Panic Attack vs. Nervous Breakdown: Do You Know The Difference?

ladyImmense stress, anxiety and depression, if left untreated, can lead to serious mental health implications. Two of the more common instances of this manifest themselves as panic attacks and nervous breakdowns. Now, while they are extremely similar, they are in fact, not as similarly as many people seem to think.

Panic attacks are severe bouts of uncontrollable anxiety and fear, and these attacks usually come without any warning signs at all. A panic attack is a specific experience where the palms become sweaty and clammy, the heart races and the sufferer of the attack becomes anxious and nervous. Panic attacks have been known to last up to about 20 minutes, as the feeling of anxiety and nervousness slowly subsides.

In fact, a panic attack can and does often qualify as a nervous breakdown, but a nervous breakdown is a much broader term when used. This is because nervous exhaustion, burnout and extreme mental and physical fatigue fall under the same category as a nervous breakdown. The term often refers to a period of mental illness stemming from severe depression, stress, or anxiety. Therefore, a panic attack is more precise and refers to a certain kind of nervous breakdown.

It’s also important to know that self knowledge of these two very different forms of mental health issues, and knowing what works for you and what doesn’t work to quell the symptoms, is vital to overall health.

If you, or someone you know shows any of the various signs for either a panic attack or a nervous breakdown, it is important that professional medical attention is sought out to help reduce these instances and salvage the health of the individual.

If you’re ever in a situation where you feel that you’re having a panic attack, you should stop what you’re doing and step away from anyone in your surroundings. Try to keep as calm as possible, and concentrate on steady, normal breathing. Focus on doing all you can to calm yourself and to remind yourself that you can handle the situation efficiently and effectively.

Some other effective ways to reduce a panic attack include:
-Drinking cold water and/or splashing it over the face

-Talking with someone to help you relax

-Progressive muscle relaxation

Always remember that the good news is everyone has the ability to fully recover from both a nervous breakdown and a panic attack. Know what works for you to help reduce the symptoms when they arise, and you’ll be armed with the best way to diffuse the situation quickly.




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Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Tiina L

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