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AMU Wk 3 Diagnosis of Panic Disorder versus Diagnosis of Social Phobia Discussion

AMU Wk 3 Diagnosis of Panic Disorder versus Diagnosis of Social Phobia Discussion


For this week’s discussion assignment, respond to the following: Describe and contrast the nature of panic attacks when present in a diagnosis of Panic Disorder versus a diagnosis of Social Phobia. Discuss one pharmacological and one psychological treatment for symptoms of panic attacks.

Remember that all posts are graded for substance and thoughtful consideration of the discussion topic. Your post must also end with a “Question to the Class” – something related to the topic that you found thought-provoking and about which you’d like to know more and have further dialog. AMU Wk 3 Diagnosis of Panic Disorder versus Diagnosis of Social Phobia Discussion

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Response #1

Hello Class,

A panic attack can happen to anyone at any time. In certain circumstances there the attack may be environmentally based, but it may not. I had one occurrence of a panic attack while in high school, but it never repeated itself. When I was roughly sixteen years old, I remember getting into trouble with my parents and becoming so upset that I had a panic attack. Like others, I would have to describe it as feeling like I had a heart attack. I was rapidly breathing as I felt as if I was being suffocated. There was immense pressure in my chest, and I thought that I had a heart attack. The event took me to my knees as I didn’t have the strength to stand during the whole thing. It must have only lasted about a minute or two, but I was very nervous about it reoccurring. One key difference between a panic attack and panic disorder is a reoccurrence determines that panic disorder for up to one month after the attack. Common treatments may be psychotherapy or SSRIs if medication is required.

Many people can fall into the category of social phobia. A social phobia, or social anxiety disorder, is defined as a marked fear or anxiety about on or more social situations in which the individual is exposed to the possible scrutiny by others (DSM V, 2016). My wife would tell you that I am entirely introverted, and it was not until I started teaching scuba diving that I came out of my shell. Indeed, I do not particularly care for big social events, but when I became a formal military instructor and a trainer, I felt that I could perfect a weakness. I often had issues sleeping the day before I had to teach something and be very nervous in a briefing during my entire career. When I started to enjoy teaching, I felt that I had somehow changed this weakness into a superpower. I have taught in many different aspects for the past six years now, and I have been told that it seems like I have perfected how I relate to an audience. One comparison to note between anxiety disorders and panic disorder is that anxiety disorders are usually diagnosed with at least three reoccurring symptoms for three months. In contrast, panic disorders are just a single month for multiple attacks. Treatment for anxiety could be cognitive-behavioral therapy or SSRIs such as Zoloft or Paxil. Do you think that conditioning yourself in social settings can reduce or completely take away the phobia? In contrast, do you think that it would not help at all and other methods should be used?


Administration, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services. “Table 16, DSM-IV to DSM-5 Social Phobia/Social Anxiety Disorder Comparison.” Text. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US), June 2016.

Response #2

There are five kinds of psychosocial problems identified under mental disorders: phobic behavior, compulsive behavior, anxiety, panic, and troubling thoughts (obsessions and worries). Panic and social anxiety disorders are both listed under anxiety disorders as separate disorders. Social anxiety is having anxiety about social situations and avoiding them. Panic disorder is are unexpected panic attacks which are recurring. A psychosocial problem is the category of behavior which ranges from 0 to maximum of severity (Maddux & Winstead, 2015). Avoidance is a symptom categorized for social anxiety. While there is some degree of anxiety accompanying avoidance, the anxious feelings are not always associated with avoidance. Panic attacks are separate from the phobia (social activities), but can happen. Panic anxiety (panic attacks) is a sudden rush of intense anxiety which is disturbing, leaving a feeling of dread and even disability (Maddux & Winstead, 2015). Panic can be defined as its own disorder or be a classification of a symptom of a disorder. To classify a panic attack within the DSM-5, the person would need to be experiencing unexpected panic attacks. With a social phobia, a panic attack may happen, but only in the phobia setting. You have one side saying the panic attack is cued by the social event versus happening at random and spontaneously. AMU Wk 3 Diagnosis of Panic Disorder versus Diagnosis of Social Phobia Discussion

To treat an anxiety and/or panic disorder, there are different ways to do so. By providing a person a sense of control of the phobia, cognitive therapy can help. Behavioral and social interventions are also recommended. Performance based exposure helps desenitize a person from their phobia by taking steps. First, visualization, second, observing, and third, participating. Panic attacks are treated through cognitive therapies which increase rational appraisal and decrease the catastrophic thoughts. Breathing and relaxing techniques and exercises are recommended to help normalize and calm physiological arousal (Maddux & Winstead, 2015). Other options are different medications which can be used to help control anxiety and panic in a person.

What treatment do you believe is best in helping panic attacks?




Maddux, J. E., & Winstead, B. A. (Eds.). (2015). Psychopathology : Foundations for a contemporary uderstanding. ProQuest Ebook Central



Response #3

Panic attacks are defined as “sudden rushes of severe anxiety that be disturbing and leave a lasting residue of dread and disability.” 1

In the setting of “Panic Disorder” panic attacks are recurrent and unexpected. 1 However in the setting of a social phobia, panic attacks are directly related to certain social situations or interactions, meaning there are known situations that trigger panic and therefore, panic attacks can be expected and dealt with preemptively or the party can avoid the situation altogether thus avoiding a panic attack. In panic disorder, the patient never knows when or where a panic attack will strike, what could trigger it or if they will be able to control the attack or the situation in which the attack occurs in which adds to the panic factor.

Pharmaceutically, panic attacks can be treated with benzodiazepines. There are a multitude of options available to treat various types of anxiety. For panic, I believe the preferred medication would be Xanax, which is quick acting but doesn’t last long. The other type of treatment available for panic attacks is desensitization therapy such as EMDR or brain spotting, both of which work through triggers in a safe place so that your brain can reprocess whatever triggers panic in certain situations and basically learn how to not immediately go in to fight or flight when the triggers appear.

For me, I’m of the opinion that the pharmaceutical treats the symptom but EMDR or brain spotting treats the problem. One is a quick fix that allows you to focus on the other.

My question to the class is this if you had to choose between panic attacks caused by panic disorder or panic attacks caused by phobia, which would you choose? Why? AMU Wk 3 Diagnosis of Panic Disorder versus Diagnosis of Social Phobia Discussion

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