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What is the difference between Panic and Anxiety Attacks?

Posted Mar 29 2010 6:31pm

lately i’ve been having panic attacks, and I’m going to the doctor soon about it. But I want to know what is the difference between Panic attacks and anxiety attacks. Also when i do go to the doctor. what will they do actually, like how will I be test and what do I tell them.

Most of the time the terms panic attacks and anxiety attacks are used interchangeably. Panic and anxiety are different things though.

Panic is usually the feeling of intense pressure that you feel, such as when a panic attack sets on. It’s triggered by the ‘fight or flight’ response which is a system in our brain that triggers adrenaline when a threat is detected.

The idea is that when you face a threat you’re likely going to need to ‘fight’ that threat or ‘flee’ away from the scene. Either way you’ll need the extra energy the adrenaline will give you.

The only problem is sometimes this fight or flight response, which is actually a pretty handy in many cases, is triggered in situations where fighting or escaping aren’t the best options!

Anxiety on the other hand is usually used to refer to that general feeling of almost dread which you may feel in your chest or stomach.

The reason why ‘panic attack’ and ‘anxiety attack’ are used in place of each other is because anxiety often leads to panic and panic can lead to anxiety.

A strategy that I find particularly good is to relax your breathing as soon as you detect any panic setting in. By doing this you can counteract the effect of the fight or flight trigger by reassuring your brain that you are not actually in a life or death situation.

As for what the doctor will do: it’s always a great idea to see your general practitioner when something like this happens just to make sure that there is nothing physical wrong.

However that being said, most doctors will advise you to relax, deal with any stress and then recommend if the problems continue that you see a therapist who specializes in panic and anxiety who will teach you some strategies to help you deal with the problem.

If you’re interested you can find our more about this and several other simple but very effective psychological techniques in the free ebook ‘The 10 Psychological Secrets Of Eliminating Anxiety & Getting Confident Now’ at

All the best with getting rid of your panic/anxiety attacks – I know you can do it. From my experience it is possibly to complete eliminate them.

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