Panic attack vs anxiety attack: What is the difference?

Are you looking for the difference between a panic attack and an anxiety attack? If yes, we will help you find where the difference actually lies.

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Panic attack vs anxiety attack

Have you ever heard of panic attack and anxiety attack? Many people think it is the same concept and holds the same meaning but are you aware that  Panic Attack vs Anxiety Attack is a different concept. Are you looking for the difference between panic attack and anxiety attack? If yes, we will help you find where the difference actually lies. Both the terms panic attack and anxiety attack sound similar but they are not similar. Instead, there lies a thin line that differentiates both the terms from each other. In this piece, we will tell you about the difference between panic attack and anxiety attack. Moreover, the difference lies in signs of a panic attack and anxiety attack and their causes as well. But the initial difference begins in the meaning only. So, before moving into deep understanding let's first know about what panic attack and anxiety attack actually is.

What is a Panic Attack?

A panic attack as the name suggests is the encounter of sudden intense fear or anxiety that might give you the feeling of dying. Panic attacks are usually unexpected and can occur anytime and anywhere. There are different types of panic attacks as well. Panic attacks trigger many reactions even when you have not encountered any immediate danger or cause. It occurs out of nowhere and can occur to anyone. You can seek the help of counsellors to deal with panic attacks as they are more intense than anxiety attacks.

Panic Attack

What is An Anxiety Attack?

Wondering about what is anxiety or an anxiety attack? An anxiety attack usually happens when you feel something might happen. It happens after an episode of intense worry and stress. Anxiety attacks are less serious than panic attacks. Though some of the symptoms are similar, both are still different. Some sudden triggers and situations lead to anxiety attacks. Let's know about the difference between panic attacks and anxiety attacks.

Panic Attack vs Anxiety Attack - Know the Difference Here

Now when you know what anxiety attack vs panic attack is you might have seen they are different. Though both the signs of a panic attack and anxiety attacks are the same types of attack their symptoms, cause and certain treatment of both the attacks are quite different. You can encounter panic attacks at night also but for anxiety attacks, there has to be a trigger around. For anxiety attack and panic attack treatment, you must first recognize them and for that, you need to know symptoms. So let's learn about the symptoms of both attacks.

Panic Attack and Anxiety Attack

1. Symptoms

Here are some of the symptoms of both panic and anxiety attacks which will help you get a clear understanding of the attacks and how they are different. Though some of the symptoms may seem the same, anxiety attacks have a pre-stress period or worry.

Panic attack symptoms

Anxiety attack symptoms

The person may feel an increase in heart rate

The person will be in constant worry

The patient might feel faintness

The patient might feel distressed 

The person may have nausea 

The one having an anxiety attack may feel feared

The patient may feel some pain in the chest 

The person may feel restless

Have some sweating 

An increase in heart rate is another symptom

The patient might have breath shortness

The patient may have breath shortness

The person may feel choked 

They may encounter a feeling of being choked

Have the feeling of dying 

Intense sweating is also a symptom 

The person may have an intense fear

The person may feel dizzy 

The patient might tremble and shake 

The patient may have pain in the chest 

The sufferer may encounter hot chills 

Another symptom is irritability

The person may face numbness 

The person may have numbness

2. Causes 

Anxiety attacks and panic attack causes might be the same but there are still some differences in what makes them a bad memory of your life. Let's have a look at it.

2.2. Anxiety attacks are triggered by:

  1. Stress - Be it because of work, society, home, relations, etc.
  2. Past traumas can trigger an anxiety attack
  3. Withdrawing drugs, caffeine, or alcohol can also lead to an attack initially
  4. Driving is another trigger 
  5. Certain medicines lead to an attack
  6. Chronic issues are also a cause of both panic and anxiety attack
  7. Certain phobias trigger person to encounter anxiety attack

There are always certain triggers that lead to an anxiety attack. For anxiety attacks to occur, a period of triggers can be seen playing its role. These causes can be similar to panic attacks that are expected but unexpected panic attack causes are hard to define. 

3. Some Points That Differentiate Panic Attack vs Anxiety Attack

Though it is difficult to recognize a panic attack and anxiety attack, there are a few points to note.

Recognition factors

Panic attack

Anxiety attack 


A panic attack occurs out of nowhere. There is no certain cause that leads to panic attacks.

An anxiety attack occurs only after a period of constant worry or stress. Anxiety attack occurs due to triggers or stressors.


A panic attack in more exceptional than a anxiety attack. The symptoms of panic are more serious than that of anxiety attacks.

An anxiety attack is less severe yet it must be considered.


Panic attack symptoms stay no longer than minutes. It goes away quickly.

Some of the anxiety attack symptoms persist longer than panic attack symptoms. It may remain up to days or weeks.


Having frequent panic attacks can lead to panic disorder. You might need to take the help of a therapist or counsellors of panic disorder treatment as it is a more serious issue

Though panic attacks are not that serious, they still have risk factors and can develop disorders.


A panic attack brings with it the feeling of being detached.

An anxiety attack does not have such sensations


The panic attack does not have any certain cause but leads to tension and worry.

Anxiety attack happens only when you take a lot of stress and worry on your head. It also leads to stress and worry.


Panic attacks make you avoid things or situations that might lead you to have another attack.

There is no such case in anxiety attacks.

Treatment of Panic Attack and Anxiety Attack

After knowing the difference between both attacks, let's check out the best ways to stop a panic attack and deal with it. These ways also work for dealing with and stopping anxiety attacks. We will help you to know how to stop an anxiety attack and panic attacks forever.

Treatment of Panic Attack

For dealing with anxiety attacks you must avoid stress and tension as they are the main cause of it. Avoiding stress as much as possible and living a happy life will help you in dealing with both the attacks. Yet some of the ways for both  anxiety attack treatment and  panic attack treatment are 

1. Seeking the Help of a Therapist

Seeking the help of a counsellor or taking online counselling can help you a lot to treat your attacks, be it any of the two. Talking to a therapist will help you speak of your fears and stressors. With the help of online therapy, you can come across your triggers and take control over them. Hence, it is an effective way to fight the attacks. For example, you get anxiety attacks on a very frequent basis then you should definitely go for anxiety disorder counselling and start taking your treatment and medicines on time.

2. Take Regular Medicines

Taking regular medicines and proper medications also help in ways to stop a panic attack. Medicines help in controlling the hormones that react to triggers and also help you to calm down when you encounter any attack. Panic attacks and anxiety attacks can be treated with effective and proper medications.

3. Practicing Meditation

Meditation is yet another effective treatment for treating panic attacks and anxiety attacks. Doing yoga and meditation helps you to relax your mood and keep your mind and soul calm. It further helps you to reduce stress and tension. Stress and tension are both the main reasons for the occurrence of anxiety attacks and to some extent panic attacks as well.

4. Changes in Lifestyle

Changes in lifestyle and help you a lot in dealing with these attacks. Having an anxiety attack treatment involves schedule, eating properly, drinking, being happy along with other factors that can certainly reduce the risk of encountering any of these attacks. Changes brought in lifestyle can be very effective.

5. Do Proper Exercise

It is suggested by experts that doing regular exercise helps in reducing anxiety as well as panic attacks, it makes you feel energetic and active. One must do regular exercise in order to reduce the panic attack symptoms and have a long-term benefit to their health.


Both types of panic attacks vs anxiety attacks are used together frequently but they have a lot of uncommon things. Panic attacks can be an indicator of panic disorder but anxiety attacks can symbolize the presence of stress or tension. You can take the help of online therapy sessions and speak to a therapist about your issues so you have better guidance and insight. This will help you to manage your issues and resolve them. Past traumas and other disorders which are the triggers to the attack can be cured with the help of counseling. Moreover, now that you know the difference between both the attacks, treating them becomes easier.

People Also Read

Best Ways To Stop A Panic Attack And Deal With It

Do You Feel Anxious? | Anxiety Treatment

Overcome Anxiety in Simple Steps | Anxiety Treatment

About Author
Dr. Abhishek Chugh

Dr. Abhishek Chugh

Neuro Psychiatrist Rohtak, India
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