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Differences Between Panic Attacks and Anxiety Attacks

Layman usually uses the terms “panic” and “anxiety” interchangeably, but they are not the same. This could be because panic attacks and anxiety attacks have several symptoms in common. Moreover, one can experience both anxiety and panic attacks at the same time. However, panic attacks and anxiety attacks differ in many characteristics.

Chest pain and increased heart rates are common symptoms of panic and anxiety attacks.


Panic attacks are generally more intense and disruptive, involving a sense of unreality and detachment, while the intensity of anxiety symptoms ranges from mild to severe (Leonard & Legg, 2021).

Panic attacks usually have a sudden onset and subside after a few minutes, whereas anxiety symptoms gradually become more intense over minutes, hours, or days and can last for long periods (Leonard & Legg, 2021).


Panic attacks include sudden onset of intense episodes of fear that trigger severe physical symptoms, even though there is no real danger or cause (Mayo Clinic, 2018), whereas, anxiety attacks include intense, excessive, and persistent worry about everyday situations. Apart from this, there are various other aspects in which panic attacks and anxiety attacks differ (Mayo Clinic, 2018).


There are a few symptoms that are present either in panic attacks or in anxiety attacks.

For instance, people with panic attacks may feel a loss of control, be detached from themselves, and have a fear that they will die.

People with anxiety attacks may feel irritable, have a loss of concentration, and also have disturbed sleep (Leonard & Legg, 2021).

It is good to note that although educational articles such as this one are available on the internet, if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please contact a doctor. There are many treatments of anxiety and panic attacks that doctors can address with you.


Anxiety disorders - Symptoms and causes. Mayo Clinic. (2018). Retrieved 25 August 2021, from

Leonard, J., & Legg, T. (2021). Panic attack vs. anxiety attack: What is the difference?. Retrieved 26 August 2021, from

Mayo Clinic (Ed.). (2018, May 4). Panic attacks and panic disorder. Mayo Clinic.

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