I’ve had severe panic attacks on and off since I was 16 years old. Although I may never be able to pinpoint their exact cause, I’ve long suspected that some of the traumas I experienced as a child (divorce, abandonment, custody battles, and verbal abuse) contributed to my panic disorder.
Recently, though, my therapist mentioned something in passing that illuminated the whole phenomenon for me in an entirely different way. She said that when we hold our emotions inside, they tend to kind of morph into conditions like anxiety and panic.
A lightbulb went off in my brain then: I could picture myself, a young girl, witnessing and experiencing all sort of things that I now know were most certainly traumatic, and basically just standing there absorbing them all. I was always the “good girl,” whom everyone thought was so resilient despite all the difficult things that were unfolding. Continue reading Can Childhood Traumas Cause Panic Disorder?
Knowing the difference between an anxiety attack vs. panic attack is more than an issue of semantics. It can shape the course of your mental health. If you don’t know which one you are having, it will be difficult to find the appropriate treatment or develop useful coping skills. You might waste time addressing the wrong issues.
By understanding the issue of anxiety attacks vs. panic attacks, you can more efficiently address your mental health and the issues behind the attacks. It starts with understanding the more confusing of the two, anxiety attacks.
What Are Anxiety Attacks? – Clinical Terms vs. Colloquial Terms
“Anxiety attack” is not an official clinical term. The latest edition of the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” [DSM-5], a book the vast majority of mental health professionals abide by, does not list it (we’ll be sure to update this article if that fact changes during the next release of the DSM). Continue reading Anxiety Attack vs. Panic Attack: Which One Are You Having?
If you are having a panic attack at work while reading this, please immediately follow the simple steps below (if not, skip this section):
- Pull up this article on your phone so you can reference it after leaving your workstation.
- Leave the situation you are in as soon as possible. If you need to, make an excuse such as needing to use the bathroom.
- Head to the nearest place where you will have privacy or at least avoid interactions that will exacerbate the panic attack. It could be a small, private office, a phone booth, a bathroom stall, a bathroom for only one person or maybe outside the office.
- Focus on your breathing. Try to take deep breaths through your nose and let your stomach expand. Continue this until your symptoms improve.
- While you are breathing, remind yourself this isn’t your fault. You didn’t do anything wrong.
- Counter the thought that might be causing or contributing to your panic attack. Now that you’ve found a place where you can better handle your symptoms, think about how safe you are. Nothing can hurt you right now. Everything is OK.
- Remember, you have handled panic attacks before. You were OK then and you will be OK now.
- Focus on your breathing again.
- Repeat steps 4-8 as many times as you need to. Remember, there is no rush. Everything is OK.
- Head home if you need to. Your health is more important than trying to tough it out and get more work done.
- Once the panic attack is over, congratulate yourself. Recognize how that satisfaction makes your body feel. Remember that feeling.
It’s hard to read detailed steps when you are sweating profusely and trying to hold it together. Use the above steps if this is your first time visiting this article. Keep reading if you want in-depth advice for future use. Continue reading How to Handle a Panic Attack at Work: The Complete Guide