Our expert says:
Psychologist: Hi Skye,
A Panic attack is a period of intense fear or discomfort that starts very suddenly in combination with at least four of the symptoms below:
Palpitations or pounding heart, sweating, trembling or shaking, shortness of breath, feeling of choking, chest pain or discomfort, nausea or abdominal distress, dizziness or a feeling of being faint, feelings of unreality or feeling detached from oneself, a fear of losing control or going crazy, fear of dying, chills, hot flushes or tingling sensations.
An anxiety attack is a more non specific term that is not formally used, but many people use the word to describe symptoms related to feeling intense anxiety at a particular time. Many people also describe some of the biological symptoms that also occur in a panic attack.
I think one of the main distinctions of the two could be the difference between feeling intense anxiety and the feeling of fear. Anxiety is a signal that warns us of impending danger and helps us deal with the danger or threat. Fear is a response to a known, external event. In a panic attack the person feels fear because they have thoughts that there is a real danger of them dying or losing control whereas the person feeling intense anxiety at a particular time may feel the discomfort, but don’t have a paralyzing fear.
I hope this helps distinguish between the two a little more clearly.
The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal
advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.