Can you have a panic attack during an anxiety attack?
Last Updated: 08/10/2020 at 7:47pm
Jui Shankar, Ph.D
My worldview offers a systems perspective that values diverse clients and their struggles. I believe supportive and nonjudgmental therapeutic relationships empower clients.
Top Rated Answers
I cannot say definitively yes or no, but a worsening anxiety attack may become a panic attack. If this has happened/may happen in the future, it's definitely worth finding some articles and information around coping mechanisms for both anxiety and panic attacks. Along with that, you could try the forums for more info on anxiety as a whole, and contact some listeners specifically working with anxiety/panic for some more support. As someone who has experienced anxiety/attacks, it can feel quite overwhelming in the moment which is why preparing for whatever may arise will make the actual attacks a lot easier to get through.
I often get frustrated when people talk about anxiety attacks and panic attacks as if they're the same thing. Panic attacks come on suddenly and involve intense and often overwhelming fear, sometimes due to a phobia, for example. They’re accompanied by physical symptoms, such as a racing heartbeat, shortness of breath, or nausea. Anxiety attacks generally build up over a period of time and is related to worry about some a real or perceived danger. If the anxiety builds up and reaches a level where it becomes overwhelming, it may feel like an "attack." Therefore I think that you can have both at the same time. The anxiety builds up over a long time and you have an anxiety attack. What could then happen is a panic attack due to extra sensitivity to irrational fears due to anxiety.
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