Health & Medical

What Are The Differences Between Panic And Anxiety Attacks?

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An estimated 4.7 percent of U.S. adults experience panic disorders at some point in their life. An estimated 2.7 percent have experienced panic disorders in the past year.

Moreover, anxiety disorders affect more than 40 million people over the age of 18.

A lot of symptoms of panic and anxiety disorders overlap but they’re not the same. When an anxiety attack sets in, it may lead to a panic attack but not necessarily. Many people mistake “panic attacks” and “anxiety attacks” as interchangeable conditions. But the truth is that both attacks are different.

Panic Attacks

Panic attacks are far more intense than anxiety attacks. Often coming on without a readily recognized trigger, panic attacks typically peak after reaching 10 minutes then subside. Some people also experience several panic attacks in a row, making the attack seem longer. Panic attacks also may leave the person feeling drained. Many people end up feeling worried, stressed (physical tension throughout the body), or just out of place after the attack subsides.

Further symptoms of a panic attack include:

  • Getting the sudden fear that you’re in danger and will die
  • Feeling like you’re going insane and have no control
  • Feeling detached from your surroundings

Also, people experience the following physical symptoms:

  • Chest pain
  • Over whelming impending doom
  • Lightheadedness
  • Hot flashes
  • Numbness
  • Shaking
  • Nausea
  • tense
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Stomach pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Feeling like you’re being choked or smothered

Anxiety Attack

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Anxiety attacks do come on suddenly but have a clear trigger. You may have a period of worrying excessively before your emotions push you into getting an anxiety attack.

Anxiety attacks don’t have time limits, though. So, while some people experience anxiety attacks for some minutes, others may experience it for hours. However, unlike panic attacks where a person may be intensely aware of their emotional and physical symptoms, anxiety attacks typically cause adverse physical symptoms that can persist for a prolonged period, extending to weeks, or in some unfortunate cases, even months.

Symptoms of anxiety attacks include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Worrying and distress
  • A feeling of impending doom
  • Restlessness
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Feeling smothered or choked
  • Loss of concentration
  • Irritability
  • Fear
  • Fatigue
  • Muscular pain
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Chest pain
  • Numbness
  • Getting startled easily

Recognizing Anxiety Attacks and Panic Attacks

Considering the symptoms for both conditions, here’s the gist of how you can differentiate between the following:

  • Anxiety attacks are a response to a threat or a trigger. Panic attacks can occur without a consciously recognized trigger.
  • Anxiety attack symptoms can vary in intensity, whereas panic attacks are typically disruptive and intense.
  • Anxiety attacks symptoms can gradually increase over time, while panic attack symptoms occur suddenly.
  • Anxiety attack symptoms take a long time to subdue. Panic attacks usually subdue after a few minutes.

Treating Panic and Anxiety Disorders

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Panic and anxiety disorders are treatable. Options include psychotherapy, medication, as well as hypnotherapy.

For clients who are new to these treatment options, though, our recommendation is hypnotherapy. A type of complementary medicine which prompts a state of focused attention to promote positive suggestions, hypnotherapy is a good option for treating panic attacks, anxiety, and other mental health conditions.

Clinics such as Advanced Hypnotherapy of Naples provide hypnotherapy for all clients in need. If you or someone you know, are worried about panic or anxiety attacks, get in touch with Advanced Hypnotherapy of Naples today, and book an appointment in Naples, FL, so you can get the anxiety treatment you need to control your symptoms.


About the author


I’m Nancy and no, I didn’t always look like I do in that picture on the right. My foray into health and fitness began as a brace-faced, 16 year-old who was too afraid to wear a two-piece at the beach because I felt my body paled in comparison to my much more toned friends.

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