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  • Writer's pictureAgustya Hariharan

Panic V/S Anxiety

Anxiety, fear, panic, suicide. We throw words like these around every day, but we know so little about them. In today’s generation, where education and physical health seem to be the only important things, it’s so easy to let mental health fall through the cracks of an otherwise extremely busy lifestyle. Today, I’m going to try to shine light on some parts of the dark depths of our brain, known only to us, as mental health.

Panic versus Anxiety In your life, you’re bound to have experienced moments of fear in response to a threat or something alike. Maybe you were stressed about exams, or a big presentation, maybe life wasn’t going your way. All these examples depict moments of anxiety, of nervousness and worry. Anxiety seems bad but in most cases, it’s a defense mechanism to help us deal with the challenges we face everyday. However, anxiety can become debilitating, it can develop disorders and completely change the way your mind works, and it’s never a pretty sight. Anxiety disorders will range from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, to anxiety attacks. OCD is a condition that can develop through periods of great anxiety, where we start to have constantly recurring thoughts and obsessions. These thoughts are usually uncontrollable and consuming, and can sometimes lead to compulsions to do the wrong things. Anxiety attacks are another type of anxiety disorder, but are experienced completely differently from OCD. An anxiety attack is quite different from a panic attack as well, which you’ll see further in the blog when I explain those too. Anxiety attacks are based more on perceived dangers, rather than current ones, and are usually caused mainly by overthinking. Having an anxiety attack means feelings of upcoming doom, helplessness, can’t breathe and can't speak, experiencing a racing heartbeat, and chest pains. Panic, on the other hand, is unpredictable, panic will come and go based on the situation and there will always be a trigger to a panic attack. Anything can trigger you, things can even trigger memories that trigger you. A trigger can range from anything, that one embarrassing moment in the 8th grade can be a trigger, seeing someone’s face can be a trigger, even listening to a specific song has been known to trigger people. We experience panic attacks when we feel boxed in (metaphorically) in our lives, when we feel like there’s too much going on and it’s all too overwhelming. A panic attack feels similar to an anxiety attack, except panic attacks are episodes of intense dread. To experience a panic attack, you have to have experienced severe mental trauma, in simple words. Panic attacks can last for hours and can only get worse if left untreated. Studies show that over 15% of all adolescents experience panic attacks, and that number only gets higher as we go forward. This is all to say that you are not alone when you experience a lapse in your mental health, and that it’s always better to ask for help.

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