Panic Attacks Vs Anxiety Attacks


Panic Attacks

  1. Usually, it happens unexpectedly without any warning.
  2. Comes on suddenly and intensely.
  3. Usually, symptoms resolve after 20-30 mins.
  4. Physical Symptoms can include: Racing heart, sweating, chest pain, feeling of choking, dizziness, nausea, chills, tingling sensation, numbness, depersonalization or derealization, Fear of going crazy, and fear of dying.

Anxiety Attacks

  1. Usually has a specific trigger.
  2. Anxiety builds over time.
  3. It can be long-lasting.
  4. Physical Symptoms can include fatigue, muscle tension, sleep disturbance, and dizziness.

Panic Disorder

Although experiencing panic attacks or anxiety attacks are common, we diagnose someone with Panic Disorder when the person has recurrent symptoms of unexpected panic attacks followed by one month or more of persistent worry about an additional panic attack or changes in behavior to avoid or prevent another attack. Examples include avoiding physical activity, reorganizing your life to prevent another attack, or avoiding agoraphobic-type situations, such as the elevator or plane.

The research indicates that 6 million adults in the US struggle with panic disorder, with women being twice as likely as men to be affected by it. People struggling with panic disorder often feel limited in their daily activities and experience significant distress. Frequently, Panic Disorder can co-occur with other mental health disorders, including OCD, Anxiety, Depression, and Agoraphobia.


The treatment for Panic Disorder includes a combination of therapies, including Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Mindfulness Techniques, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). The cognitive component of CTB involves identifying and challenging negative thought patterns and beliefs related to panic attacks and replacing them with more reasonable, rational beliefs. The behavioral aspect of treating panic attacks involves Exposure and Response Prevention, focusing on Interoceptive Exposures. This method involves exposing an individual to physical sensations and situations that trigger panic attacks in a controlled and gradual manner. By repeatedly experiencing these sensations, people can understand that they are not harmful but rather something they can tolerate and handle. Many individuals turn to therapy in hopes of eliminating their panic symptoms or putting a stop to them. However, the main objective is to acquire the ability to feel less fearful of the symptoms and not let the sensations of panic hinder one from fully experiencing life. 

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