Panic Attack vs Anxiety Attack: What’s the Difference?

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Panic attacks are real, and they are scary. As a matter of fact, the very fear of having another one can cause an attack in a self-perpetuating modality; a never-ending cycle of fear and panic. While an anxiety attack may share similar symptoms, it is usually a more gradual occurrence brought on by a specific event.

To develop a successful individualized therapy, it’s important to understand the difference between a panic attack vs anxiety attack to develop a successful individualized therapy.

Panic Attacks

A panic attack is a sudden, intense, and often overwhelming feeling of fear and discomfort. Panic attacks are accompanied by acute physical symptoms such as:

  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Labored breathing
  • Chest pains
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Trembling
  • Lightheadedness/Dizziness

With these types of physical reactions, it’s no wonder many people fear that they’re having a heart attack. While that is terrifying in and of itself, oftentimes it’s the psychological symptoms that are the most frightening. Those suffering a panic attack describe a fearsome slip in their grip on reality as if they are observing the event from outside their body. Nothing seems real at that time.

Understanding Anxiety Attacks

Anxiety attacks are usually more gradual and precipitated by a specific triggering event, like an important exam at school or a nerve-wracking social event. Anxiety is a protective response, an actual physical cellular response to a stressor. Anxiety attacks are worrisome episodes that, if not dealt with, can manifest as a panic attack.

Substance Abuse & Panic Attacks

Sadly, people who struggle with recurrent panic attacks, or panic disorder, may turn to drugs and alcohol to numb the fear. Drugs and alcohol can actually cause panic attacks while using and during withdrawal, so it’s a self-defeating attempt at a solution. This is why panic attack assistance is crucial when you’re dealing with a substance abuse issue.

Panic Attack Assistance at Summit Malibu

The Substance Abuse Treatment at Summit Malibu includes a close review of all factors influencing the life of you or your loved one so we can partner on a successful substance abuse recovery plan. We work with a combination of treatment options, including, but not limited to:

  • Individual therapy
  • Dialectical behavior therapy
  • Art therapy
  • Sound therapy
  • Spiritual connectedness
  • Nutrition and fitness
  • Psychodrama therapy
  • Music therapy
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy
  • Horticultural therapy
  • Equine therapy

Let’s Put Panic in Its Place

Let us put our holistic approach to mental well-being and substance abuse recovery to work for your whole family. The time to start is now. For caring drug abuse treatment, call us at (310) 742-1882 or complete the online contact form, and we will get back to you just as quickly as possible.