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Anxiety attack vs Panic attack

I was wondering if anyone knows if there is a difference between an anxiety attack and a panic attack?

I know that I have had a panic attack in the past, out of the blue about a year or so ago.  But I'm just wondering about anxiety attacks, if they are the same thing or not.  I am feeling really weird right now.  

A little while ago I was putting away laundry and I suddenly felt SO out of breath.  Then I felt warm and tingly.  Of course I think heart and BAM I start getting that really weird feeling inside like a panic attack is coming on....but it doesn't.  I feel like I am jittery inside but yet my heart rate seems normal, regular and not fast.  My left chest is sore and I can feel the same spot on my chest hurting on my back (if that makes sense).   I am also feeling a little light headed and just not myself.  I am dreading the when my husband goes to sleep because I know that the feeling will intensify.  Is this an anxiety attack?  Is this what anxiety is?  Or is this a pre-panic attack thing?

Thanks, tanns
15 Responses
Avatar universal
Hey Tanns,

From your symptoms you're describing im pretty much guessing it's a panic attack. A panic attack is more intense as you get chest pains, shortness of breath, impeding doom, and just downright scared of what is going to happen next and thinking that something is horribly wrong. I think panic attacks are mostly when you start fearing and getting paranoid and then all of a sudden an extreme attack happens. Anxiety has similar symptoms but usually goes away within 10-15 minutes.

Here's something you can look at to differ the two.



Well hun..just try and stay calm and get all negative thoughts out of your mind. Don't think it's going to be worse. YOU control your mind. If you can..try and do something to get it off your mind like watching tv, reading, praying..etc.. it should help and should be feeling normal again. Hope you feel better!
183202 tn?1219857259
A lot of times, the terms anxiety attack and panic attack or panic disorder and anxiety disorder are used interchangeably. Yet I think this can sometimes be misleading and confusing.

There are different types of anxiety disorders, like OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), General Anxiety Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Panic Disorder, and Social Anxiety Disorder. So using the term "Anxiety Disorder" or "Anxiety Attack" to coincide with what is really is just ONE varient of an Anxiety Disorder is horribly wrong, in my opinion.

Yet nevertheless, the terms are STILL today used interchangeably. I usually just call them Panic Attacks or Panic Disorder, because it is the appropriate term and diagnosis for it.

Yet your condition sounds like pure Panic Disorder. You get a LOT of the same symptoms I do. Usually mine are more physical, and less emotional as well. I get head tingliness, numbness, tingliness in parts of my body during the day, muscles that tense up for no reason, heart/chest palps and chest pain, etc. Usually the symptoms come on abrubtly and for no reason. Sometimes it is just a minor twinge, sometimes it is more physical and some underlying anxiety that then pops up, but not too much, and sometimes I panic and go into chaos, which then leads the physical symptoms to progress and worsen.
165308 tn?1323190145
Anxiety attacks and panic attacks are the same thing with different names.  The reason for them can be from many disorders...eg:  social anxiety, agoraphobia, OCD, Post-traumatic stress..etc.
Avatar universal
Thanks for the reply.  I have had a panic attack before, this was not like it.  There was no seizing up of muscles, hyperventilation or chills.  It was just a crappy feeling that stayed around for a long time.  This morning my left chest area aches and feels tired.

Did you ever get the Linden Method material you ordered?  I was just wondering how it was working for you.  I wish you the best with it.

Thanks to all who replied, it was a horrible feeling last night and seems to subside in the morning.  That alone should reassure me that it isn't my heart.  Maybe some day........
Avatar universal
I'm not a doctor, but I did suffer the same attacks as you describe...out of the blue. Mine started when I began taking a diet pill 4 yrs ago...it put me in the hospital. Ever since I get the "out of the blue" attacks. Racing heart...or it feels like it. Jittery feeling, tight chest, etc. And as you described, when your husband goes to sleep they get worse. I was the same way. Let me tell you how I managed to get them under control. It's all mental...remember that. Your brain talked you in to the attack, you can talk it out! No one has ever died from one of these "panic" or "anxiety" attacks. If you tell yourself that and realize you can control it. YOU CAN. FIrst try to think about something else, if your mind is off it, it won't think about the attack. I guess it more of the fear of the attack, than the actual attack. Here's a good time to ask your husband to put you to sleep with a head or back rub....good luck and I hope this helps.
165308 tn?1323190145
Yes, I have received the Linden Method that I have ordered.  I only perused it briefly because I seem to not have any time!  I work full time and have a 21 month old at home and I usually follow her to bed by a half hour!  I hope to get to it soon....from what I have read, it seems like it takes a real no-nonsense approach to managing and "curing" the panic.  I am very hopeful about the program....hopefully I will be able to post soon to give my review!
Avatar universal
hi ive had my first panic attack one year ago. i was in a deep sleep and woke up with a rapid heart beat and loss of contrl  i woke my husband and never been the same since that day. i take lexapro and im having severe hair loss but no other symptoms it does well otherwise i really didnt want to go on meds but i couln not stand it anymore. has anyone else had these prblems?
Avatar universal
Hello, i've just been reading the posts here and just wanted to say that i suffer from anxiety/panic attacks and it does make your life hell. I used to be an outgoing person, bubbly and loved to have a laugh with all my mates. I started having these horrible symtoms about eleven years ago it was a scorching hot summer and i was going out wih this bloke who wouldn't let me do what i wanted and i also had a four year old daughter to look after, he used to leave me crying/screaming my eyes out on the sofa downstairs while he slept soundly upstairs. He or nobody seemed to understand how i was feeling and noone really seemed to care either. I went to my doctor and he didn't know what to do and said that i was having a nervous breakdown and sent me to see a phycologist, when i went for my appointment they only seen me once and said that i seemed fine and didn't need medication so because of this i suffered for years before i ended up in A&E thinking i was cracking up, the doctor there put me on 20mg Fluoxetine, It didn't help i went back and forth to the doctor and he told me that it takes time for the medicine to work, i took it for a few years and it helped slightly but didn't stop the panics. When three years ago i was on my third pregnancy i decided to stop the fluoxetine as i seemed to feel better whilst i was pregnant.I got a job in my local hospital and i have three lovely daughters, i stopped drinking as it seemed to bring on panic attacks and i've been feeling great, I have not had a panic attack up  until a week ago, i went out to celebrate my mums birthday and had a great time and the next day i got up and bang i had a feeling of dread and thought oh my god its starting again after all this time, i can't seem to enjoy myself anymore and its really getting me down as quick as it did all them years ago, i can usually fight it and deal with it but i feel to tired and it feels as though if i went to a doctor about it they think i'm lying as i have been ok for years, i just wish i could be "normal"again, i can't understand why i feel like this as i have a brilliant life, but it pulls you down so fast like its never gone away, Don't know what step to take now but its nice to know that i'm not the only one. Im 36 by the way and i'm sorry for rambling on :)
Avatar universal
I'm blogging in an optimistic way, come and join: www.nopanicattack.blogspot.com
Avatar universal
I've had the same problems. About a year ago all my anxiety started. I was put on ativan for whenever i felt i needed to take it when i felt an attack coming. I've only had one serious panic attack where i was laying on the couch watching tv, all of a sudden my heart started pounding my left arm went numb i couldnt breathe and thought i was going to pass out, went to the ER and my heart is perfectly healthy and they said it was a panic attack. My doc perscribed me with zoloft, which i must say, was a life saver. For months before i had felt depressed, never wanted to get out of bed and didn't feel like myself. I'm a 21 year old female in good health and everything. I was on zoloft for 5 months and quit taking it, and up until recetly have felt fine but now i'm starting to have my anxiety symptoms again. Anyone have any advice?
Avatar universal
Right now I'm so jittery inside. My whole body and my toes feel like it went to sleep. I went to the doctor and I have a clean bill of health. I was breaking out a lot, but I changed smokes and the rash is now gone. I don't have the hives anymore, but it feels like someone stuck a vibrating device inside my whole body. I have been shaking really bad lately. It's like sometimes I think my head is going to come off I shake so bad. I can't hold on to things sometimes, not sure what that is though. Sometimes I get racing heart and blurry vision, come to find out it was a panic attack, when I went to the ER, but it scared me. I could hardly see an my heart rate was very high. I was crying because I could hardly breath but the doctor gave me a Xanx right away. I have very bad panic attacks.

I play video games a lot it helps me to forget, esp when I'm in a boss fight. I am too excited to know I'm going through a panic attack. I get chest pains to, bad.. and heart burn. My heart is very good right now. I always think I'm dying to, this is why I been to the ER at least 4 times already. I am not going back as I will get told I'm having panic attacks again.
Avatar universal
All excellent answers; I cannot offer anymore information.
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