Anxiety Attack vs Panic Attack

Anxiety attack vs panic attack — is there a difference?

Discover the scientific answer in this episode of “Panic Free TV” Q&A...


Brett asks “is there a difference between panic attacks and anxiety attacks?”

Hi, I’m Michael Norman and welcome to another episode of “Panic Free TV” Q&A. This is where as a scientist and anxiety specialist, I answer your most pressing questions relating to panic attacks — so that we can help you finally get back to normal, panic-free life again.

Now words are just agreed-on labels for certain experiences, and because of this… different people choose to label things in different ways.

Some people use the phrase “anxiety attack” to refer to a less intense panic attack.

Some people use it to refer to a more “cognitive” panic attack, one were there are less body sensations and mainly just fearful thoughts.

Most people, though, tend to use the two phrases interchangeably, to mean exactly the same thing.

Now I’m passionate about accuracy and I’m passionate about good science — and scientifically, panic and anxiety are actually distinct phenomena.

And while there are a lot of commonalities between the two, and while it’s often hard to separate them… in reality panic and anxiety involve different brain circuitries, different hormonal profiles, and different biologies.

For example…

A panic attack is a literal adrenaline rush, with very little, if any, of the famous stress hormone cortisol.

Cortisol, though, is predominant in anxiety.

Psychologically… panic is a fear response that relates to specific perceived IMMINENT threats.

Anxiety on the other hand is best described more as worry than fear… and it’s related to what we perceive as being more distant, more uncertain and often more abstract threats.

So while most people use the words anxiety and panic to meaning similar things, from a scientific point of view, again, they’re actually distinct phenomena.

And having this understanding, I hope you can appreciate why I would never use the term “anxiety attack”.

People might feel anxious about having a panic attack, and their anxiety might lead to a panic attack… but the word “attack” implies a fast, dramatic, intense response, and scientifically that’s a fear or panic response, not anxiety.

So why is ANY of this important?

And how does this directly relate to you having a more care-free, panic-free life?

Well, if you suffer from anxiety or panic… since they’re related but distinct phenomena… we need to give you the best (specialised) tools to help you with both.

Now, if you’d like my best free help ending both your panic attacks and anxiety that surrounds them… then you’ll want to watch my free “Panic Free TV” Foundation Series.

It’s simple science-based help for panic attacks that will show you the fastest way to go from wherever you are right now… back to a life that’s as normal, care-free, and panic-free, as anyone else you know.

Again… my foundation series is totally free, and you can watch the first episode right now.

I hope this video has been valuable to you.

I’m Michael Norman, and thanks so much for watching