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Alicia_MSW
Alicia_MSW, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Specializing in mental health counseling
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what are panic attacks and how do they differ from phobias

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what are panic attacks and how do they differ from phobias?
Hello,

I'm Alicia, I'm happy to help you today.

Both phobias and panic disorder are types of anxiety disorders.

A phobia is a specific fear of an event, place or thing, which causes an intense physical reaction - you avoid the thing, event or place which you fear,. Additionally, phobias are irrational - so you might know on a conscious level that it's not rational to be afraid of spiders, for example, but because of a traumatic experience you might have had with a spider when you were younger, you may have developed a phobia of spiders (arachnophobia), although there are many other types of common phobias. You might find this information helpful:
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/phobias.html

Panic attacks, on the other hand, are intense episodes of fear where your body's flight-or-fight mechanism is activated in response to an actual or imagined stressor. They can seem to occur from out of nowhere. The symptoms vary, but usually include physical symptoms such as sweating, shaking, being short of breath, and heart palpitations, among others. Again, you might find this information from the Mayo Clinic to be useful, as it describes the symptoms and treatments in depth:
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/panic-attacks/DS00338

I hope that helps!
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