TipsDisordersPanic Disorder

How to tell if you’re having a panic attack

When a person is worried about the future, anxiety might set in. Non-medical term for a fear or anxiety about a particular topic or concern. Non-medical phrase for dread or worry.

Stress has been shown to cause anxiety. Muscle tension is a common sign, as are emotions of anxiety and worry.

An bout of panic is not the same as a panic disorder symptom. Anxiety is generally tied to a specific event or scenario, however this isn’t always the case.

The signs and symptoms of a panic attack are often more severe than those of anxiety since they might occur without any specific cause.

However, if stress and worry persist over an extended period of time, further issues may arise.

Panic attacks and anxiety attacks

Panic attacks are distinct from anxiety, which can be a sign of panic but is not the same as a panic attack.

In what ways do they differ?

Anxiety can be caused by exam pressure and occupational stress.

Here are a few of the distinguishing characteristics.

Anxiety, or an anxiety episode:

  • it might be particular in nature, such as a test, work troubles or health concerns
  • is not an illness that can be diagnosed
  • less intense than panic attacks
  • When a person is worried, this generally happens over time.
  • the feeling of a “knot in the gut” and rapid heartbeat are examples of physical symptoms

A panick attack:

  • a single event isn’t to blame
  • the condition of panic disorder, which can be diagnosed
  • has a long list of serious side effects
  • no matter how calm or nervous a person is
  • anxiety that is so acute that a person believes he or she is on the verge of losing control or dying
  • typically lasts less than an hour, but can have a long-lasting effect if left unchecked

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 5th Edition of the American Psychological Association (APA) does not include the word “anxiety attack” (DSM-V).

Symptoms of panic disorder in the DSM-V, on the other hand, include panic attacks. Panic disorder can only be diagnosed by a trained medical expert.

Symptoms might differ

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Panic and anxiety are characterized by a fearful state, a racing or pounding heart, dizziness, shortness of breath, and unreasonable thoughts.

Panic attacks, however, are far more severe. The person may have a true belief that they are on their way out.

Having a panic attack need immediate medical assistance since it is more severe than an anxiety episode.

Differing initiation methods

It is possible that anxiety is a reaction to a specific apprehension or dread. It generally begins with a sense of dread or anxiety, and progresses at a steady pace. It might range from a modest to a severe level. Assuming this problem can be fixed, everything will go back to normal.

There is no way to prevent a panic attack from occurring. It can happen at any time of the day or night, even when a person is asleep. As a result, the intensity of worry is disproportionate to the underlying reason. A person’s reaction is unrelated to the event, according to the APA.

Variations in the length of time

Anxiety is frequently linked to a particular event or circumstance. For the most part, it is a long-term process.

After 10 minutes, panic attacks begin to subside, although the effects may last longer. Symptoms typically peak after 30 minutes or so, but the effects may last longer. However, some persons with anxiety may experience panic attacks as a result of their anxiety.

Does anxiety cause panic attacks?

Anxiety about having a panic attack can be a symptom of panic disorder. Anxiety between attacks might be caused by a lack of knowledge about when or whether an attack will occur.

People with panic disorder may experience panic attacks when they are anxious. Anxiety of having a panic attack can have a negative impact on a person’s everyday life.

According to the APA, panic disorder may have a biological basis, but scientists have yet to discover a definitive marker.

Anxiety symptoms

Anxiety can cause aches and pains in the muscles.

Anxiety is characterized by the following symptoms:

  • anxiety and fear
  • restlessness
  • a lack of rest
  • a hard time focusing
  • irritability
  • sadness
  • a sense of urgency and a rush of breath

Among the physical symptoms are:

  • cardiovascular system alterations
  • neck and head tightness
  • headache
  • sickness, such as the stomach flu
  • sweating
  • mouth dry
  • trouble in breathing and a tightening of the throat
  • shaking or trembling
  • faintness is making me feel dizzy

All of these symptoms aren’t present in every episode of anxiety. There are varying degrees of anxiety based on the individual and their response to stressors. Examinees may suffer any or all of the aforementioned symptoms when confronted with an examination.

It is common for symptoms to disappear after a threat or perceived risk has passed. One disorder, such as social anxiety disorder, might manifest itself as persistent or event-driven anxiety.


As a result of stress, anxiety is common.

Anxiety is frequently brought on by:

  • a lot of stress at work
  • monetary constraints
  • issues in the family or in a relationship
  • bereavement, divorce, or separation
  • worries about being a parent or a caregiver
  • administrative or technological difficulties that need to be addressed
  • going to a new location or a new position at work
  • a decrease in physical function or mobility
  • the inability to remember short-term memories, for example
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS), diabetes, and other long-term health conditions are all examples of chronic conditions.

Additionally, it may be connected to another aspect or health condition, like

  • a fear of some sort, be it social or otherwise
  • disorder of compulsive behavior (OCD)
  • a condition known as PTSD (PTSD)
  • a person’s genetic make-up
  • Stressful situations or a tendency to get stressed out
  • the brain’s alterations
  • an addiction to alcohol or drugs
  • excessive use of caffeinated beverages
  • usage of certain pharmaceuticals
  • a painful event, recent or not

Anxiety-inducing factors include:

  • speaking in public
  • exposure to something that triggers you
  • anxiety over the possibility of experiencing an episode of panic

Anxiety disorders, on the other hand, can sometimes be the cause of anxiety.

Anxiety disorders and their types

Anxiety disorders can be characterized in a variety of ways. Each one has its own unique set of symptoms, some of which might be brought on by external factors.

People with panic disorder (PD) have had at least two panic episodes and have a continual concern that they will have another one. Refusing to travel or leave the house because they fear an attack of anxiety is common among people with panic disorder.

When someone suffers from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), they are always on edge and always concerned about many aspects of their lives.

An example of a phobic disorder would be a fear of spiders or wide open areas that renders the sufferer unable to function (claustrophobia). The majority of people with a phobia understand that their dread is unfounded.

Compulsion disorder (OCD) is characterized by obsessive thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions) (compulsions).


Stress and worry are a natural response to stressful events that only last for a short period of time.

During a fight-or-flight response, the body releases adrenaline, which is a hormone. When this hormone is released in a quick burst, the body is ready to run or fight back against the threat.

When the fear is eliminated, adrenaline levels soon return to normal. Although this might lead to further difficulties, anxiety and adrenaline levels should be reduced as much as possible.

Anxiety and stress can contribute to a variety of different health issues, such as:

  • depression
  • an anxiety disorder

A long-term state of stress has been related to a variety of health issues including digestive, sleep, immunological, and reproductive disorders.

Problems with physical health include the following:

  • recurrent infections and colds
  • ailment of the heart
  • blood pressure that’s out of control
  • diabetes

If tension and worry become too much to bear, it’s time to take action or seek help.

Tips for living a better life

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It’s essential to take a break and recharge.

Stress and anxiety can be alleviated by following these guidelines:

In order to help yourself, it is important to be aware of the telltale indicators of stress and over-anxiety. All of the above symptoms might indicate that it is time to seek treatment or take a break.

Recognize the things that set you off: You might be able to do something about your anxiety if you can figure out what’s causing it. Maybe you’ve taken on too many responsibilities. Is there anyone you could ask for help? Is it worse if I drink coffee or alcohol? Consider reducing your consumption.

A hectic lifestyle might lead to a poor diet and lack of exercise. Spending money on fast food isn’t always the healthiest option. Instead, cook a healthy lunch and bring it to work.

Long durations of sitting at a computer or behind the wheel may be taxing. Take a stroll every day for 30 minutes to improve your mood and overall well-being.

Relaxation methods can be learned: Stress and anxiety reduction may be achieved through a variety of methods, including yoga breathing and meditation. Despite the lack of conclusive proof, there is some evidence that aromatherapy can relieve stress.

Try something new: It’s possible to alleviate stress by engaging in activities like music, meditation, gardening, or even joining a choral group, yoga, or pilates. You may run into others who share your problems and be able to talk openly about them.

Join a group where you may meet new people, such as a volunteer organization or a support group, and be sociable. Emotional and practical help, as well as the ability to take your mind off the matter at hand, may be provided by these individuals

Sit down and write up a strategy if you’re feeling overwhelmed by financial or administrative issues. As you accomplish your goals, be sure to mark them off on a list. To assist you say no to further requests from others, you should have a strategy in place.


Anxiety and associated disorders can be treated using a variety of methods:

  • treatment using cognitive-behavioral methods (CBT)
  • drugs, such as antidepressants.
  • persons with certain medical issues might join support groups

Consult a health care practitioner if you are feeling overwhelmed by stress or worry. Getting care as soon as possible may help to avoid more serious issues in the future. If you’re thinking about getting help, make sure you go to someone who’s been properly taught and qualified.

Fernanda Avila

Fernanda Avila is a freelance writer who's passionate about providing accurate and helpful mental health content for readers. She believes sharing information can help raise awareness and improve society wellbeing.

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