08-22-2010, 11:43 PM
I have severe social anxiety and have dealt with panic attacks before. I think I'm the only person on here with anxiety and I'm a psych major.
Panic attacks are actually very common and many people experience them without ever having a disorder, frequently when stress is high in their lives. You actually would not qualify for anxiety disorder(generalized or specific, I have a specific one), so that would be why you think it sounds wrong. The symptoms are not quite yours. What you may qualify for eventually is actually panic disorder(which is characterized by severe panic attacks, worrying about more panic attacks, etc), so that may be something you'll want to look into more to see if that matches what you are experiencing better. Also, there are such thing as cued panic attacks(when a specific thing triggers you), but stress is a bit too general and may not make yours cued.
If they are becoming more frequent, you should speak to your doctor. They may prescribe pills or direct you to sessions about strategies to handle it. Treatment of disorders usually is a mixture of both, with a strong reliance on the changing of your behaviors leading up to, during, and after a panic attack. They will not brush you off and if they do, find another doctor. Panic attacks can be very serious, sometimes resulting in a need for medical aid, so you need someone to take you seriously.
I can't really offer you much help since I have a hard time coping when I do have panic attacks, but I find the best thing to do is to just try to keep my stress down. It doesn't mean not doing stressful things, but that I try to balance it out. Breathing exercises tend to be important and are the most commonly used. It sounds lame, but just sitting down, taking a break and breathing in and out and only focusing on that does help. You should talk to a doctor though if you keep having trouble, its the best thing you can do.