The Anxiety Disorders Association of America notes that anxiety is the most common mental illness in America. It is easy to get confused about the difference between an anxiety attack and a panic attack, and there are similarities but also some differences.
When a person has an anxiety attack it is usually triggered by something like walking down a lonely road and hearing footsteps. When the stress factor disappears, so does the anxiety attack.
Anxiety can happen to anyone, for example, in an interview or during pregnancy. When anxiety becomes constant and overwhelming, an anxiety disorder develops.
A panic attack is not a response to a stress factor. It is unpredictable and encourages terror and fear in the individual. He or she can stop going to certain places for fear of experiencing a panic attack.
A panic attack can happen once, or it may be repeating. The latter tends to occur in a specific situation such as public speaking. A situation that causes you to panic makes you feel like you cannot escape from it.
Treatment for anxiety and panic attacks include drugs such as antidepressants and behavior therapy.