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how to distinguish between bipolar and anxiety/panic?

I have panic attacks from time to time when im falling in or out of sleep that last for like 3-5 seconds.  I'm generally anxious throughout the day, constantly aware of my heartbeat in my chest/abdomen area.  I like to tap my foot or something to distract myself from my heartbeat.  I have thought I had every disease under the sun and now I'm stuck on bipolar.  Recreational cocaine and alcohol use sparked my first panic attack in december and i've been messed up since.

What are the distinguishing characteristics between panic/anxiety disorder and bipolar?
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Avatar universal
i posted this a while back..when i was so afraid that i was bipolar or schitzo..i look back and laugh a lil cuz anxiety is an A-hole..but read all the way and you'll understand the big differences..

Heres something i was reading and will hopefully rest ur weary minds about going insane and all k..

Common anxiety and clinical depression are types of "neurosis”. Psychosis is the term for a mental disorder that causes a person to lose touch with reality and that may cause them to have hallucinations and delusions. Mental disorders that are in the psychosis category include bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Anxiety and common clinical depression are both in the neurosis category, meaning they are stress- and nerve-related and not caused by a severe underlying mental disorder.

Persons with severe forms of depression, such as bipolar disorder, may have psychotic episodes but your more common type of clinical depression anxiety disorders are not in the psychosis category, but rather are types of neurosis (psychoneurosis). According to the National Institute of Mental Health, psychosis affects an estimated 1% of the U.S. population, while the more common anxiety and depression conditions affect a much higher percentage (perhaps as many as 1 in 4 or 25% of the American population experience an anxiety disorder and/or clinical depression at some time during their lives).

Anxiety-related “depersonalization” and “de-realization” can be mistaken for psychotic episodes. Depersonalization is an anxiety-induced experience where a person feels he or she is “unreal” or no longer exists as a person. They may even feel they are no longer visible to other people and that others around them remain real but they no longer are. Some patients describe it as feeling like they are watching their own actions from outside of themselves, and they no longer feel like a human being but have become robotic. Patients have described episodes, for example, of looking at their own face in a mirror and wondering if they are really there. They may also feel as if they no longer recognize themselves and feel as if they are having an identity crisis.
De-realization, is similar, except that the person’s surroundings seem to lose reality. With de-realization, an anxiety sufferer will have episodes of experiencing feelings that their surroundings have become unreal. They may also feel as if reality itself is no longer something they can fully recognize during these moments. They may also question the reality of many things at these times, and may begin to wonder if life is simply a dream of some type. Some anxiety sufferers describe this experience as being like “living inside a bubble”, or like they are trying to see everything through a haze or a thick fog. This is also referred to as “brain fog”.

Anxiety sufferers need to understand the fact that these de-realization and depersonalization symptoms do not indicate that they are going insane or actually losing touch with reality. They are both very common occurrences in anxiety sufferers, especially those who experience panic attacks and will not cause damage to a person’s mind or sanity. This fear of going insane is a very concerning one to people who experience severe anxiety and panic, and also to those who experience major/clinical depression. Indeed, anxiety and panic often co-exist, but these are irrational thoughts that will not happen.

The major features of bipolar disorder are different from common clinical depression. The name “bipolar disorder” describes "two opposite extremes". People with this mental disorder will have episodes of severe depressed mood, followed by episodes of manic behavior (mania, meaning periods of extreme, elated feelings). In fact during manic episodes, a bipolar person may seem full of energy and want to go on late-night shopping sprees, or work on a new project for long hours. They may also go without sleep for many days or even weeks at a time. Bipolar depressive disorder was previously referred to as “manic depression” because of the episodes of mania that are a feature of it. Bipolar disorder patients tend to feel self-exalted at these manic times, thinking they are very special and greater/stronger than the average person, which is delusional thinking. Some bipolar people have "mixed episodes”, when these severely depressed and manic spells may cycle more rapidly.
Anxiety sufferers may experience episodes of “catastrophic thinking”, but this symptom is also not related to psychosis. Catastrophic thinking also happens to many anxiety sufferers and is referred to as the “what ifs” (fear of possible events). Anxiety disorder patients describe thoughts of losing control of themselves in front of others and making themselves look silly or foolish. Other patients may have fear that they might pass out and need the aid of an ambulance, but not be found in time by someone who can call one for them. Other anxiety sufferers have described fears of snapping and committing violence to other people around them, or that they might run down a grocery store isle, screaming or fall to the floor and curl up in a ball.
One of the reasons catastrophic thinking is also unpleasant is because these fearful thoughts can increase and intensify the already-present anxiety symptoms. Catastrophic thinking, in fact, can be a trigger for panic episodes in some people who struggle with it. This “what if” thinking tends to lead from one thought to another, until many fearful thoughts are all happening simultaneously, which could be referred to as a snowball type of effect. The thoughts gain momentum and grow larger and scarier to the anxiety sufferer, as they increase during episodes of intense anxiety.

Common anxiety and depression can have serious symptoms of their own, but they do not cause patients to become delusional or hallucinate. This is the major difference between neurosis and psychosis.
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