Panic Attack vs Anxiety Attack, What’s the Difference

Panic attacks and anxiety attacks are not the same- although people sometimes use them interchangeably. “What’s the Difference” is a new series for HML that will discover the actual difference between many words or phrases that we use.

So, what’s a “panic attack” as defined by clinical psychiatrists?

And an “anxiety attack”?


  • Usually occurs unexpectedly
  • Sudden and extremely disruptive
  • More intense physical symptoms
  • Triggered by body’s “flight or fight” response


  • Usually has specific triggers
  • Builds in intensity
  • Can be mild, moderate or severe
  • Focused on specific stressors

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