Could you answer please the question what is the difference between an "anxiety attack" and a "stress attack" or are they one in the same?


Are there any doctors on the forum? My mother get's these quite often. Problem is when she has them it's difficult to differenciate if it's a stress/anxiety attack or a heart problem.

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I can add nausea, tingling/numbness in extremities, an elephant on your chest and blurry or tunnel vision. Small wonder we think we're going to die.
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Any attack episode that has similar physical characteristics to anxiety would fall under "anxiety," "stress," or "panic" attack name, I would think.

Common symptoms are chest pain, pain down left arm, sense of impending dread, thinking something bad will happen, thinking you will die, having a hard time breathing deeply or catching your breath, racing thoughts and heart rate. I might've forgotten a few common symptoms. When they are new, they certainly can feel like a heart attack is coming on. It's true that your mom should get used to new sensations in an anxiety attack that she then labels "just" an anxiety attack, and then she knows that's what it is, not a heart attack, and no ER visit needed.

Is there any obvious reason your mom would get anxiety attacks? Not always, but usually there is a cause, something that pushes physical stress symptoms to an overload and the body starts responding with anxiety attack episodes.

They're treatable with benzodiazepines but also anti-depressants have been known to help. There are a couple of anti-allergy meds that have dual or off-label use as anti-anxiety, like hydroxyzine and dyphenhydramine (ZzzQuil).

Why don't you get your mom's heart fully checked out with doctor, then get a plan in place for medicating the attacks...? That would keep your mom comfortable. If you can get to the root of why your mom's body is going haywire, it might be good info to know, but won't stop the attack. Knowing it's "only an anxiety attack" has never prevented one.
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Many people having their first panic attack mistake it for a heart attack and go to ER. I agree that when you’ve had a cardiac workup and are deemed fine and free of heart problems you get to know your friend the panic attack well.

To me, a panic attack is a physical thing, because it can be a great day and going well and an attack can come from nowhere. I’ve had them since I was in my 30s. At that time I was healthy and so the panic attack diagnosis was pretty easy. Then I stopped having them for twenty years. Now I’ve begun having them again and they seem to be caused by health problems AND stress. Every time I go see how my parents are doing I get one, at least one, while I’m there. It’s a vague feeling of unwell, which builds to nausea, breathelessness, heart rate of 120 and trembling. Then it’s soothed by a mild dose of Valium.

But to me illness is a cause in itself and stress is a cause in itself but together, whoa, a panic attack from hell arrives. I have COPD so shallow breathing makes one come on.

I’m sure she’s been checked out. I do believe a heart problem would be painful (don’t quote me) but a panic attack is distressing and there’s a fear feeling that’s overwhelming.
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I've never heard the term "stress attack". As for anxiety attacks, in my experience once you know that is what they are the symptoms become familiar enough that you usually know what it happening. Is this something new, does your mom have dementia, or is there another reason she/you can't tell the difference? If this is something new always err on the side of caution, of course, but once the docs have ruled out heart problems let them guide you in treating the anxiety.
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Er. Surely your question should be: "how do you tell the difference between an anxiety/panic/stress attack and a cardiac event"?

It can be difficult, because either can result from the other - and both ways round, too, when you think about it. A racing heart makes a person feel very anxious. Anxiety can make your heart race. Distinguishing cause and effect is not easy.

But don't ask the internet. Ask her doctor and her specialist cardiology nurse how to manage her symptoms from day to day.
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What are her symptoms during these attacks?
Is her anxiety being treated by a geriatric psychiatrist?
With my mom, we found that once we treated her anxiety medically, it was easier to ascertain what her physical needs were.

Actually, once her anxiety was under control, all of her cardiac meds were stopped.

( I'm not a doctor of medicine)
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