Panic Attack vs. Anxiety Attack: How to Tell The Difference

Woman Experiencing A Panic Attack

]Our bodies each possess a complex fight-or-flight response meant to keep us out of danger, but sometimes this system can work against us and cause extreme anxiety and panic. Learn more about the difference between these stressful responses and what you can do about them for a happier, healthier life.

What Is A Panic Attack?

Panic attacks can occur when your body’s autonomous fight-or-flight response kicks in during a situation where you aren’t actually in physical danger. They may happen in response to a trigger or even out of the blue. If you have generalized anxiety, social anxiety, agoraphobia, OCD, or PTSD, you may have increased risks of having a panic attack.

Common Panic Attack Symptoms

  • Extreme Anxiety & Fear
  • Accelerated Heart Rate
  • Nausea & Stomach Discomfort
  • Feeling Dizzy & Lightheaded
  • Headaches
  • Chills Or Hot Flashes
  • Numbness Or Tingling
  • Trembling & Shaking
  • Chest Pain
  • Chest Or Throat Tightness
  • Feelings Of Suffocation Or Choking
  • Shortness of Breath & Hyperventilation
  • Feeling Disconnected From Reality
  • Fear Of Losing Control Of Yourself
  • Fear Of “Going Crazy”
  • Feelings Of Impending Doom

Panic Attacks Vs. Anxiety Attacks

Panic attacks differ from anxiety attacks in that they often come with additional physical and mental symptoms that feel stronger and utterly terrifying. For example, you may feel like you can’t breathe, your heart is going to fail, or like you are no longer in control of your own body and actions. Many people even call 911 or visit an ER when this happens because they think they’re dying.

Could It Be An Anxiety Attack?

That being said, anxiety attacks can also be very unpleasant to experience, even if the symptoms are a bit less “extreme” compared to panic attacks. You don’t have to feel like you’re dying or losing touch with the world around you to deserve treatment from a professional anxiety therapist or counselor.

Anxiety Attack Symptoms

  • Anxiety, Apprehension, Worry, Or Fear
  • Restlessness & Irritability
  • Accelerated Heart Rate
  • Nausea & Gastrointestinal Discomfort
  • Chest Or Throat Tightness
  • Dry Mouth
  • Headaches
  • Muscle Tension
  • Dizziness Or Lightheadedness
  • Chills Or Hot Flashes
  • Numbness Or Tingling
  • Trembling & Shaking
  • Chest Pains

How Dr. Huang Can Help

Although there are several key differences between panic and anxiety attacks, both are extremely unpleasant to experience and can be treated by a mental health professional. Dr. Taji Huang is a licensed psychologist trained in CBT, DBT, trauma therapy, anxiety and panic attack treatment, and more.

Getting Help For Anxiety In California

If you have been experiencing anxiety or panic attacks, Dr. Taji Huang in California can help you take back control of your life and help you find the relief you need. She primarily works in the Glendale area, but also provides telehealth services to people all over California. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and get the help you need.

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