Panic Attacks/Anxiety Attacks

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Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 191
   Posted 7/19/2008 3:12 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm just curious...What exactly is the difference between an anxiety attack and a panic attack? Or are they the same thing but two different names?
I'm pretty sure I've been having one or the other, or both?
I'm a very paranoid person, and when I'm in big crowds of people, I get very hot to the point I feel sick. When I'm at work, if I make the smallest mistake I get so paranoid and disappointed and scared I start to cry and breath heavy...I have to run up to the bathroom and just cry and then pull myself together before I go back down to work.
I ALWAYS feel like all eyes are on me even if they're not. I lose all sense of everything I know and everything I am because I just feel like I'm constantly being stared at.
So I'm constantly feeling sick and scared and need to rush to be alone for a few minutes to pull myself together.
Whats the real issue at hand here?
-Anxiety Attacks-
-Daily Migraine Headaches-
-Chronic Pain-
Daily Amitriptyline
"Tell them to look up. Tell them to remember the stars."

getting by
Forum Moderator

Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 40386
   Posted 7/19/2008 5:41 PM (GMT -6)   


Just for the heck of it, I looked in the dictionary and came up with this.

Panic, Sudden overwhelming fear that produces hysterical or irrational behavior.

Anxiety, distress or uneasiness caused by danger or misfortion.  A state of aprehension psychic tension found in mental illness.

So I would say that anxiety would be more of tension and nervousness.  Where panic is more of a reaction to something stressful. 

Hope that this helps some.

Best wishes,

hugs, Karen...

  Moderator-Depression and fibromyalgia
fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression,allergies

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 2721
   Posted 7/20/2008 7:40 PM (GMT -6)   


It sounds to me like you might have both. I have listed the symptoms of panic and anxiety attacks for you.

A panic attack as outlined by the DSMIV:

A discrete period of intense fear or discomfort, in which four (or more) of the following symptoms developed abruptly and reached a peak within 10 minutes:

1) palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate

2) sweating

3) trembling or shaking

4) sensations of shortness of breath or smothering

5) feeling of choking

6) chest pain or discomfort

7) nausea or abdominal distress

8) feeling dizzy, unsteady, lightheaded, or faint

9) derealization (feelings of unreality) or depersonalization (being detached from oneself)

10) fear of losing control or going crazy

11) fear of dying

12) paresthesias (numbness or tingling sensations)

13) chills or hot flushes


None of them fun!
An Anxiety "attack" is:

A. Excessive anxiety and worry (apprehensive expectation), occurring more days than not for at least 6 months, about a number of events or activities (such as work or school performance). 

B. The person finds it difficult to control the worry. 

C. The anxiety and worry are associated with three (or more) of the following six symptoms (with at least some symptoms present for more days than not for the past 6 months). Note: Only one item is required in children. 

(1) restlessness or feeling keyed up or on edge 
(2) being easily fatigued 
(3) difficulty concentrating or mind going blank 
(5) muscle tension 
(6) sleep disturbance (difficulty falling or staying asleep, or restless unsatisfying sleep) 

D. The focus of the anxiety and worry is not confined to features of an Axis I disorder, e.g., the anxiety or worry is not about having a Panic Attack (as in Panic Disorder), being embarrassed in public (as in Social Phobia), being contaminated (as in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder), being away from home or close relatives (as in Separation Anxiety Disorder), gaining weight (as in Anorexia Nervosa), having multiple physical complaints (as in Somatization Disorder), or having a serious illness (as in Hypochondriasis), and the anxiety and worry do not occur exclusively during Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

E. The anxiety, worry, or physical symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. 

F. The disturbance is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition (e.g., hyperthyroidism) and does not occur exclusively during a Mood Disorder, a Psychotic Disorder, or a Pervasive Developmental Disorder.

A panic attack is more likely to last for a shorter, but more intense period. An overall feeling of anxiety can be with you all day long.

Sorry for the wordiness! Hope this clears it up.


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