Have Mental Health Questions? Ask a Psychiatrist Online
Sorry to hear of the difficult situation you find yourself in. If you are unable to attend classes due to time restraints I can provide you with an excellent free self-help program for Panic Attacks and Panic Disorder. This would be something you could work through on your own when you do have spare moments. Before I proceed I'll just check firstly that this (self-help) is a treatment option you are interested in? Also, can you provide some information about the classes you have been trying to attend? DO you know what therapeutic model they follow by chance? What happens during the classes?
Ok, I see.
If you are having frequent panic attacks you may meet criteria for a formal diagnosis of Panic Disorder. This is not the same thing as 'stress' and I would suspect that you would have a much stronger claim for leave if you were formally diagnosed. Check here http://panicdisorder.about.com/od/diagnosis/a/DSMDiagnosis.htmI for a quick description of the criteria for diagnosis and tell me if you think you might meet the criteria.
It is impossible to diagnose someone via Just Answer but if you are experiencing panic attacks several times a week and are also experiencing intense fear or concern about future attacks then there is a very real chance that you may be able to be diagnosed with Panic Disorder.
Panic Disorder is not 'stress' and as I mentioned earlier it is a formal Psychiatric illness that is renown for being intensely disabling. Has your Psychiatrist at least explained why he/she believes you don't meet criteria for this diagnosis? Do you have options for getting a second opinion/new Psychiatric review?
My recommendation is that you do get a second opinion for a potential diagnosis of Panic Disorder. If it is determined that you have developed this illness then I would expect you would have a much stronger claim for leave.
You can get an assessment for Panic Disorder from either a Psychiatrist or a Clinical Psychologist and if you wish to consider a Clinical Psychologist you can contact the American Psychology Association (APA) for assistance with locating a Psychologist; take a look at the APA locator service here. You can use this to find Psychologists in your area and there is a phone number you can contact if you want a referral arranged for you. Also, take a look at an article published by the APA here. It's an interview with a senior Psychologist and covers some of the things you should consider when you looking for a Psychologist.
In the meantime take a look at this excellent Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) based self-help program here. It will teach you everything you need to know about anxiety, panic attacks, panic disorder and what you can do to manage your own symptoms. I use this material with patients regularly and I find it to be very helpful. Alternatively you can access some published CBT based self-help material to learn more about using CBT techniques. I can recommend the book Overcoming Panic. A Self Help Guide Using Cognitive Behavioral Techniques, you can find it here .
I hope this has been of some help. If you have further questions or would like me to clarify any part of my answer please let me know. If not....I wish you the best of luck!
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