It’s not uncommon to hear the terms “anxiety attack” and “panic attack” used interchangeably in day-to-day conversation. This stems from the common misconception that anxiety and panic attacks are the same. But how do they really compare?
Physical Impact of Anxiety and Panic Attacks
The reason anxiety attacks and panic attacks are often used interchangeably could be due to the fact that both attacks exhibit very similar physical reactions. Some of the shared reactions include:
- Accelerated heart rate
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
Anyone can experience anxiety and panic attacks, so it might be hard to determine which one you are experiencing, especially since the health impacts of anxiety attacks and panic attacks are similar. However, when comparing an anxiety attack vs panic attack, there are some key differences.
Anxiety Attack vs Panic Attack
The 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders uses the term “panic attack” to describe the features of a panic disorder. However, panic attacks are not exclusive to panic disorders, seeing as you can experience an attack with no disorder.
Panic attacks are intense, sudden feelings of fear, terror, nervousness, or apprehension. They are often intense enough to cause a severe impact on your daily activities and last only a short while. Most of the time, panic attacks will occur without an obvious trigger, although they can occur due to a known stressor, such as a phobia.
Unlike panic attacks, anxiety attacks will intensify over time and usually are due to excessive worry about a known “danger,” whether it is real or perceived. Anxiety attacks can often lead to disturbed sleep, irritability, and muscle tension.
While anxiety attacks may not be as intense as panic attacks, they do on average last much longer. The symptoms of anxiety can be persistent, lasting days, weeks, or even months at a time.
Contact Vista Del Mar Behavioral Healthcare Hospital
Whether you are dealing with the impacts of anxiety or panic attacks, there is help available.
Vista Del Mar Behavioral Healthcare Hospital is committed to helping patients and families in Ventura, California find the help and treatment they need. We offer a variety of programs, including inpatient, outpatient, and spiritual support services.