Health One Family Medicine

Anxiety Attack vs. Panic Attack: What’s the Difference?

Many people often use the terms anxiety attack and panic attack interchangeably. However, even though the two share similar symptoms, they are actually different conditions. They both make you feel overwhelmed and cause heightened breathing since they activate your flight and fight mode.

The difference between an anxiety attack and a panic attack is that different triggers cause them both. In this article, we will take a deeper dive into the two concepts to learn how the two are different.

What is a Panic Attack?

A panic attack is a medical condition and a recognized disorder with a range of symptoms that include shortness of breath, nausea, and increased heart rate. They come on suddenly without an apparent trigger and cause you to feel intense.

Panic attacks are relatively short-lived and can last you for up to fifteen minutes. More often than not, individuals feel the onset of a sudden threat, which makes them intensely fearful. In certain cases, an individual may presume they have a heart attack and not an anxiety attack.

If individuals have frequent panic attacks, they may be categorized as having a panic disorder.

What Is An Anxiety Attack?

This is not a defined medical condition, but it occurs to individuals who frequently feel anxious. In an anxiety attack, an individual may feel intense or extended periods of anxiety. The onset of this feeling is slow, but they are often brought on by persistent worry since the anxiety is building up, and the attack occurs when it reaches a breaking point.

An anxiety attack feels like something more intense than regular anxiety. However, at the same time, it is not as intense as a panic attack. Moreover, an anxiety attack can go on for hours or even days. Some of the symptoms of an anxiety attack include feeling irritable, difficulty concentrating, having sleeping problems, and restlessness.

Difference between Panic Attack and Anxiety Attack 

As you can tell by now, panic attacks and anxiety attacks have underlying symptoms, but their causes and characteristics are what make them unique from each other. Here are the main differences between the two:

  • Panic attacks normally occur without any trigger, but anxiety attacks are in response to an obvious stressor
  • Panic attacks are more intense and have physical symptoms that can be worse than those of an anxiety attack
  • Symptoms of a panic attack typically subside after a few days, but the symptoms of an anxiety attack tend to go on for a longer time
  • Panic attacks include intense feelings within a few minutes, but anxiety attacks tend to happen gradually over a span of a few hours or even days

Get in Touch with Health One Family Medicine

Dealing with both anxiety attacks and panic attacks can be challenging, especially if they begin to disrupt your everyday routine and your relationships. If this is the case with you or someone you know, you should get in touch with a healthcare professional who can help manage anxiety and panic attacks symptoms.

Get in touch with a provider from Health One Family Medicine today by calling at (469)262-5762 or visit to book an appointment.

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