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What’s the Difference Between a Panic Attack and a Nervous Breakdown?

In essence, you can think of a panic attack as a ‘type’ of nervous breakdown, according to Dr. Todd Essig, clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst. Panic attacks are severe attacks of anxiety and fear that often come on without warning, but make you think you’re about to die, even though you’re not actually in danger. A nervous breakdown, however, is a broader umbrella term associated with nervous exhaustion or burnout. The good news is you can recover from both a nervous breakdown and a panic attack. “Self-knowledge is an important component of recovery,” Dr. Essig says. “You have to know what works for you and what doesn’t,” he added.

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