Anxiety attacks and panic attacks are the same.
The National Institute of Mental Health categorizes anxiety
attacks under the classification Panic
attacks are often also referred to as Panic Attack Disorder or
Anxiety Attack Disorder. Anxiety attack disorder is included
in the overarching category of Anxiety Disorder.
Those who experience anxiety attack disorder
are not alone. It’s estimated that 19 percent of the
North American adult population (ages 18 to 54) experiences
an anxiety disorder, and 3 percent of the North American adult
population experiences anxiety attack disorder. We believe
that number is much higher, since many conditions go undiagnosed
While everyone experiences brief episodes of intense anxiety
from time to time, and a great many people experience one or
two anxiety attacks over the course of their lifetime, anxiety
attack disorder occurs when these attacks become frequent or
persistent, begin interfering with or restricting normal lifestyle,
or when the individual becomes afraid of them. Once established,
anxiety attack disorder can be very debilitating.
Anxiety attack disorder generally starts with one unexplained
attack that causes the individual to become concerned. As other
attacks occur, fear of having anxiety attacks, what they mean,
what the associated symptoms mean, and where the attacks and
symptoms may lead, increases. This escalation of fear is often
the catalyst that brings on the attacks, causing the individual
to be seemingly caught in a cycle of fear then panic, then more
fear, then more panic, and so on.
An anxiety attack can be described as a sudden
attack of fear, terror, or feelings of impending doom that
strike without warning and for no apparent reason. This strong
sensation or feeling can also be accompanied by a number of
other symptoms, including pounding heart, rapid heart rate,
sweating, lightheadedness, nausea, hot or cold flashes, chest
pain, hands and feet may feel numb, tingly skin sensations,
burning skin sensations, irrational thoughts, fear of losing
control, and a number of other symptoms. (While other symptoms
often do accompany anxiety attacks, they don’t necessarily
An anxiety attack can last anywhere between
a few moments to 30 or more minutes. It’s also common for subsequent attacks
to follow, causing the overall anxiety attack experience to last
much longer as one episode is followed by another episode. Even
though the attack episode eventually ends, it’s common
for the symptoms and after effects of an attack to linger for
hours or even days, depending upon the severity of the attack.
The highest incidence of the onset of anxiety
attack disorder occurs in the 17 to 25 years of age range.
But people from all age groups can experience anxiety attacks.
Many people remember having them as children (anxiety attacks
that occur in childhood are often misunderstood as feeling “sick” or
the onset of the flu).
Anxiety attack disorder is reportedly more likely to develop
in women than in men, however, the statistics may be misleading
because men are more reluctant to seek professional help.
Anxiety attack disorder
is often misunderstood. Many sources
claim that anxiety attack disorder is genetically or biologically
caused, or both, because it commonly occurs in families. But
research has yet to find any medical or scientific evidence to
support these claims.
Based on our personal and professional experiences with anxiety
and anxiety disorders, we know that the factors that cause anxiety
disorders are learned, and therefore are behavioral and NOT genetically
inherited or biologically caused.
Yes, anxiety disorders DO have a biological component, but the
biological component is a RESULT of our behaviors and NOT the
initial CAUSE of them.
And yes, it is common for anxiety disorders
to run in families, but it’s because of environmental
factors, NOT genetic factors.
Anyone who has experienced anxiety attack disorder will tell
you that anxiety attacks can be frightening and severely debilitating.
But anxiety attack disorder IS fully reversible, and anyone can
do it with the right information, help, and support.
Anxiety attack disorder is best treated early. Conditions allowed
to persist often become more complicated, and consequently, lengthier
Nonetheless, anxiety attack disorder at ANY stage is fully resolvable.
When the right information, help, and support are combined with
effort and application, anyone can do it.
Our experience has shown that the most effective treatment for
anxiety attack disorder is the combination of good self-help
information and Personal Coaching/Counseling/Therapy. Since the
underlying factors that cause anxiety attack disorder are learned,
generally a professional therapist is required to help uncover,
identify, and successfully address them. Working with a professional
therapist ensures that these underlying factors are effectively
And because the underlying factors associated
with anxiety disorders (including anxiety attack disorder)
are learned, there are no “quick-fix
remedies or cures” for anxiety disorders. Treatments that
claim “miracle or secret cures” should be avoided.
That said, we want to
encourage you. Anxiety
attack disorder is fully resolvable when it is approached in
the right way. And anyone can do it. There’s no reason
to suffer needlessly.
The worst thing you can do is nothing! Anxiety attack disorder,
like other anxiety disorders, almost never goes away by itself.
The longer nothing is done, the more entrenched it can become.
Early intervention is the best course of action.
When I (Jim Folk) was suffering with severe anxiety disorder
including intense anxiety attacks, many people told me that I
might have to live with it (and be on medication) for the rest
of my life. I'm glad I didn't follow their advice.
“I recovered because I learned
what to do, and then applied what I learned. This same approach
works for everyone.” – Jim
All of us at anxietycentre.com have recovered using the same
approach. It works, because it has to. When you do the right
things, you get the right results.
If you are experiencing anxiety attacks, an anxiety disorder
or stress disorder, you can regain control of your health...naturally
and permanently. You can live a normal life again...and medication
Anxietycentre.com was established to help others succeed. Because
of our own struggles with debilitating anxiety, we are passionate
about helping others regain their health and normal lives, as
Again, don’t suffer needlessly. You
can conquer your anxiety disorder and eliminate your anxiety
symptoms, and for good. We are committed to helping you do that.
For more information about our self-help
For more information about our Personal
For a listing of common anxiety
Panic disorder often co-exists with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Depression, Stress Disorder, and Sleep Disorder / Insomnia.
For more information and recovery support, become a member and learn how to overcome your struggle with anxiety attacks.
Authors: Jim Folk, Marilyn Folk, BScN. Last updated November 2014.