Many people confuse panic attacks with anxiety attacks , understanding them as the same, since they have several similarities in terms of their symptoms. But in reality, they are very different concepts.
One of the most relevant differences is that panic attacks originate when the person feels in danger, with the feeling that his life is at high risk, and end when the threat disappears; On the other hand, anxiety attacks persist for a long period of time after the situation that triggers them, being caused by fear of a difficulty, worry, etc.
So what is a panic attack?
Panic attacks are characterized by a feeling of very intense fear and general discomfort, usually caused by living a situation that causes the person to feel in danger of death or that they are at high risk.
This perceived danger can be real or imagined , but your body detects it as a threatening situation. There are people who are more prone to these types of attacks, since their nervous system tends to activate alarm signals more easily.
What are your symptoms?
According to DSM V, where all mental disorders, their symptoms and other criteria to diagnose them are collected, people who suffer from panic attacks, whether due to a real danger or caused by their mind, can feel about thirteen symptoms , of which to be diagnosed, you have to present four.
2. Chest pain.
3. Fear of dying, fainting, losing control, or going crazy.
4. Tremors throughout the body.
7. Sensation of cold or heat.
8. Feeling of unreality, that is, living something unreal
9. General weakness.
10. Numbness of the extremities.
11. Tingling sensation.
12. Choking or choking sensation.
However, it must be taken into account that each person may suffer different symptoms within the previous symptomatological picture, but according to studies, there are four symptomatic profiles that predominate, divided by the following areas:
– cardiology area.
– neurological area.
– pneumonological area.
– gastroenterological area.
What are the consequences?
In some cases, panic attacks become a double-edged sword, since the person considers them a dangerous situation and is afraid of suffering them. This leads to any sign that tells you that you are going to suffer one, being understood as a threat by your body and causing a new panic attack.
That is, they suffer panic attacks out of fear of having panic attacks . Also for this reason, many people abruptly change their lives, their routines, their hobbies, etc; in order to avoid suffering them.
Another problem that we can find is the triggering of other disorders such as:
– Anxiety disorder due to the difficulty of controlling the situation and the fear of suffering from them.
– The depression , as fear seizes them, are isolated and feel that their life becomes meaningless.
– Problems with the abusive consumption of substances : With which they try to alleviate the anxiety that causes them, escape from fear and disconnect from reality.
– Agoraphobia , that is, fear of open spaces.
Do you have treatment? Which?
There are several treatments with which to deal with panic attacks, the best known are: pharmacological treatment and psychological treatment, based on psychotherapy. Generally, both are used, since they complement each other, although therapy without drugs is totally valid and effective, preventing the person from establishing a dependency on the former.
– Pharmacological treatment : Before panic attacks, psychiatrists prescribe anxiolytics to calm anxiety and antidepressants to reduce possible depression. It is not advisable to go to this type of treatment, or take antidepressants as prevention.
– Psychological treatment : This treatment is based on psychotherapy or cognitive-behavioral therapy, where the psychologist, based on dialogue, will teach you to face crises, to face situations that cause panic, to understand what is happening to you, etc. All this, giving you resources with which to reduce anxiety and fear and control the situation.
Some specialists believe that if the patient incorporates activities to these two types of treatments that help them calm down , breathe deeply, feel calm; how they can become: yoga , meditation or mindfulness , relaxation, etc, as well as feeling understood, supported, etc; recovery and learning to control fear can be positively affected.
However, if you think you may be suffering from panic attacks, the first thing you have to do is go to a specialist , he or she will assess your circumstances and recommend the treatment that he or she thinks is most appropriate for your case, and will also follow up with you. him than being able to adapt it appropriately.