What Is The Difference Between Anxiety Attacks And Panic Attacks?

By Dr. Nicole Cain ND, MA

Today you’re going to learn how to tell if you’re having an anxiety attack or a panic attack. You’re going to learn the mental and physical symptoms of each, and be sure to stick around to the end because I’m going to share with you what I’ve learned as an expert in integrative mental health care, to stop anxiety and panic attacks in their tracks.

Panic Attacks

Panic attacks are defined by the DSM as bursts of extreme anxiety and fear that come on suddenly out of nowhere. The feelings in panic include fear of death, fear of losing control, fear of insanity, foreboding, and despair. Some people feel something called derealization which is a form of dissociation. Signs that you are dissociating are you feeling foggy, detached, distant from your own body or distant from your environment. Some people who dissociate feel like they zone out or may even completely lose chunks of time. Panic attacks are accompanied by intense physical symptoms that are one of the main psychological reasons people present to the emergency department. Physical signs that you are experiencing panic attacks include:

Anxiety Attacks

Anxiety attacks aren’t recognized in the DSM-5 but are typically symptoms of another diagnosable mental health condition. Anxiety attacks are best described as a flair in an underlying anxious state. Anxiety is usually related to the anticipation of a stressful situation, experience, or event. It may come on gradually, or spike quickly with a stressor. Symptoms of an anxiety attack include:

Anxiety attacks are more common in individuals who have a diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, as a result of going through a huge stressor, enduring loss, grief, disappointment, or even if you or someone you know is experiencing a trauma or going through a stressor.

Similarities between Anxiety Attacks and Panic Attacks

Panic and anxiety attacks may feel similar, and they share a lot of emotional and physical symptoms.

Anxiety and panic attacks have similar risk factors. These include:

Sometimes we need a quick fix, and when panic and anxiety are bringing their worst you don’t have time to mess around. I get that, I’ve been there. I consolidated some of my favorite resources together and created a FREE anxiety wellness springboard. The springboard has strategies that work and fast.

Here is what the free springboard includes:

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Here’s to your next chapter,

Dr. Nicole

This article is for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. Whenever considering changing your protocol whether it includes a change of medications, supplements, diet or lifestyle, always speak with your primary care physician first.

Dr. Nicole Cain is an advocate for empowering people around the world to help themselves via her educational free resources, online courses, and membership group. You can receive the tools you need to find the root cause of your symptoms and feel healthy again.