Panic Disorder or Social Anxiety? Maybe Both

I had an interesting conversation with my therapist the other day.

Officially, in my mind, my diagnosis is Bipolar 1 with seasonal component and social anxiety. I learned that is not my official diagnosis (the social anxiety part, my diagnosis is Bipolar 1), and I thought that was well enough. Officially, my diagnosis is Panic Disorder.

That is not to say I don’t have social anxiety, it is just that my therapist is considering the last year with my increase in panic attacks to focus on this diagnosis. The main part of my “social anxiety” as I have called it over the last three or four years is the “fear” of having a panic attack in a public place. It is the most terrifying thing, and it is the cause of the anxiety the moment I leave my house. That preoccupation with the “panic attack” on my part has lead to a change in my diagnosis–panic disorder.

It makes sense to say I have panic disorder, and when my therapist read out the criteria of both, I fit panic disorder better than social anxiety. Interestingly enough, it is possible that I could be agoraphobic, but we can discuss that another time. It is interesting that “panic attacks” have been central to my anxiety since 2016, and while I am still working towards positive outcomes it is still there, and the medication only takes me so far.

So when it comes down to it, is it social anxiety or panic disorder. My therapist says that we would attack the issue from the same position and I may have panic disorder and social anxiety. Right now it is the most important thing to attack the one that is strongest.

So this summer, as I move towards becoming a published author, I will be working with my therapist in creating situations that cause my panic attack and attack the reasoning behind the thoughts behind the fear of having a panic attack in public. It will be a long road ahead, that is for sure, but things can always get better. If I have proven with my recovery (never fully but a functional Bipolar 1), this will be one more thing.

Always Keep Fighting


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4 thoughts on “Panic Disorder or Social Anxiety? Maybe Both

  1. Fro three of my family it is most certainly related to social anxiety, in one of them its roots is in PTSD. I don’t have a clue, but observation is it is crippling stuff.


    • It is extremely crippling. It’s the worse than depression at times because at least you can control the narrative. Get out of bed. Take a shower. Eat a meal. Panic disorder there is no logic behind it but good thing is you can work on it.


      • O, that would be extremely crippling. Yes, my three have been working hard, making some healing progress. One had a dreadful relapse this year but because of the good work, did recover much more quickly. Seems that resilience can be built in.


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