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Anxiety vs. Panic Disorder

The teenage years come with nervousness, anxiety, and feeling overwhelmed. Teens are continually establishing their identity, realizing that they are growing up and, even more importantly, learning that they are about to be adults. No longer children, teenagers are just one step away from adulthood. As such, it is essential to understand the difference between anxiety versus panic disorder. We must support our young adults who struggle with these conditions to develop the tools to practice positive coping skills. Our anxiety treatment for teens program will support young adults dealing with mental health disorders.

What Is Anxiety?

Anxiety is the reaction your mind and body has to dangerous or unfamiliar situations. Often, people will feel distressed and, in some cases, even dread upcoming events because they can trigger traumatic experiences. While normal anxiety helps us all remain aware of our surroundings and acknowledge our feelings, an anxiety disorder can paralyze us, keeping us from being able to confront our fears. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a persistent, excessive, and unrealistic worry about everyday things. When an adolescent experiences GAD, they don’t primarily feel optimism and fearlessness. Instead, they are pessimistic and unable to follow through on daily routines. They are also unable to consider branching out and trying new activities.

Signs of Anxiety

After understanding what anxiety is, you can identify examples of anxiety present in teens. Parents and other adults must pay attention to teenagers with anxiety who need support in developing positive coping skills. These are signs of anxiety that we should watch:

  • No interest in participating in activities that were once enjoyed
  • Decreased social interactions
  • Poor academic performance
  • Using negative phrases such as “I can’t do this” or “I’m not good”
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Moody
  • Appearing irritable
  • Using drugs or alcohol to numb their pain
  • Withdrawing from people and places that will trigger anxiety

What Is Panic Disorder?

While anxiety or anxiety disorder is associated with distress related to a situation or event, panic disorders are different. Learning what a panic disorder is and how it is different from anxiety will help you realize the distinct differences between both conditions. A panic disorder is a mental health disorder with unpredictable attacks. Young adults with panic disorder feel anxiety and physical symptoms ranging from nausea and stomachs to difficulty breathing. In addition, teens will constantly worry about future panic attacks. Often, they will work to change their behaviors to avoid these attacks. However, avoiding situations or using substances to numb pain are not positive coping skills. Working with a mental health therapist will help teens learn how to deal with panic attacks positively with the support of peers.

Signs of Panic Disorder

Panic attacks should not be mistaken for anxiety attacks as they are very different occurrences. While anxiety is often associated with emotional triggers related to a specific event, situation, or person, panic attacks can happen at any time without any warning. Here are some signs of a panic disorder that can occur in young adults:

  • Dizziness
  • Chest pains
  • Contemplating suicide
  • Experiencing chills
  • Fears associated with losing control
  • Feeling breathless
  • Headaches
  • Hyperventilating
  • Heart palpitations
  • Numb
  • Stomachs
  • Sweating and shaking
  • Visions of failure or embarrassment

While the signs of anxiety can be similar to a panic disorder, some apparent differences are present. When we consider what a panic disorder is and its impact on young adults, it is essential to remember that we have to teach them methods of realizing they are about to experience a panic attack to confront the challenge immediately.

Get Mental Health Treatment at Destinations for Teens

When we are comparing anxiety versus panic disorder, it is essential to remember:

  • Anxiety refers to the anticipation of a stressful event and often occurs over time.
  • A panic attack disorder is a sudden and intense event that occurs at any time. Specific stressors do not necessarily bring it on.

At Destinations for Teens, we provide comprehensive mental health treatment services to support young adults experiencing anxiety and panic attacks. Our programs will teach young adults to identify and acknowledge their challenges and then learn healthy ways to navigate life by dealing with their challenges. Contact us at 877.466.0620 for more information.