Anxiety Attack versus Panic Attack: Know the Difference

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The terms anxiety attack and panic attack have frequently been used to mean the same thing in many literature and resources. For explanation purposes the terms might be similar but the conditions themselves are quite different.

Symptoms of anxiety and panic attacks do overlap but there are some clear differentiations. Besides there are many other forms of panic disorders that may have the same symptoms so it is important to be able to recognize the differences.

So if you’re wondering what is the difference between panic and anxiety attacks, take a look at the table below on the symptoms of anxiety attack versus panic attack and you will begin to realize it.

Anxiety Attack versus Panic Attack

Anxiety Attack Panic Attack
  • Having muscle tension
  • Experiencing disturbed sleep and nightmares
  • Becomes very hard to concentrate
  • Always appear fatigued
  • Feels restless all the time
  • Easily irritated and agitated
  • Becoming startled at the smallest of things
  • Racing heartbeat all the time
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feels like passing out
  • Hyperventilation (Heavy Breathing)
  • Shaking of the body
  • Feeling like someone is choking you
  • Chest pains
  • Feeling nauseous and stomach churning
  • Feeling faint
  • Disorientated
  • Feel like you’re going crazy
  • Feel like you’re dying
  • Feverish with hot flushes and cold chills

A typical panic attack versus typical anxiety attack is quite different mainly due to the duration of time each one lasts. An anxiety attack can actually go on for days, weeks or months while a panic attack lasts 30 minutes at the most. An anxiety attack can be classified as a deep sense of worry or tension build-up over time.

A panic attack is an actual episode that happens for a short period of time for no apparent reason. Someone having financial troubles, career problems and even exam problems can have an anxiety attack and experience all the symptoms such as disturbed sleep, restlessness and irritability. A person who suffers from panic attack may appear normal except when the panic attack hits.

Doctors say that it is quite normal for a person to be anxious and tensed due to the heavy loads one has to bear in ones life. However, having a panic attack is not normal and needs serious attention.

Both these disorders are closely knitted to stress in a person’s life. Anxiety attacks will go away once a problem or stressful situation that is causing the anxiety is lifted. It is not so easy to get rid of panic attacks. Panic attacks need to be studied and carefully observed in order to prescribe the right form of treatment. In fact with anxiety attacks, it is quite possible to apply self help.

However while the differences between anxiety attack versus panic attack are somewhat obvious the thing to remember is that both these conditions do require attention. If left untreated, an over anxious person is capable of committing suicide. Counseling is perhaps the best form of therapy for someone who is going through anxiety attacks. For those with panic attacks, therapy will help them lead a normal life.

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