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Can you have anxiety without panic attacks?

Discussion in 'General Support and Advice' started by Lauren12, Dec 27, 2018.

  1. Lauren12

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    Hi I don't know if this is the right place to put it or not....

    Basically I was just wondering is it possible to have anxiety without having panic attacks?

    I've done a fair amount of reading (probably not wise) and my feelings seem to match but I don't tend to have much of the physical side of things - ie I don't have panic attacks but do wind myself up with my heart going quick. I'm always worrying, jumping from worry to worry, and I can't seem to stop it. I feel nervous and on edge and just can't seem to relax and stop thinking. I'm crying much more frequently at little things and just thoughts and worries in my head which are ridiculous if I said them aloud to people. I feel bad pretty much most of the time that I am not giving family, friends, girlfriend enough attention because I am thinking other things when I am with them.

    I can't concentrate and feel sick a lot of the time (from worry probably) but I don't have panic attacks and palpitations and things like that (my girlfriend has anxiety and has panic attacks and passes out every day if she doesn't take medication). I worry about her a lot, every day, that she is going to start passing out again everyday or do something/hurt herself and I keep thinking these things in my mind and can't stop worrying.
     
  2. mychemromance99

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    Yes, you can have anxiety without having panic attacks. Panic attacks are an extremmeffect of anxiety.
     
  3. KyleD

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    Panic attacks don't necessarily mean passing out. I can carry out complex tasks in a midst of a panic attack. I have experienced a panic attack in a crowd full of people and no one has realized that I am having a panic attack. I get panic attacks whenever I drive and this will involve my heart beating rapidly, intense breathing and it feels like I am about to die. However, if I press on then in about 10 minutes or so my panic attack will subside.

    The difference between panic attacks and anxiety is that panic attacks usually have a trigger. If you can avoid the trigger you can avoid having a panic attack.
     
    #3 KyleD, Dec 27, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2018
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  4. KyleD

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    However, I think the major difference is the detachment involved with a panic attack; it's a feeling of the world slowing down around you as in the movies. Also, with panic attacks you actually feel like you are going to die; that's the scariest thing about panic attacks especially when you have experienced them for the first time.

    Nevertheless, the physical symptoms of an anxiety attack and a panic attack are the same. Both feel like you are having a heart attack.
     
    #4 KyleD, Dec 27, 2018
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  5. RavenTheRat

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    Yes, I believe so. Now I’m not a doctor and I can’t diagnose you, but what you’re experiencing sounds a lot like the way my anxiety is. Lots of overthinking and ridiculous worries that seem so real to you (Example; about a week ago I experienced some nasal drainage and was absolutely convinced my spinal fluid was leaking into my throat- most of my anxiety is health related).
    If you do have anxiety, you may have experienced panic attacks that you don’t realize ARE panic attacks- they can have varying severity and it sounds like your gf is on the VERY far end of that spectrum.
    You do seem to experience physical symptoms of anxiety from what you said- nausea and the like.
     
  6. Lauren12

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    Thankyou for your replies

    I suppose I just don't know what to think cos I've been helping my gf with hers for quite a while (she doesn't really tend to overthink/worry and her panic attacks seem quite random when they happen, same with her gaspy breaths and before all this the multiple passing outs each day). I suppose this was my definition of anxiety and comparison level. I don't have any of this and so with myself I see it as though I need to stop the thoughts and worry and think about something else but I can't and my girlfriend doesn't need to see me going into overdrive in my head worrying and making scenarios up and winding myself up.

    I was reading some bits today on how to try and chill these thoughts and it suggested that I may like these thoughts as they give me a sense of control but that doesn't help stop them. It just gives me more things to think about - like primarily my worries /thoughts /scenarios are about people close to me (thoughts like my dad dying in a car crash on the way to work and then having to sort everything cos I am the one in my fam that just deals with stuff and gets on with it or I worry about my gf passing out randomly (this did happen but not really anymore since she's started the beta blockers) crossing the road on her way to work and then she starts passing out every day again randomly while doing things like cooking and showering). These sort of thoughts make me feel really clingy to whoever the thought is about but I don't show the clingy by reacting that way because that wouldn't be ideal and they would be like stop it, ofc I got to work okay, etc.

    I just want to be more relaxed and less controlled and uptight and enjoy things without the constant worry about someone else in my head all of the time but I just don't know how to do it and stop my thinking and worry about them - do you have any ideas?
     
  7. smurf

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    Two things here.

    Like everyone else said, anxiety attacks can definitely be way more subtle than we think. I suffered through panic attacks pretty much my whole life and it wasn't until last year that I realized I suffer from a mild case of generalized anxiety. It wasn't until this year that I had the "aha" moment where I realized that I have panic attacks like 3 times a week and I just though it was a normal thing. It wasn't until then that I realized how taxing anxiety can be. Just because you are in the more mild side of anxiety doesn't mean that it isn't real and that you still need to seek help for it.

    Right now it sounds like you are taking care of your girlfriend to a degree that is completely unhealthy to you. You are suffering alone with no one else to help you and that is fucked up. You have got to talk to someone and you need your own support system. From the sound of it, and keep in mind I'm not a professional, your anxiety seems to be connected to taking care of your loved ones. Which pretty much means you are in a loop of anxiety by taking care of your girlfriend without seeking help yourself. You need time to heal as well.

    Are you seeing a therapist?

    Go to therapy if you have access to it. Seriously, go talk with someone.

    Anxiety is different for each person. Each one of us have our own triggers, our own causes of it all and things work differently for each person.

    For me, my anxiety comes from taking care of others. Comes from trauma created by surviving a war in Colombia and surviving as an immigrant here in the US. So now that I know the causes it gets a bit easier to get a long with my anxiety.

    For example, one day we were having a plumber come to the house. in a 2 minute span I could picture the plumber killing my husband, taking his body apart and then hiding him from me. All because...reasons? My heart started racing, I started sweating, my thoughts were all over the place and then because I knew what was happening I could talk with myself through it. "Okay, so you really care about him it seems? That's cool. Silly anxiety. Okay, this is happening and it will end. He is fine. You are fine. Go you for loving him" And then I can wait the 5- 10 minutes through breathing exercises and get on with my day.

    Before therapy I would have to call, text my husband and then cancel the plumber until I can spend 10 days researching a company that I can guarantee would not employ a murderer lol So little steps.

    Right now I have my anxiety fairly under control where it doesn't stop me doing most things.

    Things that helped me:

    -Getting sleep. If I'm tired then I simply don't have the energy to talk myself down from an attack.
    - Exercising helps me keep moving. Hate it with a passion and every time I go in feels like a punishment, but not doing it is far more taxing. Now I'm just hoping that eventually I will fucking like it.
    - Talk with people who have anxiety about it. Meeting people who suffer through this and being able to vent about it, cry and laugh has been sooo healing. Not having to explain to people that the thoughts feel real or worrying about them thinking im nuts helps.
    - Get a support system. Ask for help through stuff. You don't have to do it all by yourself. You will burn yourself out.
     
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  8. Kevin k

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    Oh yes. For sure. Panic attacks just occur when there is so much anxiety your mind doesn't know how to deal with it all.