When Is It OK To Claim You’re ‘Having A Panic Attack?’

Collectively, we have a nasty habit of misusing mental health words to explain a situation or experience. If you change your mind, you’re “bipolar.” If you’re hyper-organized, you’re “OCD.” And if you’re in a stressful situation, you’re “having a panic attack.”

Not only is it a little dramatic, it could diminish someone who actually suffers from a mental health condition. This is especially true when it comes to debilitating panic episodes. 

It’s hard enough managing crippling episodes of panic and fear — imagine having someone who doesn’t even know what it’s like use the term as a joke. As Rebecca Fuoco, a health communications specialist and mental health advocate, explained in a HuffPost blog, using mental illness as a figure of speech can be incredible damaging.

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