Anxiety disorder or Panic Disorder - Social Anxiety Forum
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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 04-08-2009, 08:08 PM Thread Starter
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Anxiety disorder or Panic Disorder

How to determine the difference between an anxiety disorder and a panic disorder?

Especially how to tell the difference between having Social Anxiety with panic attacks, or Panic Disorder with social cues.

I'm now convinced that I actually have Panic Disorder with social cues. Actually, I think I have panic disorder that I can manage when I'm not in social situations. I usually have (the only way to describe it is a 'mini panic attack') about 10 - 20 times a day. They usually fade within a second as mysteriously as they appeared. But when I'm in a social situation, especially if I'm talking, they don't go away, and I remain in a severe panic state where I can hardly function. I can't talk, can't walk, have trouble breathing, racing heart, sweating, can't think right, can't remember even my own name- I become totally incapacitated during a panic attack.

The thing is, these panic attacks come frequently and randomly throughout the day, but just disappear within a second, it's only in social situations like when I have to talk that they remain for minutes.

So I think I have more of a Panic Disorder rather than an anxiety disorder.
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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 04-08-2009, 09:11 PM Thread Starter
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Never mind, found what I was looking for on Google

Never mind, I found what I was looking for on Google.
I've seen a few threads on here asked the difference between anxiety attacks and panic attacks. The consensus was that they were the same thing. I have also wanted to know the difference between social anxiety and social phobia. From this article that I found, I now understand the difference.

Anxiety disorders are excessive worrying about something about a person's life/career/health, that can create anxiety attacks whereby the worrying reaches a height accompanied by physical symptoms. Panic disorders including phobias, are an instance of intense fear, that is centered or focused within the mind or the INSIDE of the person. In panic attacks, the symptoms are so intense, that they become the problem itself, and the stimuli or thing that causes the panic attack itself, no longer becomes worthy of attention. In panic attacks, the panic becomes the problem, while in anxiety attack, the thing that was the problem remains the problem but the symptoms become more intense.

An anxiety attack is when something bad happens to you or youíre thinking about something bad and you get really anxious. You can get so anxious that you might even have some physical symptoms. For example, you might get shaky, your heart might race, or you might get short of breath. An anxiety attack can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few days. The main feature of an anxiety attack is that you are worrying about something in your LIFE (for example, relationships, work, school, money).

A panic attack on the other hand comes on all of a sudden, out of the blue for no reason at all, and itís all about your BODY or your MIND. You suddenly feel like you must be having a heart attack (or a stroke, or passing out, or choking, or vomiting, or going crazy, or losing all control) because your heart is racing, youíre short of breath, you may have nausea or tightness in your throat, and youíre shaking. A panic attack comes on within ten minutes, but can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. The main feature of a panic attack is that you are worrying about your BODY or your MIND right then and there, rather than worrying about something in your life. Most people with panic attacks have gone to an emergency room at least once to make sure nothing physical was going on.

Some people actually have anxiety attacks that turn into panic attacks. For example, they will start to worry about something stressful in their lives, but then once they get worked up enough, they will start to worry about whatís going on in their bodies or their minds instead. The treatment for a panic attacks that are triggered by anxiety attacks is the same as that used for panic disorder.

As I mentioned before, the distinction between anxiety attacks and panic attacks is important because it will change the type of treatment you are likely to respond to. For one thing, if you have panic attacks, then antidepressants should only be started at very low doses initially because otherwise they can trigger an increase in your panic attacks (i.e. because you are very sensitive to your body). In contrast, with anxiety attacks, you can usually be started at a normal dose of antidepressants right away (and yes, antidepressants work great for anxiety, even if you are not depressed!). Benzodiazepines (such as Xanax, Klonopin, Ativan, and Valium) will work well for both panic attacks and anxiety attacks, but you are more likely to run into problems with habituation (i.e. getting used to the benzodiazepine) when you have anxiety attacks because those tend to be more frequent. When it comes to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, the most effective technique by far for panic attacks will be the interoceptive (body) exposures; whereas, for anxiety attacks, the most effective techniques will usually be relaxation training and thought restructuring. In addition, when you are using cognitive behavioral therapy, you are far more likely to need to do agoraphobia exposures if you have panic attacks because they can so easily trigger agoraphobia (i.e. the avoidance of certain situation and activities)."
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