Describe the difference between Anxiety and Panic disorder. Also, include information on common triggers of both.

Describe the difference between Anxiety and Panic disorder. Also, include information on common triggers of both.

The panic and anxiety disorders

Barlow (2008) Says that, anxiety disorders is a continuous anxiety which is characterized by individual reacting to threats and situations that are usually out of hand and cannot be avoided. It is usually a psychological and physiological state. Whereas panic is a mood similar to fear and is a physiological arousal whereby a person experiences uncontrolled fear, general discomfort and some times stomach pain. Panic disorder may result from earlier events or it can develop later in a person’s life. In some people there is fainting, trembling of the body, muscle pain both in the neck and in the shoulders and being so obsessed about a particular subject. While in others they experience general impatience, difficulty in falling asleep and fear of dying (Barlow, 2008).

He further says that, panic disorder is an acquired fear of certain bodily sensations which are as a result of behavioral response. He describes the nature of the panic disorders as discrete episodes of fear that is usually accompanied by physical and cognitive symptoms.

According to Barlow (2008), some patients say that panic attacks usually appear without any trigger and it comes in times when it is not expected. In most cases people having the panic disorders usually experiences the urge to flight but in rare cases do they have the urge to fight back. But in some people the urgency to escape, the automatic arousal and perception of treat is usually absent.

The effects of panic and anxiety disorders to most individuals are said to be chest pain, headaches, difficulty in breathing, increased heart beating, stomach aches and nausea but some individuals experiences all the above listed effects (Barlow, 2008).

Panic and anxiety disorders is said to be caused by life experiences which can be abusive in nature. It is also said to be caused by extreme poverty and violence both emotionally and physically. The panic and anxiety disorder is hereditary. In that the genetic factor that runs in the families combined with the life experiences causes these disorders. People with low self esteem and very poor coping skills are likely to suffer from panic and anxiety disorders. In some people it is caused by the brain chemistry where by symptoms is realized by chemicals from the medicines. while in some individuals the causes of panic and anxiety disorders is said to be mental and prolonged illnesses such as cancer, bulimia and HIV -Aids among others and to others it is the lack of balanced diet, unhappiness in marriages and relationships and extreme addiction t o drugs (Barlow, 2008).Drug addition can be a cause of panic and anxiety disorder whereby the addict is in a continuous state of panic wherever he is out of drugs (Barlow, 2007).

There are various types of the anxiety disorder. First, there is the agoraphobia. And it is a situation whereby, people who have it usually have panic attacks and the symptoms associated with it. These people generally fear going to certain places where they feel they can not get help or they cannot get home safely. In this type of anxiety disorder, individuals usually apply avoidance tactic where they avoid going to places such as the church, standing in long lines, using elevators and eating certain foods among others.

Secondly, there is the panic disorder as a type of anxiety disorder. This is whereby individuals have waves of fear for such things as heights, insects, certain places, people and darkness among others (Barlow, 2008).

There is also the post traumatic stress disorder where individual suffer from the reoccurrence of stressful events. This can be caused by either being a victim or simply by being a victim of the circumstances or just a witness. The victim experiences the stressful events either through nightmares or through flashbacks and they usually have difficulty in falling a sleep or their sleeps are characterized by wailings and the general fear of dying if they fall asleep

There is also the specific phobia where individuals have fear for certain objects, places, people, insects and even animals and this type of phobia usually interferes with the daily functioning of individuals. There is also the social phobia and public speaking where individuals experiencing it have the problem of interacting with people. These people usually avoid going to places that there are a lot of people. Such places include churches, dancing halls and even schools and it can be due to a very stressful event (Barlow, 2008)

Treatment of the anxiety disorders can take months and sometimes years. The first and the most crucial aspect in the treatment of this disorder is the acceptance stage. This is the stage where an individual accepts that he/she has a problem. After the acceptance stage, the individual visualizes the causes of the disorder before seeking doctor’s help. It is also essential to share out your problem with someone you trust and this can either be a close friend or a relative and it is after these stages that the victim sees a specialist for further diagnosis and medication The anxiety disorders can either be treated by administering various medicines or by using herbal medicines such as the St Johns wart and Vitamin B complement supplements. But the most preferred form of treatment is self administered treatment. This is whereby the victim is in a position to help himself/herself during the attack. Incase of an attack the victims are advised to remain calm and cool and try and much as possible to contradict the negative thoughts by replacing them with the positive thoughts. For example if the during the attack the victim is thinking he /she is going die, he/she should counter attack these thoughts by thinking positively. Other suggested forms of treatment for anxiety disorders are the yoga dance, aromatherapy, acupuncture and the modern medication (Barlow, 2008).

In preventing the panic attack one can apply breathing therapy. The victim can prevent the occurrence of the panic attacks by breathing in and out twice daily. It is also recommended that, people with the phobias should apply avoidance tactics whereby, they avoid exposing themselves to the sources of their fears. Another preventive measure of the disorder is by making the victims overcome the triggers by making them exposed to them (Barlow, 2008).

In conclusion, failure to treat panic and anxiety disorders can cause harm to an individual’s physical, mental, and emotional health. The victims can also develop traits that can make them hypersensitive to criticism and rejection from the peers. Therefore, it is essential for every victim of panic and anxiety to accept that their situation and then strive to get long lasting treatment for the same.


Barlow. D Clinical handbook of psychological disorders, a step by step treatment,                                      Guilford press, New York (2008)

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