Anxiety is a common nonmedical condition experienced by both children and adults. Defined as fear or worry often related to a particular event or concern, anxiety is often confused with panic disorder, but the two conditions are not the same.
Panic attacks are a symptom of panic disorder and can occur without a specifiable reason. At this time, anxiety attacks are not a diagnosable condition in the DSM-V, the American Psychological Association’s manual of current diagnosable psychological conditions. Panic disorder, however, is a recognized medical condition and can be diagnosed by a licensed mental health professional.
Though not a diagnosable condition alone, anxiety attacks can be part of a panic or anxiety disorder and professional help is available. These are the features of an anxiety attack.
- Has a specific trigger such as workplace or school problems, relationship issues, and health concerns
- Typically develops gradually when a person is anxious
- Is less severe than a panic attack
- Comes with physical symptoms such as a racing heart or knots in the stomach
Symptoms of an anxiety attack include:
- Feelings of worry or apprehension
- Restlessness and sleep problems
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling pressured or hurried
- Physical symptoms including heart rate changes, muscle tension, headaches, nausea or diarrhea, sweating, dry mouth, faintness, trembling or shaking, and tightness in the chest or throat
To help you better distinguish the difference between a panic and anxiety attack, we’re including information on the features of a panic attack. The features include:
- No identifiable trigger
- Can occur when a person is calm or anxious
- Feelings of intense terror causing the person to fear a complete loss of control or even impending death
- Physical symptoms occurring simultaneously with emotional symptoms
- Attacks usually occur unexpectedly and symptoms can last anywhere from a few minutes to an hour
The good news is both anxiety attacks and panic attacks can be treated. Though anxiety attacks are undiagnosable alone, triggers can be identified and managed. Anxiety attacks associated with panic or anxiety disorder can also be diagnosed and treated. Your healthcare provider is a great resource for getting help with anxiety. To get help from an EliteCare provider stop by our clinic anytime during our normal business hours. We’re open Monday – Friday from 8 am – 6 pm, Saturdays from 8 am – 3 pm, and on Sundays from 1 pm until 5 pm.