Many people ask the same question when they're having a panic attack because the symptoms of both are very similar. In fact, thousands of people are rushed to the emergency year believing that they are having a heart attack when in fact they are having a panic attack.
So, how can you tell the difference? It's not always easy to tell the difference. In both instances, you'll experience an increased heart rate often with irregular heartbeats.
A very important distinction is that a panic attack is usually not accompanied with severe pain while some having a heart attack may experience pain in the chest, arms, neck, jaw or stomach. The pain may come and go, or may not be present at all while having a heart attack.
Rapid breathing and feeling as if you can not get enough air is a symptom of both panic attacks and heart attacks so the distinction may be difficult to decipher. For someone who is in the middle of a panic attack, it may be hard to remember that they can regulate their breathing by taking a slow-deep breath.
Another set of symptoms that can be present in both heart attacks and panic attacks are nausea, light headedness and breaking out into a cold sweat.
After a panic attack the person will return to normal and have none of the symptoms, while the symptoms of a heart attack will not disappear on their own.
It's really difficult to self diagnose whether or not you have a heart attack or a panic attack so getting a professional medical evaluation is highly recommended. Getting diagnosed after having a panic attack will put you on the path ofcoming future panic attacks.
Some people can have a panic attack and never have another again. For others, the first panic attack leads to the start of panic disorder where you experience panic attacks regularly. In order to overcome panic disorder, you need to know that you are healthy and will not die.
Once you understand that you will not die, you've tackled the first hurdle toward getting better. Next you'll need to actually face your fear and invite a panic attack. I know it sounds strange but waiting for one to happen and actually trying to make one happen and coming out on the other side of it is what will help you get over them. You see, the worry about having another panic attack is what actually causes them. You search for tingling sensations or heart palpitations constantly and the minute something feels a bit off, you're thrown into full-blown panic.
I was fortunately enough to find a method that helped me increase my panic disorder and have been panic free for over a year.
I wish you well.