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I've heard the term anxiety attack, is that a special kind of panic attack?

16 Answers
Last Updated: 11/03/2020 at 4:18am
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Top Rated Answers
September 24th, 2014 2:35am
I think it depends on the person and how they use the term. In general people use the terms "anxiety attack" and "panic attack" interchangeable, but they are actually very different. In the clinical world (the DSM) actually doesn't use the term "anxiety attack" but rather there is a description of "anxiety disorders" which includes Panic Disorder, OCD, Generalized Anxiety.. but no "anxiety attack" definition. That's not to say that there is no such thing as anxiety reactions. When you are suddenly put into a new situation for example, you may experience the feelings of anxiety arise. The feelings are "anxiety" but the description of what you are having would be a "panic attack" brought on through severe anxiety. When someone says they're having an anxiety attack they usually mean they're having a panic attack, which is the specific attack associated with anxiety. Panic attacks are described most commonly as a sudden wave of panic with symptoms of heart bead irregularity/increase, shortness of breath, dizziness, disorientation, constant panic and emotional upset. Many people interpret these symptoms as an "anxiety attack." So in summary.. there is not actually a diagnostic term for an "anxiety attack" but rather there are anxiety disorders, that include "panic attacks" which are usually what people are referring to. They are sudden emotional overflows of anxiety and panic. Here is a link that I find very clear and helpful, as I'm not sure if my answer was clear to non-therapy students/practitioners. I hope I could help you some :) DIFFERENCES BETWEEN + DEFINITIONS: PANIC DISORDER: ANXIETY "ATTACK":
October 23rd, 2014 7:45pm
An anxiety attack is the same as a panic attack but in reaction to a trigger. Such as talking in front of a large audience. etc. Panic attacks can come without a trigger being involved.
December 7th, 2014 10:18am
From experience and reading up online, an anxiety attack is a reaction to stress that is less immediately intense than a panic attack, but drawn out over a longer period of time. So they are related, but they are different things.
December 17th, 2014 5:11pm
Here is an excerpt from an anxiety website that might help clear things up for you: "The Difference Between an Anxiety Attack and a Panic Attack Anxiety attack is not a clinical term. It's a term used to describe periods of more intense anxiety that go beyond traditional anxiety experiences. That differs from the term panic attack. Panic attacks are severe anxiety attacks like what is described above – attacks that are often so disabling that many people struggle to cope with them, and develop panic disorder, health anxiety, and possibly agoraphobia. Traditionally, the term "anxiety attack" is used to discuss weaker versions of panic attacks. If you have multiple panic attacks, you have panic disorder. Anxiety attacks can affect anyone – even those without panic disorder or an anxiety disorder – and so the term is used to encompass all of these types of attacks. For the purposes of this article, we'll discuss anxiety attacks as the weaker version of a panic attack. But in life, people do use the two terms somewhat interchangeably, and both are related to the same feelings of doom, along with relevant symptoms."
November 10th, 2014 2:06am
As far as I can tell, anxiety attacks come from a stressor. Something like fear etc. Panic attacks on the other hand do not come from a stressor. They are unpredictable and cannot be provoked.
November 17th, 2014 1:36am
Yes, an anxiety attack is a panic attack. A panic attack can happen in many situations, even anxiety. An anxiety attack is just a panic attack when you are nervous or anxious
November 17th, 2014 3:30pm
They are the same thing? Different names. It's an out of control fight and flight response that can be triggered.
December 1st, 2014 9:20am
Usually they are used interchangeable to mean the same thing. If they mean different things, usually it's the other way around.
December 27th, 2014 11:06pm
The term anxiety attack is used to express a symptom of a range of anxiety disorders. The term panic attack is used in relation to a panic disorder. Medically these terms may determine something different but in every-day use they are usually quite inter-changeable.
January 3rd, 2015 12:25am
those terms are often used interchangeably to mean the same thing. the only difference is that panic attacks aren't always used to describe a disorder and the persistence of it, constantly feeling the symptoms and going through attacks on a likely regular basis. however, panic attacks and anxiety attacks have about the same affects/symptoms.
March 15th, 2015 3:46am
No anxiety attacks are very common and should not be over evaluated or under estimated its perfectly normal! and we all sometimes have our worries in life just some more than others
June 3rd, 2015 2:26pm
Thats a great question! Anxiety attack are more like intense emotinal feleing rather than panic which can be truly depilitating
June 7th, 2016 10:53pm
It's the same for me. Axiety leads to panic and panic to attack. There are no special kind of panic attacks. However, people do experience them differently which cause a little confusion when people talk about them.
January 16th, 2018 1:25pm
The symptoms are similar but there is a difference between the two-anxiety attacks tend to build up over time, while panic attacks can happen out of the blue or in response to a triggering event.
June 23rd, 2020 1:50am
When people experience an anxiety attack, people may feel scared or worried, dizzy may feel their heart racing or feel like it's hard to breathe, but it's very short lived, and when the stressor goes away, so does the anxiety attack. Basically when whatever is causing the anxiety attack goes away, things settle down. For a panic attack on the other hand, it doesn't come in reaction to a stressor. It's unprovoked and unpredictable and isn't caused by anything in particular. The symptoms may appear similar, for a panic attack it could be feeling overwhelming or intense fear
November 3rd, 2020 4:18am
An anxiety attack is a response to something that is caused by a perceived stress, for example, trying to balance work and home life, or balancing work loads - anything that is making you feel anxious over a period of time or that you are constantly feeling anxious about. A panic attack is something that occurs with no triggers, and can come on at anytime. Panic attacks are more severe and have a lot of physical symptoms and effects, but anxiety attacks occur when there has been a build up of anxiety, and tend to have more mental effects, although everyone can be different and may experience restlessness feelings, trouble sleeping, and more fatigue and muscle aches. So although panic attacks and anxiety attacks seem similar; they do have a lot of different symptoms and side effects.