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Causes of Panic Disorder: Blocked Emotions

by Dr. Blumberg on December 19, 2010

Holiday Panic Attacks

The Holidays were rapidly approaching.  *Janet, a 35 year old married Nurse, was busily preparing for her family to visit. After she had completed most of her preparation, she took a break and started to thumb through a family photo album.  All of a sudden, “Out of the Blue”, she felt a wave of lightheadedness. Then, heat waves swept over her. She began gasping for air. Her legs turned to jelly.  Now her throat was tightening.  It felt like a ball was lodged in her throat. The throat pressure and lump in her throat was so intense, she was convinced her throat was closing up and she would suffocate.

The Panic Checklist

Janet immediately arranged an urgent care visit with her Family Doctor.  He conducted a thorough investigation and concluded that she was in perfect health.  Then the Doctor asked Janet to complete The Panic Checklist.

After Janet completed The Panic Checklist, she said to the Doctor “I can’t believe it! I checked everything off.”  The Doctor said, “Janet, your complaints are consistent with a diagnosis of panic disorder. I want you to schedule a visit with Doctor Blumberg. He is an expert on Panic Disorder.”

Early Diagnosis Improves Quality of Care

It is very exciting for me to evaluate and treat panic disorder immediately after the onset of the first blast of panic that drives patients to the Emergency Room or urgent care. Right after the first attack, this anxiety condition is just in the formative stages.  Early diagnosis and intervention, as soon as panic strikes, maximizes a rapid positive outcome.

The First Visit with Doctor Blumberg and the Panic Blueprint

When I met with Janet in our initial evaluation, I immediately took out the panicLINK Log and helped Janet see her 3 factor panic profile. Her 3 factor profile is the Blueprint and foundation of living panic free. The first factor is the trigger, the thoughts, feelings and circumstances surrounding Janet’s first panic attack.  I asked Janet “What were you doing, thinking and feeling right before your first attack?”  She said “I had just finished getting the house ready for company and was looking through a photo album.”

The second Factor is the physical symptoms of panic. Under the symptom column, Janet wrote “lightheadedness, hot, rubbery legs, shortness of breath and a lump in the throat.”   The third factor is the false catastrophic thought (FCT) about where you think the symptoms will lead.  Under the FCT column, Janet wrote “Throat close up and suffocate.”

Now, Janet’s first step was to break the false link between the panic attack physical symptoms and the false catastrophic thought.  Janet realizes her lump in the throat will not lead to her throat closing up. “But what is causing my lump in the throat?” Janet asked.

The Missing Link is Right before Your Very Eyes

I asked Janet, “When you were thumbing through the family album, what were your exact thoughts and feelings?”  She responded, “That’s it!”  I had lost my father 10 months ago.  I was thinking that this would be the first holiday without my father.”  Then Janet said, “Oh no!  That horrible lump is back again!”

A Message from Doctor Blumberg

When you make the link, panic attack symptoms can turn into emotions.  Complex barriers to seeing the link often occur.  Never force link discovery.  Your first step is always execution of the six takeControl training steps.  Then you must be rebound ready.  The discovery and mastery of the missing link is the final phase to living panic free.

*References to real persons, places and events are made in a fictional context, and are not intended in any way to be libelous, defamatory or in any way factual. This educational information should always be used in consultation with your doctor to confirm a diagnosis and review available treatments for panic disorder.

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