Difference Between a Seizure and a Panic Attack (With Table)

Panic attacks and seizures are two phenomena that can strike a person without warning and leave them puzzled and perpetually in doubt. The symptoms are numerous and strange. However, the underlying disorders occur directly in the brain, which is difficult to examine.

Seizure vs Panic Attack

The difference between a seizure and a panic attack is that Seizures can last anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes. However, a panic attack might last anywhere between a few seconds and several minutes. Surgery and antiepileptic medications are commonly used to treat seizures. Whereas counselling and antidepressant medicines can be used to treat it.

A seizure occurs when the brain’s electrical activity is triggered by neurons firing or misfiring in excess amounts, causing a variety of psychological symptoms followed by physical symptoms. Seizures can have negative consequences for your health and your brain. A brain tumour, a brain injury, a brain infection, hormonal imbalance leading to changes in brain chemistry, the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, and other variables are among the risk factors.

A panic attack is characterised by the appearance of extreme fear feelings without a solid explanation or cause or by the perception of a disproportionate threat. Specific phobias, GAD, panic disorder, PTSD, and ODD are common triggers for panic attacks. Panic attacks can be triggered by any previous negative event. If you make lifestyle adjustments, you can treat and prevent manic episodes.

Comparison Table Between a Seizure and a Panic Attack

Parameters of ComparisonSeizurePanic Attack
DefinitionElectrical activity is caused by neurons in the brain in excessive amounts by firing or misfiring very rapidly resulting in various psychological symptoms succeeded by different physical symptoms.Sudden development of physical and psychological symptoms due to the emergence of intense fear feeling without any valid cause.
SymptomsHeadaches, consciousness loss, uncontrolled bowel movements, bladder loss, rapid movement of eyes, dizziness, anxiety, severe mood swings.Sweating, nausea, chills, headaches, trembling, increased pulse rate, chest pain, hyperventilation, numbness, derealization.
Lasts up toUp to several minutes from a few seconds. Several seconds to a few minutes.
Risk factors includeBrain tumour, brain injury, brain infection, hormonal imbalance leading to change in the chemistry of the brain.Specific phobias, GAD, panic disorder, PTSD, ODD.
TreatmentSurgery and antiepileptic drugs.Psychotherapy and anti-depressant drugs.

What is a Seizure?

A seizure is a sudden and rapid electrical activity in the brain caused by neurons firing or misfiring in excess amounts, resulting in various psychological symptoms followed by various physical symptoms. A seizure might last anywhere from a few seconds to many minutes. A seizure can be harmful to one’s health and brain.

Some of the major symptoms of a seizure include headaches, loss of consciousness, increased confusion and dilemma, muscle spasms, teeth clenching, frothing in the mouth, uncontrollable bowel motions, bladder loss, rapid eye movement, dizziness, anxiety, and extreme mood changes.

A brain tumour, a brain injury, a brain infection, hormonal imbalance leading to changes in brain chemistry, the advent of Alzheimer’s disease, and so on are some of the risk factors. Seizures are usually treated with surgery and antiepileptic medications.

What is a Panic Attack?

A panic attack is the abrupt onset of psychological and physical symptoms as a result of the emergence of intense terror feelings for no apparent reason/cause or as a result of sensing a disproportionate threat.

Sweating, nausea, chills, headaches, shaking, elevated pulse rate, chest pain, hyperventilation, numbness, derealization, losing control of the body, fear of detachment or death are all signs of panic attacks.

A panic episode might last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. A panic attack is frequently brought on by underlying mental health disorders such as specific phobias, GAD, panic disorder, PTSD, and ODD, which have been witnessed in the past or dread of occurrence and repeat in the future.

Panic attacks can be triggered by any negative experience in the past. Panic attacks can be healed and prevented by making lifestyle adjustments. It can, however, be treated with psychotherapy and antidepressant medications.

Main Differences Between a Seizure and a Panic Attack

  1. When an electrical activity takes place in the brain, which is caused by neurons in excessive amounts by firing or misfiring very suddenly and rapidly, resulting in various psychological symptoms succeeded by different physical symptoms is called a seizure. On the other hand, the sudden development of psychological and physical symptoms due to the emergence of intense fear feeling without any valid reason/ cause or perceiving a disproportionate threat is called a panic attack.
  2. Headaches, consciousness loss, higher confusion and dilemma, muscle spasms, teeth getting clenched, frothing occurring on the mouth, uncontrolled bowel movements, bladder loss, rapid movement of eyes, dizziness, anxiety, severe mood swings are some of the serious symptoms of a seizure. On the other hand, sweating, nausea, chills, headaches, trembling, increased pulse rate, chest pain, hyperventilation, numbness, derealization, losing control from the body, fear of detachment or dying are some of the symptoms witnessed in case of panic attacks.
  3. Usually, a seizure lasts up to several minutes from a few seconds. On the other hand, a panic attack can be witnessed for several seconds to a few minutes as well.
  4. A seizure can have bad impacts on health and the brain. A few of the risk factors include brain tumour, brain injury, brain infection, hormonal imbalance leading to change in the chemistry of the brain, the emergence of Alzheimer’s disease, etc. On the other hand, a panic attack is usually caused due to underlying mental health issues witnessed in past or fear of occurrence and repetition in the future, such as specific phobias, GAD, panic disorder, PTSD, ODD. Any past bad experience can also trigger panic attacks.
  5. The treatment of seizures is generally done through surgery and antiepileptic drugs. On the other hand, panic attacks can be cured and prevented if changes are made in lifestyle. However, it is also cured through psychotherapy and anti-depressant drugs as well.

Conclusion

Some of the major symptoms of a seizure are headaches, loss of consciousness, increased confusion and difficulty, muscle spasms, teeth clenching, mouth-frothing, uncontrollable bowel movements, bladder loss, rapid eye movement, dizziness, anxiety, and extreme mood changes. Whereas, Sweating, nausea, chills, headaches, shaking, elevated pulse rate, chest discomfort, hyperventilation, numbness, derealization, losing control of the body, fear of detachment or death are some of the symptoms that people experience when they have panic attacks.

References

  1. https://www.jle.com/e-docs/00/03/F9/BD/article.phtml?tab=texte
  2. https://functionalsymptoms.org/article_5
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