Shedding Light on Panic Disorder: Charlie Beljan

It’s a sad truth that mental health issues like panic attacks or anxiety fly under the radar for the general public.  To some degree it’s understandable that most people remain uneducated because, for the most part, these issues simply aren’t discussed in the media often enough for people to take notice.  However, once in a while, an example pops up that people cannot ignore. Case in point: Charlie Beljan, a pro golfer who suffered a panic attack during a tournament at Walt Disney World last November. 

Beljan caused quite a scene during the second round of the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic as he visibly struggled to catch his breath, even stopping to sit down at times between shots.   Although he was plagued by panic, he still finished the round and was then promptly escorted off the green by paramedics.  Later, Beljan would describe his episode as many with panic disorder would – like he was experiencing a heart attack.  The only thing that kept him going that day was his competitive drive and determination.  (Note: he would later go on to win the tournament, his first in a rookie season.) 
 
Visits to the emergency room occur to many people who experience panic attacks as they feel their lives are legitimately in danger.  For most people, their experiences aren’t caught on camera for thousands to see, however, Beljan doesn’t mind the public nature of his attack. Instead, he’s glad to bring attention to an issue from which many people suffer.  He’s received many letters and e-mails from people who can relate to his experience and feel a certain comfort that they aren’t alone.
 
This event came as a shock to friends and family who associated Beljan as being a fun-loving, carefree spirit.  However, those who have researched panic disorder would not be surprised by this.  It’s often times the case that people who suffer from panic attacks are social people who enjoy talking to and being around others.  This differs from social anxiety (which is often associated or confused with panic disorder), in which people have a fear of social situations and many times avoid them. 
 
For more information, read through our section on panic disorder which offers a number of articles on the subject, including treatment options. 
 
Published 3/27/2013

Our History and Our Mission

The Anxiety Network began in 1995 due to growing demand from people around the world wanting help in understanding and overcoming their anxiety disorder.  The Anxiety and Stress Clinic and its website, The Anxiety Network, received so much traffic and requests for help that we found ourselves spending the majority of our time in international communication and outreach.  Our in-person anxiety clinic has grown tremendously, and our principal internet tool, The Anxiety Network, has been re-written and re-designed with focus on the major anxiety disorders.  

The Anxiety Network  focuses on three of the major anxiety disorders:  panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder,  and social anxiety disorder.

In 1997, The Social Anxiety Association, a non-profit organization, was formed and has its own website.

The Social Anxiety Institute, the largest site on the internet for information and treatment of social anxiety, has maintained an active website since 1998.  Continuous, ongoing therapy groups have helped hundreds of people overcome social anxiety since 1994.  Major changes in design will be occurring in 2014.

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