Kevin Love, the NBA and Depression: Panic Attack vs. Panic Disorder

Print icon

On the January night Kevin Love left the Cleveland Cavaliers blowout loss to Oklahoma City citing a “medical issue,” some in the media called Love “soft” and some players even hinted that the five-time All Star quit on his team. 

What they didn’t know was that Love was in the middle of a panic attack, something he’s been suffering with for years but had never admitted publicly. Love recently shared his experience in an article in The Players’ Tribune, saying he was inspired to share his story after fellow NBA player DeMar DeRozan went public about his battles with depression. After Love’s story was published, the Washington Wizards’ Kelly Oubre Jr. said he, too, suffers from anxiety and depression.

“I’ve never been comfortable sharing much about myself. I turned 29 in September and for pretty much 29 years of my life I have been protective about anything and everything in my inner life. I was comfortable talking about basketball — but that came natural,” Love wrote. “It was much harder to share personal stuff, and looking back now I know I could have really benefited from having someone to talk to over the years. But I didn’t share — not to my family, not to my best friends, not in public. Today, I’ve realized I need to change that.”

Dr. David Tolin, director of the Institute of Living’s Anxiety Disorders Center, says is it’s encouraging when high-profile athletes and celebrities come forward to speak of their struggles with mental health.

“So often people who have these kinds of problems might think they’re the only one, or that it’s shameful, or that others will view it as a sign of weakness,” says Dr. Tolin. “None of these things are true.  The fact of the matter is a lot of people struggle with these kinds of problems and it’s good to see someone come forward and acknowledge it.” 

Dr. Tolin says that panic attacks are quite common and usually are not something to be overly concerned about.  But people who experience recurrent attacks might have panic disorder and should seek professional help, Tolin says.

“For people with panic disorder they become nervous and are constantly worried that they’re going to have another attack and they don’t know what to do,” he says.  “It becomes a vicious cycle. A person with panic disorder has a fear of fear so they worry that they’re going to get anxious; and of course they do get anxious which seems to confirm their worry and it just gets worse and worse.”

Tolin says that panic disorder can be controlled effectively through treatment, including antidepressant medication and cognitive behavioral therapy which works to help patients change their unhelpful thoughts and behavior to improve their quality of life.

Tolin has a simple rule of thumb for patients if they think they should seek professional help for their panic attacks.

“If the symptoms are affecting your quality of life or your ability to do things that are important to you than it’s time for you to do something about it,” says Tolin.

To connect with a provider at the Institute of Living Anxiety Disorder Center, visit www.instituteofliving.org/adc or email ADC@hhchealth.org.


What's New


Pre-Diabetes: What are the Risk Factors?

It’s like a wake-up call for your body but, unfortunately, most people who have pre-diabetes don’t hear it because there are no telling symptoms. The statistics from the Centers for Disease Control are alarming, revealing that more than 84 million American adults, or 33.9 percent of the adult population, have...


Backus Earns Advanced Certification for Primary Stroke Centers

Backus Hospital recently earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Heart-Check mark for Advanced Certification for Primary Stroke Centers, both of which represent symbols of quality. “We are thrilled that the Backus stroke team is being recognized with this advanced certification for...


Prostate Cancer: What You Need to Know

According to the American Cancer Society, in 2018 there will be about 164,690 new cases of prostate cancer in the U.S., and it will take the lives of approximately 29,430 men. Dr. Stuart Kesler is a urologist with the Hartford HealthCare Tallwood Urology and Kidney Institute.  Q: There has been a fair...

Chicken Pot Pie

Save Time and Eat Well Recipe: Chicken Pot Pie

Cooking for yourself can be a chore, but when you are elderly or disabled living on your own, it be can even more difficult to maintain a healthy diet, which can lead to serious health problems.  Hartford HealthCare Independence at Home offers a number of nutritious freezer meal recipes that...

Lasagna recipe.

Save Time and Eat Well: Lasagna for One Recipe

Cooking for yourself can be a chore, but when you are elderly or disabled living on your own, it be can even more difficult to maintain a healthy diet, which can lead to serious health problems. Hartford HealthCare Independence at Home offers a number of nutritious freezer meal recipes that...

Skip & Jane Stamms

Cedar Mountain Commons becomes home for couple in the town they built

Ever dreamed of visiting Thailand, Russia, Australia or other exotic points on the map? Clifford and Jane Stamm have likely been there. Even before globetrotting, they kept a non-stop pace of life with Mr. Stamm often working seven days a week. Now they have slowed down, enjoying retirement at Cedar...

Aortic Stenosis

Hartford Hospital Chosen for Nationwide TAVR Study for Low-Risk Patients

The Heart & Vascular Institute at Hartford Hospital has been selected as one of 35 hospitals nationwide participating in a study that allows low-risk patients with severe aortic stenosis to receive a replacement aortic valve in a minimally invasive procedure using catheters instead of conventional open-heart surgery. Since the Food...