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Panic Attack vs Anxiety Attack. Difference Between Anxiety Attack and Panic Attack.

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While panic episodes primarily impact people with panic disorder, symptoms of anxiety have linkages to trauma and other mental health illnesses, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder. Keep reading to learn more about the distinctions between panic and anxiety episodes.

By We Level Up FL Treatment Center | Editor Yamilla Francese | Clinically Reviewed By Lauren Barry, LMFT, MCAP, QS, Director of Quality Assurance | Editorial Policy | Research Policy | Last Updated: December 19, 2022

Difference Between Anxiety and Depression

The anxiety and depression difference: The fact that one term denotes a single sickness while the other denotes a collection of ailments is a significant distinction between anxiety and depression.

Panic Attack vs Anxiety Attack: Difference Between Anxiety Attack and Panic Attack

Panic attack vs anxiety attack: In reality, depression is one illness. There are numerous distinct symptoms (see below). And different people may experience it very differently. However, the term “depression” only refers to one illness.

Panic Attack vs Anxiety Attack: Difference Between Panic Attack and Anxiety Attack

Panic attack vs anxiety attack: The word “anxiety” can indicate a number of different things. We all experience anxiety occasionally, and the word “anxiety” can be used to describe that feeling simply. However, when we use the word anxiety in a medical context, it actually refers to anxiety disorder.

Panic attack vs anxiety attack: Some less frequent conditions are included under anxiety. These include panic disorders and phobias. However, generalized anxiety disorder is the most prevalent (GAD). In the US, a generalized anxiety disorder may affect four to five out of every 100 persons. In this post, we’ll concentrate on generalized anxiety.

What is Anxiety Disorder?

According to The National Institute on Mental Health, periodic anxiety is a standard component of life. When faced with a challenge at work, before a test, or before making a crucial decision, you could experience anxiety. However, anxiety disorders involve more than just passing apprehension or terror.

Anxiety and depression difference: It’s critical to get anxiety treatment as soon as possible since, for someone with an anxiety condition, the anxiety does not go away and can worsen over time. The symptoms might affect daily tasks like work performance, academic progress, and interpersonal connections. Generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and various phobia-related disorders are only a few of the several types of anxiety disorders.

Anxiety and depression difference: People with a Generalized Anxiety disorder (GAD) display excessive Anxiety or worry, most days for at least 6 months, about many things such as personal health, work, social interactions, and everyday routine life circumstances. Fear and Anxiety can cause significant problems in areas of their life, such as social interactions, school, and work. 

What is Depression?

Depression (also known as Major Depressive Illness or Clinical Depression) is a common but significant mood disorder, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. It produces severe symptoms that interfere with your ability to function on a daily basis, including sleeping, eating, and working. The signs of depression must last for at least two weeks before a diagnosis may be made.

Depression treatment is required when depressive symptoms are chronic and do not go away since some types of depression are slightly different or may arise in unusual situations.

Types of Depression

  • Persistent depressive disorder (also called dysthymia): is a depressed mood that lasts for at least two years. A person diagnosed with persistent depressive disorder may have episodes of major Depression along with periods of less severe symptoms, but symptoms must last for two years to be considered a persistent depressive disorder.
  • Psychotic Depression: occurs when a person has severe depression plus some form of psychosis, such as having disturbing false fixed beliefs (delusions) or hearing or seeing upsetting things that others cannot hear or see (hallucinations). The psychotic symptoms typically have a depressive “theme,” such as delusions of guilt, poverty, or illness.
  • Bipolar disorder: is different from Depression, but it is included in this list because someone with bipolar disorder experiences episodes of extremely low moods that meet the criteria for major Depression (called “Bipolar Depression”). But a person with bipolar disorder also experiences extreme high – euphoric or irritable – moods called “mania” or a less severe form called “hypomania.”
  • Postpartum Depression: is much more serious than the “baby blues” (relatively mild depressive and anxiety symptoms that typically clear within two weeks after delivery) that many women experience after giving birth. Women with postpartum Depression experience full-blown major Depression during pregnancy or after delivery (postpartum depression). The feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion that accompany postpartum depression may make it difficult for these new mothers to complete daily care activities for themselves and/or their babies.
  • Seasonal affective disorder: is characterized by the onset of Depression during the winter months, when there is less natural sunlight. This Depression generally lifts during spring and summer. Winter Depression, typically accompanied by social withdrawal, increased sleep, and weight gain, predictably returns every year in seasonal affective disorder.
  • SAD Seasonal Depression (Depressed SAD): A form of depression known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is triggered by the changing of the seasons; it starts and ends about at the same periods each year. If you have SAD like the majority of people do, your symptoms begin in the fall and last through the winter, draining your energy and making you cranky. Typically, these symptoms go away in the spring and summer. SAD less frequently results in depression in the spring or early summer and clears up in the fall or winter. SAD treatment options include medications, psychotherapy, and light therapy (phototherapy).

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Anxiety Fact Sheet

Anxiety Overview

A mental health condition marked by intense feelings of worry, anxiety, or fear that interfere with daily activities. Panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder are a few examples of anxiety disorders.
The inability to put aside worry, restlessness, and stress that is out of proportion to the severity of the incident are among the symptoms.
Counseling or medicine, including antidepressants, are used as forms of treatment.


Anxiety Symptoms

Behavioral: hypervigilance, irritability, or restlessness.

Cognitive: lack of concentration, racing thoughts, or unwanted thoughts.

Whole body: fatigue or sweating

Also common:  anxiety, excessive worry, angor animi, fear, insomnia, nausea, palpitations, or trembling

Anxiety Treatment

  • Support group: A place where those pursuing the same disease or objective, such as weight loss or depression, can receive counseling and exchange experiences.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy: A conversation treatment that aimed to change the negative attitudes, actions, and feelings connected to psychiatric discomfort.
  • Counseling psychology: A subfield of psychology that handles issues with the self that are connected to work, school, family, and social life.
  • Anger management: To reduce destructive emotional outbursts, practice mindfulness, coping skills, and trigger avoidance.
  • Psychoeducation: Mental health education that also helps individuals feel supported, validated, and empowered
  • Family therapy: psychological counseling that improves family communication and conflict resolution.

Anxiety Statistics

It’s critical to understand the distinction between anxiety and depression. Anxiety, in its most basic form, is an excessive feeling of worry, whereas depression, in its most basic form, is an excessive feeling of worthlessness and hopelessness. It is conceivable for someone to experience depression and anxiety simultaneously.


6.8 million

GAD affects 6.8 million adults or 3.1% of the U.S. population, yet only 43.2% are receiving treatment.

Source: National Institute on Mental Health

19 million

19 million adults experience specific phobias, making it the most common anxiety disorder in America.  

Source: ADAA2020

17.3 million

Major depressive disorder affects approximately 17.3 million American adults or about 7.1% of the U.S. population aged 18 and older.

Source: National Institute of Mental Health


Generalized anxiety disorder and depression can both have emotional and physical symptoms.
Generalized anxiety disorder and depression can both have emotional and physical symptoms.

Panic Attack Vs Anxiety Attack: Difference Between Panic Attack And Anxiety Attack

Panic attack vs anxiety attack: What is the difference between anxiety and panic attacks? Rapid heartbeat, short breathing, and a general feeling of discomfort are all symptoms of panic and anxiety attacks. They often vary in intensity and underlying causes, though.

Panic attack vs anxiety attack: Anxiety attacks are a reaction to a perceived threat, whereas panic attacks are frequently more severe and can happen with or without a trigger.

Anxiety Or Panic Attack: The terms panic attack and anxiety attack are frequently used interchangeably, however, they do not mean the same thing. These attacks come in a variety of durations and intensities.

Anxiety Or Panic Attack: While panic episodes primarily impact people with panic disorder, symptoms of anxiety have linkages to trauma and other mental health illnesses, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder. The distinctions between panic and anxiety episodes are discussed in detail in this article.

Anxiety Or Panic Attack: An anxiety attack and a panic attack have a number of characteristics. But anxiety can develop over time and is frequently brought on by certain situations. On the other hand, panic episodes can come on suddenly and without warning.

Panic Attack vs Anxiety Attack: It’s possible to hear people refer to panic attacks and anxiety attacks interchangeably. However, these are distinct conditions.

Anxiety Attack Vs Panic Attack: Difference Between Anxiety Attack And Panic Attack

Anxiety Vs Panic Attack: What Is An anxiety Attack?

Panic Attack vs Anxiety Attack: Anxiety attacks are not listed in the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Diseases, Fifth Edition” (DSM-5) (anxiety with panic attacks DSM 5), but anxiety is listed as a symptom of several prevalent psychiatric disorders.

This covers the following circumstances:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Separation anxiety disorder
  • Agoraphobia without a history of panic disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Specific phobia

Anxiety is frequently linked to the expectation of a difficult circumstance, encounter, or occurrence. It could develop gradually.

Anxiety symptoms include:

  • Worry
  • Distress
  • Fear

The lack of diagnostic recognition of anxiety attacks means that the signs and symptoms are open to interpretation. That is, a person may describe having an “anxiety attack” and have symptoms that another person has never experienced despite indicating that they, too, have had an “anxiety attack.”

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Panic Vs Anxiety Attack: What Is A Panic Attack?

Panic Attack vs Anxiety Attack: The unexpected onset of panic usually involves extreme, paralyzing terror. Extremely difficult bodily symptoms, such as a racing heartbeat, shortness of breath, or nausea, go along with them. The DSM-5 classifies panic attacks as either unexpected or expected and identifies them.

Panic Attack vs Anxiety Attack: Unexpected panic episodes can happen for no apparent reason. Fears and other external stressors serve as cues for anticipated panic episodes.

Panic Attack vs Anxiety Attack: Although anyone can experience a panic attack, having more than one may indicate panic disorder, a mental health disease that is defined by unexpected and frequent panic attacks.

Are Panic Attacks And Anxiety Attacks The Same Thing?

Difference Between Anxiety And Panic Attack Symptoms

Both panic attacks and anxiety attacks can have identical physical and emotional symptoms.

An anxiety episode and a panic attack can happen simultaneously. For instance, you might feel anxious while you obsess over a potentially difficult circumstance, such as a crucial presentation at work. Anxiety may reach its peak when the circumstance occurs and result in a panic attack. Physical and psychological signs of an anxiety or panic attack can include:

  • Apprehension and worry
  • Distress
  • Fear of dying or losing control
  • A sense of detachment from the world (derealization) or oneself (depersonalization)
  • Heart palpitations or an accelerated heart rate
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tightness in the throat or feeling like you’re choking
  • Sweating
  • Chills or hot flashes
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Numbness or tingling (paresthesia)
  • Nausea, abdominal pain, or upset stomach
  • Headache
  • Feeling faint or dizzy
  • Dry mouth

It could be challenging to distinguish between anxiety and panic attacks. Keep the following in mind:

  • Anxiety Attacks Vs Panic Attacks, The cause: Anxiety is typically related to something that’s perceived as stressful or threatening. Panic attacks aren’t always cued by stressors. They most often occur out of the blue.
  • Panic Attacks Vs Anxiety Attacks, The level of distress: Anxiety can be mild, moderate, or severe. For example, anxiety may be happening in the back of your mind as you go about your day-to-day activities. Panic attacks, on the other hand, mostly involve severe, disruptive symptoms.
  • Panic Vs Anxiety Attacks, Fight-or-flight: During a panic attack, the body’s autonomous fight-or-flight response takes over. Physical symptoms are often more intense than symptoms of anxiety.
  • Difference Between Anxiety And Panic Attacks, Speed of onset: While anxiety can build gradually, panic attacks usually come on abruptly.
  • Difference Between Panic And Anxiety Attacks, Effect: Panic attacks typically trigger worries or fears related to having another attack. This may have an effect on your behavior, leading you to avoid places or situations where you think you might be at risk of a panic attack.

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What Is The Difference Between Panic Attacks And Anxiety Attacks? The Causes

There are no definite external triggers for unexpected panic attacks. Anxiety and anticipated panic attacks can both be brought on by the same factors. Typical causes include:

  • A stressful job
  • Driving
  • Social situations
  • Phobias, like agoraphobia (fear of crowded or open spaces), claustrophobia (fear of small spaces), and acrophobia (fear of heights)
  • Reminders or memories of traumatic experiences
  • Chronic illnesses, like heart disease, diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, or asthma
  • Chronic pain
  • Withdrawal from drugs or alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Medication and supplements
  • Thyroid problems
Increased anxiety is also a symptom of alcohol withdrawal. If you’ve consumed alcohol in large amounts for a long period of time and suddenly stop drinking, your anxiety can be aggravated by the side effects of alcohol withdrawal
There are no definite external triggers for unexpected panic attacks. Anxiety and anticipated panic attacks can both be brought on by the same factors.

Risk Factors of Anxiety Attack Vs Panic Attack

Anxiety and panic attacks have similar risk factors. These include:

  • Experiencing trauma or witnessing traumatic events, either as a child or as an adult
  • Experiencing a stressful life event, like the death of a loved one or a divorce
  • Experiencing ongoing stress and worries, like work responsibilities, conflict in your family, or financial woes
  • Living with a chronic health condition or life-threatening illness
  • Having an anxious personality
  • Having another mental health condition like depression
  • Having close family members who also have anxiety or panic disorders
  • Using drugs or consuming alcohol

People who experience anxiety are at an increased risk of experiencing panic attacks. But having anxiety does not mean you will experience a panic attack.

Diagnosing Anxiety Attack Versus Panic Attack

Doctors can’t diagnose anxiety attacks, but they can diagnose:

  • Anxiety symptoms
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Panic attacks
  • Panic disorders

A doctor will ask you about your symptoms and conduct tests to rule out other health conditions with similar symptoms, like heart disease or thyroid problems.

To get a diagnosis, a doctor may conduct:

  • A physical exam
  • Blood tests
  • A heart test, like an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)
  • A psychological evaluation or questionnaire

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Anxiety Muscle Tension (Muscle Tension Anxiety)

The most prevalent and evident physical manifestation of anxiety is likely muscle stiffness. There is no doubt that when a person has anxiety, he or she will likely have tense muscles, even though different people have varying degrees of muscular tension and may feel that tension in different parts of their bodies.

The link between these tense muscles and anxiety baffles many people. Questions like how frequently worry create muscle tension is it possible to experience muscle tension without being aware of worried thoughts, and what can be done to reduce muscle tension frequently come up.

Tension In Neck And Shoulders From Anxiety (Neck Tension Anxiety)

While anxiety is the main topic, it can be preferable to pay attention to the tension that anxiety results in. The stress that worry causes is the root of nearly every unpleasant anxiety effect.

One of those challenging side effects of stress is tension in the muscles. Muscles naturally contract when a person’s fight-or-flight response is triggered, which happens when they are under stress or anxious. When the body and brain alert a person to danger, this muscular contraction is helpful.

However, the muscles are also tensed for a prolonged period of time when a person is under stress (whether they are in danger physically or not). This stress eventually results in pain, discomfort, and movement issues.

Anxiety And Muscle Tension: Constant Muscle Tension Anxiety

In rare circumstances, one’s reaction to the muscle tension may also result in additional pains and aches. For instance, bending over due to a backache could create discomfort in other areas of the back, and skipping exercise due to leg pain and tension might put additional strain on the muscles. Physical muscle pain can spiral out of control because particular motions or a lack of them might make it worse.

Jaw Tension Anxiety

We may unconsciously clench more frequently than usual due to stress, which increases the pressure in the jaw (or temporomandibular joints). This can eventually result in a lack of control over the muscles that open and close the mouth.

Facial Tension Anxiety or Anxiety Face Tension

If you have anxiety, it may be harder for facial tension to go away naturally. People with anxiety can also heighten the feeling of discomfort by worrying about the tension: Facial tingling can be a symptom of anxiety as well as a stimulator for heightened anxiety.

Tension In Tongue Anxiety or Tongue Tension Anxiety

The term “anxiety tongue” or “stress tongue” refers to the tingling feeling that certain persons with anxiety disorders frequently feel on their tongues. Along with swelling, muscle spasms, and burning feelings, anxiety tongue is also possible. Your stress reaction and your emotional response to anxiety are related.

Can Anxiety Cause Tension Headaches? Tension Headache Anxiety

Anxiety tension headache: A typical sort of headache is a tension headache. Although it can happen at any age, teens and adults are the most susceptible. When the muscles in the neck and scalp tense up or contract, tension headaches develop. The muscle spasms could be a reaction to anxiety, despair, stress, or a head injury.

Muscle Tension Dysphonia Anxiety

The symptoms of muscle tension dysphonia are typically accompanied by feelings of stress, worry, high vocal demand, and commitment overload. It resembles the rest of the body’s muscle tension in this way. MTD can make a speaker feel as though using their voice is painful or exhausting.

How To Relieve Tension In Neck And Shoulders From Anxiety?

Anxiety-related muscle tension is similar to muscle tension brought on by other problems (such as exercise or sleeping in an awkward position). When muscles are already tense, there are things one may do to help the muscles relax and get some relief from the tension, even though anxiety itself will need to be treated in order to prevent future muscle tension problems. For instance:

  • Hot shower 
  • Massage
  • Stretching and yoga
  • OTC painkillers

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Difference Between A Panic And Anxiety Attack: Treatment Options

Ask your doctor if there are any alternative therapies for anxiety and panic attacks. These are some of the treatments they might talk to you about.

Difference Between A Panic Attack And An Anxiety Attack: Counseling and psychotherapy

Talking therapies for anxiety and panic disorders can involve the following, often in combination.

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): This type of therapy can help you see things that worry you in a new way. A counselor can help you develop strategies for managing triggers when they arise.
  • Cognitive therapy: This can help you pinpoint, reframe, and neutralize the unhelpful thoughts that often underlie an anxiety disorder.
  • Exposure therapy: This form of therapy involves controlled exposure to situations that trigger fear and anxiety, which can help you learn to confront those fears in a new way.
  • Relaxation techniques: These include breathing exercises, guided imagery, progressive relaxation, biofeedback, and autogenic training. A doctor can talk you through some of these.

A doctor may suggest attending individual sessions, group sessions, or a combination of the two.

Best Medication For Panic Attacks And Anxiety

Examples of medications your doctor may prescribe are:

  • Best Medication For Anxiety And Panic Attacks, Antidepressants: These medications include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs).
  • Medication For Anxiety And Panic Attacks, Beta-blockers: These medications can help manage certain physical symptoms, like a rapid heart rate.
  • Best Medicine for Anxiety and Panic Attacks, Anti-anxiety drugs: This includes benzodiazepines, a sedative medication that can suppress symptoms quickly.

All these drugs can have adverse effects. SSRIs and SNRIs are for long-term use, and it can take time to feel the effects. Benzodiazepines are for short-term use only, as there is a high risk of dependence. Oftentimes, a doctor will recommend a combination of treatments. They may also need to alter their treatment plan over time.

Natural Remedies for Anxiety and Panic Attacks

Find out what you can do to both avoid and treat anxiety and panic-related symptoms by speaking with a doctor or mental health expert. You can feel more in control if you have a treatment plan and follow it when an incident occurs.

Try the following if you feel an anxiety or panic attack coming on:

  • Breathe slowly and deeply, paying close attention to each inhalation and exhalation as your breath starts to speed. As you breathe in, you’ll feel the air entering your stomach. As you exhale, count backward from four. Continue until your breathing becomes more relaxed.
  • If you’ve ever had an anxiety or panic attack, you know how difficult it may be to recognize and accept what you’re going through. Remind yourself that you’ll be fine and that the symptoms will pass.
  • Become more mindful: Anxiety and panic disorders are increasingly being treated with mindfulness-based therapies. The practice of mindfulness can assist you in keeping your thoughts on the here and now. By deliberately monitoring your thoughts and sensations without responding to them, you can cultivate mindfulness.
  • Utilize relaxing methods: Muscle relaxation, aromatherapy, and guided imagery are all examples of relaxation treatments. Try relaxing activities if you’re suffering from anxiety or panic attack symptoms. Take a bath, close your eyes, or apply lavender, which has a calming effect.

CBD For Anxiety And Panic Attacks

While cannabidiol (CBD) can be used to treat anxiety, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has a reputation for being euphoric and anxiety-inducing. Numerous research has confirmed the beneficial benefits CBD can have on numerous anxiety problems, which lends evidence to this advantage.

Natural Herbs For Anxiety And Panic Attacks

  • Kava
  • Passionflower
  • Valerian
  • Chamomile
  • Lavender
  • Lemon balm

Vitamins For Anxiety And Panic Attacks & Supplements For Anxiety And Panic Attacks

  • Background
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin B complex
  • Magnesium
  • L-theanine
  • Multivitamins
  • Omega-3
  • Valerian root

Essential Oil Blends For Anxiety And Panic Attacks

Calm & focus diffuser blend

  • 3 drops rosemary essential oil.
  • 2 drops of lavender essential oil.
  • 2 drops of wild orange essential oil.
  • 1 drop peppermint or spearmint essential oil.

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The exact definition of dual diagnosis (also referred to as co-occurring disorders) can differ between institutions.  However, it is generally described as the specific treatment of someone who has been diagnosed with a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder at the same time. Treating dual-diagnosis clients is a critical aspect of our inpatient treatment experience because co-occurring disorders are strongly correlated with instances of substance abuse.

Creating a treatment plan that addresses the physical aspects of withdrawal, the psychological connection with drug use, and managing underlying mental health disorders is part of setting clients up for success.  A thorough mental health analysis identifies possibilities for treatment.  Meeting with mental health counselors and medical care providers means access to behavioral therapy and medication treatment. At our dual diagnosis treatment center, We Level Up can implement the highest quality of care. 

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It can be challenging to accept that you may be living with a mental illness, but once it is properly diagnosed and treated, treating the presenting case of substance abuse can be magnitudes easier. Only a properly trained medical professional can diagnose these underlying conditions.  If you believe you are suffering from a disorder alongside addiction, we urge you to seek a qualified treatment center to begin your journey to recovery. Call We Level Up today.

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