Panic Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder GAD are two of the most common forms of anxiety, but they are distinctly different conditions. Panic disorder is characterized by periods of intense fear or dread accompanied by physical symptoms such as rapid heart rate, sweating, shaking, nausea, difficulty breathing, chest pain, and/or dizziness. Although these symptoms are quite frightening, they usually do not last more than a few minutes and only occur in certain cases.
In contrast, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is a chronic condition characterized by excessive worry about everyday events or activities and difficulty managing these worries, as well as constant feelings of tension and worry. People with GAD often experience physical symptoms such as muscle tension, fatigue, anxiety, and difficulty concentrating. They may also have trouble sleeping or feel out of place most of the time.
Common symptoms associated with Panic Disorder include feelings of impending doom or danger, rapid breathing, rapid heartbeat, chest pain or anxiety, and/or feeling out of control or crazy. Symptoms associated with Generalized Anxiety Disorder include excessive worry and anxiety, difficulty concentrating or making decisions, restlessness, irritability, muscle tension, and difficulty sleeping.
Both Panic Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder can cause significant distress and impairment in various aspects of life, including work/school performance, social situations, relationships, and physical health. With the right treatment, it is possible to manage these conditions and lead a happier and more fulfilling life.
What is Panic Disorder?
Panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder in which people experience sudden, intense episodes of fear or distress. These episodes are known as panic attacks and can have physical, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral symptoms. In order to receive a diagnosis of panic disorder, a person must have recurrent, unexpected panic attacks, as well as persistent worry about additional attacks or behavioral changes due to fear or worry about having another attack.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) has specific criteria for the diagnosis of panic disorder, including recurrent unexpected panic attacks, symptoms such as palpitations and difficulty breathing, avoidance behavior due to fear or concern that another attack may occur, and intense physical feelings.
During a panic attack, individuals may experience physical symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, increased heart rate, nausea or abdominal discomfort, dizziness, and a sense of disconnection from the body. Cognitive symptoms such as fear of losing control or going crazy and fear of death are also common during panic attacks. Emotional symptoms include terror or a sense of impending doom, and behavioral symptoms may include avoidance behavior due to fear of another attack.
In addition to experiencing panic attacks, individuals with panic disorder often experience anticipatory anxiety about the possibility of future attacks. This can lead to behavioral changes, such as avoiding certain places or activities that may trigger an attack, which can negatively affect daily functioning and quality of life.
What is generalized anxiety disorder?
Generalized anxiety disorder is a common type of anxiety disorder characterized by excessive and persistent worry. People with generalized anxiety disorder often struggle to manage their anxiety, which can be intense, frequent and difficult to manage. They may be preoccupied with daily tasks or health problems that may cause physical symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, or difficulty sleeping. The individual may feel extremely tense or nervous, making them easily frustrated and less able to concentrate. They may also struggle with relationship problems due to their anxiety.
Generalized anxiety disorder is often associated with other mental health conditions, such as depression or substance use disorders, and can have a significant impact on an individual’s quality of life. People with this condition may also experience panic attacks, which can be very distressing and cause them to avoid certain situations or activities.
Fortunately, treatment for generalized anxiety disorder is available and usually involves a combination of therapy and medication. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based form of talk therapy that helps individuals identify patterns in their thinking or behavior that trigger anxiety and then develop strategies to change those patterns. Medications may also be used to help reduce anxiety symptoms, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or benzodiazepines. With the right treatment approach, an individual can reduce the intensity of anxiety and experience a better quality of life.
In conclusion, Panic Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder have distinct characteristics that make them unique from each other. Panic Disorder is characterized by sudden fear and extremely intense or nervous responses with physical symptoms, while Generalized Anxiety Disorder is marked by a person’s tendency to worry or fear about everyday life situations. Both conditions can cause significant difficulty in a person’s life, so it is important to seek professional help when in doubt. With the right treatment, individuals can manage their symptoms and lead healthier, fuller lives. Additionally, it can be helpful to remember that you are not alone in your struggle with anxiety. With the right support, help and care from family and friends as well as professionals, individuals can find the strength to face their fears and live life with less anxiety. .
New Era TMS and psychiatry have used a variety of resources for panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder sufferers. TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) is an FDA-approved, non-invasive therapy that uses magnetic pulses to stimulate areas of the brain involved in mood regulation. Designed to help reduce symptoms of panic and anxiety such as fear and tension. Psychiatrists may also use cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to help patients cope with their symptoms by changing the way they think about certain situations that cause anxiety.
There are organizations available to provide more in-depth support for those experiencing debilitating levels of anxiety or panic disorder. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) offers resources for anxiety and panic disorder, as well as general information about the condition and diagnostic and statistical guidance. In addition, NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) provides a variety of programs and services to individuals living with mental illness.
You are not alone, Anew Era TMS & Psychiatry makes treatment plans unique to you. Take our quiz and start understanding your symptoms or get a free consultation and start feeling better today!