Anxiety vs Panic Attack
Although most people use the terms anxiety attack and panic attack as synonyms, they are not.
Anxiety attacks are a generalized period of getting upset, distressed, or freaked out due to known stressors. It can include both physical and psychological symptoms as noted above. Taking deep breaths, taking a break and positive self-talk are effective coping skills.
Panic attacks on the other hand are more severe. They can result in people going to the hospital thinking they are dying. Especially when they first start happening, these attacks seem to come out of nowhere and are unprovoked. With time and therapy, a pattern can often be detected. Learning better emotion regulation, stress management and positive self-talk can be helpful with panic attacks. However, in the beginning people are often given a medication to help so that they do not continue to go to the ER or call 911. It can also take time, reassurance and physical evaluation for these folks to believe that their symptoms are psychological in nature and not due to an undetected medical issue.
Just because these symptoms are the result of psychological forces makes the symptoms or the distress a person feels no less real. They are deserving of empathy and support.