disorder will probably be a factor if you are constantly in fear of suffering a panic attack. If a person makes any changes to their lifestyle habits such as avoiding certain areas or places because they fear they will have an episode then professional advice should be sought. It can be a chronic condition and just deciding to withdraw from your usual lifestyle is not the answer. It can be diagnosed and treated.
Diagnosis is not easy though because there may be a correlation with a pre disposed disorder such as depression. A doctor will need to correctly identify any one of these disorders before making a correct diagnosis of panic disorder. The causes are numerous including major events in your life such as moving house, marriage, break up or job promotion and job loss. There is also a suggestion it could run in the family.
People with panic disorder must realize they are not going crazy. Cognitive behavioral treatment has been successful in helping people overcome this disorder and get their lives back on track.
Getting to understand what panic attack is helps in altering destructive thought patterns and eventually coping with one’s fears. Therapy also includes controlled breathing exercises and actually will reach a stage where a person may be asked to go to a place or experience a situation they fear.
Medication is another option and has been used in conjunction with cognitive behavioral therapy. For more information on medication, see your doctor.