Difference Between Having A Panic Attack Vs Regular Anxiety

Stress and worry are part and parcel of our daily life. A certain amount of anxiety before, say an interview or an exam or a meeting is normal and is considered good for increasing productivity as it alerts and awares us before we make silly mistakes. Eustress is the term coined for this beneficial stress, where “eu” means good. So, it literally means good stress. However, some people do not have an effective control over their stress and when it crosses the normal limits and reaches a certain point, they might have a panic attack. A panic attack is defined as a sudden episode of intense fear or anxiety and physical symptoms, based on a perceived threat rather than imminent danger. Panic attacks can make us more nervous and the person can have a meltdown. It can create harrowing circumstances for our mental health and can push us towards overthinking.

Panic attacks are quite different from regular anxiety. Regular anxiety is likely to look as sweaty palms, racing heart or shortness of breath with attention going at every small detail which helps us to perform better. Whereas, a panic attack includes sweating, dizziness, palpitations, trembling, numbness and even fear that you may die. A panic attack can make us feel that things are out of our control and that we cannot manage anything. Although the symptoms are quite similar, a panic attack can last for a longer period than regular anxiety. A panic attack is quite unpredictable and can even show up without any stimulus or stress, while anxiety lasts only when a stressful situation is there.

Normal anxiety is good in a situation when we use our might to change or improve our performance but panic attack usually blurs our choices out and we often end up severely confused, stressed, with an impending sense of doom. Panic attacks stand between our daily activities and hinder our development.

Major causes of panic attacks may not be clear, but the following factors play an important role and can also lead to the risk of developing a panic disorder:

  • Genetics
  • Major Stress (A situation at work or stress in family)
  • A traumatic event in life
  • Excessive smoking or caffeine addiction

If you are continuously facing such symptoms, you should alter your lifestyle. Firstly, you need to deliberately reduce the stress you take. Cutting down on caffeine and nicotine can also help. In case you are facing the problems repeatedly, consider taking medical help. If panic attacks are left untreated, they can create a void in the person which can lead to substance abuse and avoiding social situations which can further make him/her anxious and may lead to more stress or even depression.

After a panic attack one may feel more exhausted and nervous but we should try to understand that if we are facing a problem, we should not carry the stigma but should be aware of the condition that we are suffering and reach out for professional help. Regular anxiety, though useful, must be kept in check. If you are feeling that something is unusual or if stress is lowering your confidence, you must ask for help so that you are pulled out of the anxiety trap before it captures you completely. Remember, nothing is above your mental health and your mental should be your priority.

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