Anxiety: Is a normal reaction to stress. In general, it helps one cope. But when anxiety becomes an excessive, irrational dread of everyday situations, it has become a disabling anxiety disorder. Anxiety can be accompanied by physical effects such as heart palpitations, nausea, chest pain, shortness of breath, stomach aches, or headaches. Physically the body prepares to deal with the threat. Blood pressure and heart rate are increased, sweating is increased, blood flow to muscle groups increases and immune and digestive system functions are inhibited (the fight or flight response). External signs of anxiety may include pale skin, sweating, trembling and many others. Someone suffering from anxiety might also experience it as a sense of dread or panic.
Panic Attacks: are sudden urges of overwhelming fear that comes without warning and without any obvious reason. It is far more intense than having anxiety or the feeling of being stressed out that most people experience. People who have full-blown, repeated panic attacks can become very disabled by their condition and should seek treatment before they start to avoid places or situations where panic attacks have occurred. Panic attacks are not dangerous, but they can be terrifying, largely because it feels crazy and out of control. Panic disorder is frightening because of the complications such as phobias, depression, substance abuse, medical complications, even suicide. If you would like any further information I suggest that you check out this site: www.anxietypanic.com
Before getting up in front of 200 people to give a very important speech, our bodies secrete adrenaline that is pumped through our bodies and gives us that pounding heart, sweaty hands, butterfly stomach, shakey hands etc. The thing is we expect to feel like that before such an event....we know that once we get on with it and perhaps moreso when it is over, we will feel better and the symptoms will leave us.
however when the same symptoms happen for no apparent reason, we completely freak out, it's like it's the end of the world, this is the classic panic attack and yet it's the same chemically as the once described above, but the fact that we don't know "why" it's happening makes it much worse. What we have to say to ourselves is that it will pass!
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