Get To Know the Difference Between Panic and Anxiety Attacks as per ER Experts at South Shore ER in League City, Texas.


South Shore ER is proud to serve as League City’s premier emergency care facility. We are proud to be League City’s go-to emergency care provider, and we aim to satisfy every single one of our patients. We provide quick and compassionate emergency medical treatment and we have top-of-the-line equipment. Most people don’t know the difference between anxiety and panic attacks. This blog by our experts is a guide into the differences between anxiety and panic attacks including their symptoms and diagnosis.

Anxiety and Panic Attacks

You may encounter the words “anxiety attack” and “panic attack.” being used interchangeably. This seems sensible as they exhibit similar symptoms. However, these terms are used by behavioral health specialists to refer to distinct sets of symptoms and disorders. A panic attack entails a sudden surge of discomfort or intense fear as well as other, physical as well as psychological symptoms. In most cases, panic attacks peak within a few minutes or hours and are episodic. Conversely, anxiety is an involuntary element of the human body’s emotional and protective responses. Anxiety becomes problematic when it persists over time, is extreme, and causes significant distress in everyday life. The term “anxiety attack” is not a medically accepted diagnosis, despite the fact that severe anxiety symptoms often seem like an attack.

What is a Panic Attack?

As aforementioned, a panic attack entails an intense feeling of terror, fear, or discomfort that comes suddenly and is accompanied by additional mental and physical symptoms. The distressing effects of panic attacks can actually disrupt one’s life. A panic attack is defined by the DSM-5 as exhibiting four or more of the following symptoms.

Physical Symptoms

  • Choking feeling
  • Sweating
  • Nausea and stomach upset.
  • Shaking
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Chills
  • Hot flashes
  • Fainting or feeling dizzy
  • Elevated heartbeat rate

Mental Symptoms

  • Fear of losing life.
  • Fear of going crazy.
  • Derealization (Loss of touch with reality).
  • Depersonalization (Disconnection from one’s own identity).
  • Fear of losing it.

Most panic attack episodes come unexpectedly and have no apparent cause. However, they are “expected” when fear results from an established source of tension known as a phobia. Most panic attacks subside in less than 10 minutes. Others may, however, last longer than others.   

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety, on the other hand, is characterized by a gradual but steady intensification over time and is strongly linked to an excessive worry of a perceived or actual threat. Anxiety can manifest itself in a variety of ways.

Physical Symptoms

  • Elevated heartbeat rate
  • Dizziness
  • Disrupted sleep patterns
  • Tiredness
  • Muscle tension

Mental Symptoms 

  • Restlessness
  • Distraction 
  • Irritability


Anxiety symptoms may resemble those of a panic attack but are often less in severity. Anxiety symptoms, in contrast to those of a panic attack, may last for days, weeks, or even months.

Diagnosis of Anxiety and Panic Attacks.

About 19.1% of individuals in the United States suffer from anxiety each year, making it one of the most prevalent mental health illnesses. In fact, the United States Preventative Services Task Force recommends regular anxiety screening for all persons. Talking to a doctor if you’re experiencing anxiety or panic attack symptoms is vital since there are effective therapies available that can improve results and well-being. The Women’s Preventative Services Initiative now advises anxiety screening for all women over the age of 13, since women are twice as likely as men to develop anxiety symptoms. In order to determine the cause of your symptoms, your doctor will take a thorough medical history, do a physical examination, and maybe order laboratory testing. Your doctor or mental health expert may also inquire about the severity, frequency, and lasting effects of your symptoms. They may establish a diagnosis using DSM-5 criteria based on your findings. 


In conclusion, individuals and healthcare professionals can make more educated decisions about the diagnosis and treatment of anxiety and panic attacks if they understand these distinctions. If you or someone you love is suffering from one of these illnesses, obtaining professional help is a critical first step towards better mental health and well-being.

League City’s Premier Emergency Care: Trust South Shore ER for Excellence

South Shore ER understands that when an emergency occurs, every second counts. Our devoted staff is ready to give top-tier treatment 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, guaranteeing you receive rapid attention. We offer speedy testing, imaging, and professional diagnosis with on-site radiology and laboratory facilities. Your health is our first priority, and we’re here to provide the best emergency and urgent care services available. Visit South Shore ER to experience quality in healthcare. Our commitment is to your well-being.