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Is There a Difference Between an Anxiety Attack and a Panic Attack?

Is There a Difference Between an Anxiety Attack and a Panic Attack?

You often hear the terms anxiety attack and panic attack used interchangeably, as if they mean the same thing. From a clinical perspective, however, panic and anxiety have different features. Mental and behavioral health professionals use the terms to refer to specific symptoms and disorders.

“A panic attack is just that—an acute attack, usually lasting between 10-40 minutes. Occasionally they can last longer, perhaps 90 minutes, but that is rare. An anxiety attack is more of a prolonged offensive, pangs of acute intensity, but more often a steady progression of worry or tension that wears down the body, leading to additional symptoms that last for days to months. Usually anxiety attacks are more subacute, rather than oppressively debilitating and acute like a panic attack.”

–Dr. Karl Benzio, Co-Founder and Chancellor, Honey Lake Clinic and Director of Excellence in Christian Psychiatry, Honey Lake Clinic

What are you dealing with? Is it an anxiety or a panic attack?

Panic Attacks—

The symptoms of a panic attack can include:

  • hyperventilation (heavy breathing)
  • trembling or shaking
  • a feeling like you’re being choked
  • nausea or churning stomach
  • feeling faint or disoriented
  • feverish, hot or cold flashes

Anxiety Attacks—

The Symptoms of an anxiety attack can include:

  • muscle tension
  • disturbed sleep and nightmares
  • difficulty concentrating
  • fatigue
  • restlessness, irritation and agitation
  • being startled easily
  • racing heartbeat, shortness of breath

The differences between panic and anxiety are most recognizable in terms of the intensity of their symptoms and the length of time the main symptoms occur. Speaking with someone who understands and who can help you find relief is key. We want to help.

Anxiety disorders are closely knitted to stress in a person’s life. Sufferers benefit from learning some stress identification, anticipation, and management techniques to help during attacks, and to avoid future attacks from happening.

Panic attacks are often rooted in other psychological struggles, so treatment usually requires digging a little deeper.

Both conditions require attention. Without proper treatment, sufferers have experienced related health issues—cardiac, gastro-intestinal issues and more. Sufferers have even descended into substance abuse, depression and even suicidal thoughts.

In other words—anxiety or panic attacks—take this seriously. Get help.

Because they are such powerful and painful experiences, anxiety and panic attack sufferers can feel out of control.

There is good news—Anxiety and panic attacks and their symptoms can be successfully treated with the right information, help, and support. With treatment, many people get back to a fulfilling life.

With anxiety attacks, shorter-term medications are helpful for decreasing the anxiety, allowing you to learn better stress and emotion management skills. With panic attacks, because these usually arise from deeper issues, longer-term antidepressants can be very beneficial in halting the panic attacks to get to the root causes through therapy.

With both, the spiritual side of treatment is invaluable. Learning to lean on God for peace and rest and apply Biblical instruction will be the ultimate help to renew your mind and deal with adversity, worry, and fear.

At Honey Lake Clinic, our experienced doctors and staff recognize that faith-based treatment, encompassing your spiritual, physical and mental health, will provide you with the long-lasting tools and knowledge to find happiness and wholeness again.

Anxiety and panic attacks can disrupt your everyday life. Whether you experience them or you want to understand what a friend or loved one is going through, we want to help. To learn more or get started today, call Honey Lake Clinic (888) 837-6577 Email or visit