Re: Are Panic Disorders and Anxiety Disorders the same thing???
You can have panic attacks without ever having conscious anxiety, and you can have anxiety for many years without ever having a panic attack. From what I understand, doctors tend to use "panic disorder" to describe people who do NOT have negative thoughts, obsessive-compulsive habits, social anxiety, etc., but DO have sporadic panic attacks. And they tend to use "anxiety disorder" to describe people who DO have very nervous, perfectionist personalities and lots of conscious anxiety in their day to day lives.
However, I think the two are very closely related. For example, I was completely flabbergasted when I was diagnosed with panic disorder 2 years ago. I was *sure* that the random, temporary moments of complete terror and insanity I was experiencing were some type of physical disease like a brain tumor or degenerative nerve disease, because it made no sense at all that I of all people would have an "uptight" disorder. I was extremely laid back, almost to the point of being lazy, I was the complete OPPOSITE of a perfectionist, didn't care what anyone thought of me, and I was adventurous, not afraid of anything. But I had panic attacks. There were no "triggers", I didn't think of anything stressful when I had a panic attack. It was literally like I'd be going about my day, chilling, and all of a sudden I'd be convinced I was going to die and I'd started hallucinating and hyperventilating.
HOWEVER, over time I sort of became a very anxious person. My therapist pointed out to me that I DO have anxiety and stress, I just don't express it the same way that openly anxious people do. I wouldn't be surprised if I went in to get another diagnosis and it had changed from panic disorder to anxiety disorder. Panic attacks, even just random ones, turned me into a person who worries and frets all the time. Being afraid of them, etc.
Hope this helps.