You hear the term often, especially if its a part of your life, but do you understand the difference between panic attacks and panic disorder? Knowing this can be an important part of building a foundation for overcoming your panic. Lets take a look at how panic attacks can become panic disorder so we can learn to focus our recovery efforts more efficiently and effectively.
- Panic attacks are physical. Panic disorder is cognitive and behavioral.
- A panic attack is a discrete physical event with a beginning and and end.
- Having panic attacks does not mean one has panic disorder.
- Panic disorder is characterized by how you focus on your panic between attacks and how you change your life to avoid or cope with them.
- Many people have regular panic attacks without ever developing panic disorder.
- Since panic disorder develops based on learned cognitive connections between perceived danger and the behaviors we engage to either escape that danger or avoid it altogether.
- Since panic disorder is cognitive, focusing on eliminating the physical sensations of panic tends to be a dead end. You must work on the cognitive and behavioral side of things to be most effective.
- This means working on facing your fear without engaging in escape, safety or avoidance behaviors. This is how the cognitive connections that fuel panic disorder are broken and un-learned.
Intro/Ending Music Credit: Title Autumn Day (Kevin MacLeod – incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0