Anxiety vs Panic attack - Counselling and Mental Health SupportAnxiety vs Panic attack
Anxiety vs Panic attack

Anxiety is a perfectly normal reaction to danger, triggered when you feel under pressure, experiencing a threat or facing a challenging situation.

Anxiety as a reaction to the above is a useful reaction, as it can help you stay focused, alert, and motivate you to solve problems.

However, constant anxiety which feels overwhelming and stops you functioning in your daily life is recognised as a disorder.

GAD or generalised anxiety disorder is a term that has become mainstream and describes a long-term condition that causes anxiety about a wide range of situations and issues, rather than one specific event. Symptoms vary from person to person, but include constant worrying, a sense of dread and difficulty concentrating.

Sometimes, anxiety is so severe, it’s possible to experience an anxiety attack. Often, people talk about panic attacks and anxiety attacks like they are one and the same-however, they are different conditions.

Panic attacks happen suddenly (with the exception of those brought on by phobias) and bring intense and overwhelming fear. A racing heartbeat, shortness of breath, or nausea are often felt during a panic attack.

  • Anxiety can build gradually, panic attacks usually come on abruptly.
  • Anxiety can be mild, moderate, or severe whilst panic attacks are mostly severe.
  • Anxiety is connected to a stressor or a threat, whilst panic attacks are not.

You can experience both an anxiety and a panic attack at the same time.

You might experience anxiety while worrying about a potentially stressful situation, and the situation arrives, anxiety may lead to a panic attack.

Anxiety can be crippling-sleepless nights, inability to function or get on with day-to-day life can take its toll.

There are some useful lifestyle changes that you may be able to look at incorporating in your daily routine to help with anxiety:

  • Learn how to identify and stop negative thoughts.
  • Get regular, moderate exercise.
  • Practice meditation
  • Eat a balanced diet.
  • Limit your consumption of alcohol, drugs, and caffeine.

For more support ideas have a look at our Anxiety resources or get in touch to see how we can help.

You are not alone.