Thursday, April 11, 2024

How Are Panic Attacks Caused

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Panic Attack Or Heart Attack

What causes panic attacks, and how can you prevent them? – Cindy J. Aaronson

The symptoms of a panic attack can be similar to those of a heart attack. The Ada app can help you check your symptoms. or find out more about how it works.

It is common for people experiencing a panic attack to become convinced that they are having a heart attack during the episode. Although this may be related to the distressing thoughts that accompany a panic attack, emergency medical services should be called if a heart attack is suspected, as â unlike a panic attack â a heart attack requires prompt medical attention and can be life-threatening.

Key differences between a heart attack and a panic attack include:

Despite being able to identify these differences, it is advisable to always seek medical attention if the affected person:

  • Has a history of heart attacks
  • Meets the risk criteria for a heart attack, such as high blood pressure, being overweight, getting limited physical exercise
  • Has never had a panic attack before

If one is not deemed to be at risk of a heart attack, psychotherapeutic techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy may be recommended in order to help the affected person overcome any long-term anxiety about having a heart attack. This will help prevent a fear of having a heart attack from manifesting in, or forming the basis of, future panic attacks.

What To Do If Youre Having A Panic Attack

Trust this will pass. Panic is like a wave. It hits a peak and then comes down. Fighting it often makes it worse. Find a comfortable area, try to slow your breathing , and know your job is to ride this tough wave and let it pass on its own.

Panic attacks can mimic symptoms of a heart attack or asthma attack. So if you have chest pain or difficulty breathing, call 911 or go to the ER to make sure its nothing more serious.

If you have repeated panic attacks, see a mental health professional. They will do a thorough medical and psychological evaluation. Then, together you will create a treatment plan. The best treatment is dealing with the underlying anxiety through a combination of regular meditation , exercise, talk therapy, and possibly medication.

Panic attacks can be triggered by many medical conditionslike arrhythmias, pulmonary diseases, neurologic diseases, and endocrine abnormalities. Discuss with your doctor about checking for these diseases.

Pro Tip

Panic Disorder is more common than you think. And since it feels like a heart attack, before you jump into treatment talk with your doctor to rule out any cardiovascular issues. Dr. Wegner

Recognizing The Signs Of A Panic Attack

Now that we know some of the primary causes of panic attacks, we will now understand how to recognize the signs of a panic attack. If you observe these signs in yourself or see someone going through them, it might be an indication of a panic attack. Some of the most common tell-all signs of a panic attack include:

  • Feelings of unreality or derealization
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Feelings of unreality or derealization
  • Fear of losing control or going crazy
  • Fear of dying

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to seek help. Panic attacks can be very debilitating and can interfere with your ability to live a normal life. It is important to be able to recognize the signs of a panic attack so that you can seek treatment if necessary.

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Being Far Away From Home

Typically, someone who suffers from panic wants to feel as safe as possible. So if theyre close to their home they feel fine, but what if theyre two hours away, and experience an attack? What if they lose control? Will they go to the hospital? Will they die?

These are irrational thoughts simply because its impossible to die, lose control or become insane during an attack. Fainting, although possible, is extremely rare.

As a matter of fact, the more you avoid leaving the house for long periods of time, the more fear you will experience, and the more anxious you will become. Conversely, by gradually exposing yourself to discomfort, your fear will eventually disappear!

Panic Attacks And Panic Disorder

Panic attack treatment: the most effective treatment options.

panic attackPanic disorder

  • Panic attacks can cause such symptoms as chest pain, a sensation of choking, dizziness, nausea, and shortness of breath.

  • Doctors base the diagnosis on the person’s description of attacks and fears of future attacks.

  • Treatment may include antidepressants, antianxiety drugs, exposure therapy, and psychotherapy.

Panic attacks may occur as part of any anxiety disorder Overview of Anxiety Disorders Anxiety is a feeling of nervousness, worry, or unease that is a normal human experience. It is also present in a wide range of psychiatric disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder,… read more . Panic attacks may also occur in people with other psychiatric disorders . Some panic attacks occur in response to a specific situation. For example, a person with a phobia of snakes may panic when encountering a snake. Other attacks occur without any apparent trigger.

Panic attacks are common, occurring in at least 11% of adults each year. Most people recover from panic attacks without treatment, but a few develop panic disorder.

Also Check: Meaning Of Phobia

Types Of Anxiety Disorders:

Generalized Anxiety Disorder is characterized by chronic and exaggerated worry and tension, much more than the typical anxiety that most people experience in their daily lives. People may have trembling, twitching, muscle tension, nausea, irritability, poor concentration, depression, fatigue, headaches, light-headedness, breathlessness or hot flashes.

Panic Disorder: People with panic disorder have panic attacks with feelings of terror that strike suddenly and repeatedly with no warning. During the attacks, individuals may feel like they can’t breathe, have lost control, are having a heart attack or even that they are dying. Physical symptoms may include chest pain, dizziness, nausea, sweating, tingling or numbness, and a racing heartbeat. Some people will have one isolated attack, while others will develop a long term panic disorder either way, there is often high anxiety between attacks because there is no way of knowing when the next one will occur. Panic disorders often begin early in adulthood. Many people with panic disorder also suffer from agoraphobia . See more on Panic Attacks.

Phobias are irrational fears. Individuals with phobias realize their fears are irrational, but thinking about or facing the feared object or situation can bring on a panic attck or severe anxiety.

Don’t Fight A Panic Attack

Fighting a panic attack can often make it worse. Trying to resist the attack and finding you’re unable to can increase your sense of anxiety and panic.

Instead, during a panic attack, reassure yourself by accepting that although it may seem embarrassing, and your symptoms may be difficult to deal with, the attack isn’t life-threatening. Focus on the fact that the attack will evetually end and try your best to let it pass.

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History Of Trauma Or Abuse

Traumatic events, such as car accidents or childhood abuse, can increase the risk of developing panic disorder. This is because trauma can lead to changes in the brain that make it more difficult to cope with stress. Trauma also results in feelings of fear, helplessness, and anxiety, which contribute to the occurrence of panic attacks. This also happens because these events can be stressful enough that they cause changes in the brain that make it difficult to cope with stress.

Invisible Triggers Of Anxiety

Panic disorder – panic attacks, causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment & pathology

The best place to start is with the invisible triggers of anxiety. These unconscious triggers are possible triggers that you may not even know is happening. A great example is clutter. Some people start to experience more anxiety when their homes have more clutter because they associated cleanliness with control. That’s an invisible anxiety trigger, because the person may not even be aware that their home is affecting them until it’s cleaned. Other invisible triggers include:

The invisible triggers of anxiety can be very complex, because they may also be based on your previous life experience. If you grew up with strict parents, for example, you may develop anxiety when you do behaviors they would not have approved of simply because your mind and body are used to anxiety when these behaviors occurred. That’s why upbringing and life experiences play such a complex role in anxiety.

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Ways To Help Your Child Cope

Knowing what triggers an attack is the first step in attacking panic. Ask your child how they feel and what is making them feel anxious or stressed. Are there certain situations or places that cause them to feel panicky? This knowledge can help your child think about what they can do to cope with those situations.

During a panic attack, your child may feel like they are losing control, but there are things you can help them do to take back control and feel grounded again:

  • Embrace the episode: Sometimes, it can seem easier to simply avoid a situation or place that makes us panic. Its natural to feel this way. However, avoiding situations can make our anxiety feel bigger. The goal is not to avoid situations that make us panic, but to help your child learn to cope with how they feel in those situations.
  • Go through the alphabet: Ask your child to name something for every letter of the alphabet. These could be animals, names, places, foods, etc. This will engage a different part of their brain and move their attention away from fear and anxiety.
  • Concentrate on breathing: Abdominal breathing is very calming and helps us to draw oxygen deep into our lungs. Heres an easy 3-step process:
  • Place your hand on your stomach
  • Take 5 deep breaths, spend 5 seconds breathing in and 5 seconds breathing out, breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth
  • How To Identify Your Triggers:

  • Think about your first panic attack. Where were you? What was going on? What stressful things were going on in your life? What symptoms did you have? What interpretation did you make about the attackâdid you think you were dying, losing control, going “crazy,” about to faint?
  • Think about more recent panic attacks and apply those same questions above as your first panic attack. Notice if there are any patterns. Also, note any situations you are currently avoiding for fear of having another panic attack.
  • Now, write down specific triggers in terms of sensations, anxiety-producing thoughts, and situations. Here are some examples:
  • Whenever I notice my heart beating fast or hear about someone having a heart attack, I think I’m going to have a heart attack.

    When I can’t concentrate on something, I worry that I’m losing my mind, which causes me to panic.

    When I am in a situation where I feel like I cannot escape, like in the dentist’s chair or a crowd, it causes me to have a panic attack.

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    What Are The Complications Of Panic Attacks

    Panic attacks are highly treatable. Unfortunately, many people put off seeking help because theyre embarrassed. Untreated panic attacks or panic disorder can interfere with your ability to enjoy life. You may develop:

    • Anticipatory anxiety: The possibility of having a panic attack triggers extreme anxiety.
    • Phobias: A phobia is an extreme, unreasonable fear of something specific. For instance, acrophobia is a fear of heights, while claustrophobia is a fear of enclosed spaces.
    • Agoraphobia: Approximately two-thirds of people with panic disorder develop agoraphobia. This anxiety disorder makes you afraid to be in places or situations where a panic attack might happen. The fear can become so extreme that you become too afraid to leave your house.

    A Response To The Challenge Of Emerging Adulthood

    How Anxiety and Panic Attacks Differ

    The third reason why people develop panic attacks is that they often experienced a period of high stress and stressful changes in the year or so prior to the onset of the panic attacks. These might have been bad events, such as feeling trapped in a bad job or relationship, or experiencing the loss of family and/or friends. Or they may have had a lot of changes which weren’t bad in themselves – finishing school, changing jobs, getting married, moving, buying/selling a home, having babies, etc. – but which had a cumulative stressful effect on the person to the point that he/she found it hard to cope with them all.

    It’s interesting to note that, for most people who develop panic attacks, it usually begins in their twenties or thirties – the years of establishing an independent life for yourselves when you are most likely to experience these kinds of changes.

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    Key Points About Panic Disorder

    • Panic disorder is an overreaction of fear and anxiety to daily life stressors.
    • The reaction causes a hyperphysical response, followed by intense worry that another attack will happen soon. This can upset the ability to function normally.
    • It is a common disorder and can often lead to depression.
    • Panic disorders can be disabling because you become so afraid of when the next panic attack may happen that you can’t cope with regular tasks.
    • Treatment involves use of anti-anxiety medicines and antidepressants along with cognitive behavioral therapy.

    Family History Of Panic Attacks Or Anxiety Disorders

    If you have a family member who suffers from panic attacks or anxiety disorders, you are more likely to experience them yourself. This is because there is a genetic component to these conditions. Though experts arent sure exactly how panic disorder is passed down, it is clear that it can be inherited.

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    How To Recognise A Panic Disorder

    When panic attacks are repeated or persistent, its a sign that someone may have a panic disorder. The symptoms of a panic disorder are:

    • experiencing at least 4 physical symptoms and
    • worrying for at least 1 month about having more attacks or
    • worrying about what the attacks mean or
    • exhibiting a significant change in behaviour related to the attacks.

    Panic Attack After Eating

    What Causes Panic Attacks? (The Ultimate Cause)

    Some of the reasons we may get anxiety attacks after eating include hyperglycemia, caused by excessive blood sugar. Blood sugar also affects moods. Food triggers, allergies, and indigestion can also be blamed for panic attacks after eating. Gastroesophageal reflux disease and palpitations may also heighten anxiety and panic attacks after eating.

    There are moments when you feel intensely anxious or fearful without any imminent danger but solely because you perceive some threat coming your way.

    That feeling is what we refer to as a panic attack.

    When we talk of a panic attack after eating, we must first acknowledge that our eating habits are very much to blame for our emotions, moods, and even behavior at some point.

    You must know of someone who is easily irritable when hungry but becomes calm and approachable after a nice meal.

    For the same reason, food can change your mood from anger to calmness, and it can at the same time cause you some negative emotions such as anxiety and even panic attacks.

    There must not be any actual cause of the panic attack in food. The simple functionality of our body and how it reacts to food may cause many things.

    Even so, some substances such as alcohol and caffeine are capable of causing panic attacks because they can compromise ones mental judgment, thus affecting their behavior and emotions.

    Herein we will discuss several causes and reasons why we may experience panic attacks after eating.

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    Anxious Trends During Childhood

    A second reason why people develop panic attacks is that as children, they may have grown up in an atmosphere which, for one reason or another, failed to teach them that the world was “their oyster”, a safe place in which they could happily pursue their own enjoyment. Maybe there was an early death in the family, severe illness, or some other serious problem like alcoholism or divorce. Maybe the parents were themselves anxious and over protective, perhaps in response to their own anxiety disorder. Perhaps the child learned to spend too much time and effort taking care of others, trying too hard to please others, and feeling responsible for the happiness of others.

    What Is A Panic Attack

    A panic attack is a brief episode of intense anxiety, which causes the physical sensations of fear. These can include a racing heartbeat, shortness of breath, dizziness, trembling and muscle tension. Panic attacks occur frequently and unexpectedly and are often not related to any external threat. A panic attack can last from a few minutes to half an hour. However, the physical and emotional effects of the attack may last for a few hours. Panic attacks are common. Up to 35% of the population experience a panic attack at some time in their lives. A panic attack can also be called an anxiety attack. Without treatment, frequent and prolonged panic attacks can be severely disabling. The person may choose to avoid a wide range of situations for fear of experiencing an attack.

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    Panic Attack Signs And Symptoms

    The signs and symptoms of a panic attack develop abruptly and usually reach their peak within 10 minutes. They rarely last more than an hour, with most ending within 20 to 30 minutes. Panic attacks can happen anywhere and at any time. You may have one while youre in a store shopping, walking down the street, driving in your car, or even sitting on the couch at home.

    Panic attack symptoms include:

    • Shortness of breath or hyperventilation
    • Heart palpitations or racing heart
    • Chest pain or discomfort
    • Feeling unreal or detached from your surroundings
    • Sweating
    • Feeling dizzy, light-headed, or faint
    • Numbness or tingling sensations
    • Fear of dying, losing control, or going crazy

    Is it a heart attack or a panic attack?

    Most of the symptoms of a panic attack are physical, and many times these symptoms are so severe that you may think youre having a heart attack. In fact, many people suffering from panic attacks make repeated trips to the doctor or the emergency room in an attempt to get treatment for what they believe is a life-threatening medical problem. While its important to rule out possible medical causes of symptoms such as chest pain, elevated heart rate, or difficulty breathing, its often panic that is overlooked as a potential causenot the other way around.

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