The Psychological Basis of Panic Disorder
What Does My Personality Style Have to Do with Panic Attacks?
The People Pleasing Personality
What Is The Core Fear Underlying The People Pleasing Personality Style?
How Do You Process and Manage Your Emotions of Anger and Sadness? Are You An Emotional Stuffer?
Panic Disorder, Emotional Suppression and Alexithymia
In 1962, Schachter and Singer proposed the two-factor theory of emotions. These highly regarded researchers held that two factors must be present simultaneously for emotional expression. You must first feel physiological arousal like heart pounding, rapid breathing, overheating. Secondly, you might identify the emotional context or circumstance that triggers the arousal.
“Hot Under the Collar”, But You Deny the Emotional Context
The One Factor Theory of Emotional Management in Panic Disorder: Blocked Emotions
A friend has been taking advantage of you repeatedly throughout your relationship. There is a build-up of underlying unexpressed resentment. You use minimization and emotional stuffing to block out the feelings of resentment. You rationalize that it is no big deal to help out the friend in need again. You feel heat for no apparent reason and fail to recognize that you are burnt up inside. Researchers have identified a personality trait termed alexithymia. Alexithymic individuals do not identify, label or express their emotions. They only feel the bodily sensations of emotional arousal without recognizing or feeling the full emotion. A body of research has shown elevated alexithymia levels for panic disorder sufferers. Panic disorder victims feel the physical symptoms of an emotion e.g. heat, but fail to identify the emotional context that triggered the emotion-based symptom.
Emotional Stuffing: Anger and “Out of the Blue” heat waves
As Panic prone individuals we are so focused on satisfying the needs of others that we often suppress our own needs and feelings. To avoid the possibility of disapproval, we can use minimization or even denial of our feelings to buffer and protect ourselves from labeling and identifying unacceptable or uncomfortable emotions. Emotional stuffing occurs with both feelings of anger and feelings of sadness associated with loss.
The Core Emotional Trigger Is One of Four Panic Attack Triggers
Panic disorder sufferers encounter four triggers for panic attacks. The core emotional trigger activates your first panic attack “Out of the Blue” and also is the underlying trigger for relapses in panic disorder, after living panic free for months or years. Discovery and mastery of your core emotional trigger is the key to living a panic free lifestyle.
The ideas expressed in this blog are developed from Dr. Blumberg’s panicLINK Program. PanicLINK is a comprehensive, twelve session, four phase, multi-media educational program on panic disorder. The material in this Blog and the panicLINK Program are copyright protected by Out of the Blue Network, LLC. No permission is granted to reproduce this blog for commercial purposes. For more information about the panicLINK Program, connect at www.paniclink.com.
* This educational information should always be used in consultation with your doctor to confirm a diagnosis and review available treatments for panic disorder.