Wednesday, June 12, 2024

What Causes Anxiety And Panic Attacks

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Family And Relationship Issues

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

Relationships, whether family, personal, or work-related, have their ups and downs. While relationships can be some of the best things in life, they can also be a source of stress and problems.

Working with a psychologist, either individually or in a group setting, can help iron out wrinkles that can form in even the strongest relationships.

Have Anxiety Or Panic Youre Far From Alone

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America reports that some 40 million U.S. adults experience significant anxiety each year, with more than 28.8% of adults experiencing clinically meaningful anxiety symptoms.

Thats nearly one in three people.

Anxiety is Americas most common mental illness and can be treated effectively. However, only around one third of those with the condition seek professional help.

Anxiety disorders are hereditary, which means that if you have a relative with anxiety, you are more likely to experience it yourself.

Panic disorder, which is a type of anxiety disorder, affects about 4.7% of U.S. adults at some point in their lives, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

Allergic Reactions And Reactions To Alcohol

Other potential triggers are allergic reactions and reactions to alcohol or other substances.

An allergy can cause skin reactions like hives or swelling, difficulty breathing, chest pain, and wheezingall of which could be mistaken for an anxiety attack.

Alcohol consumption can also make people more prone to panic attacks because it increases feelings of anxiety when the effects wear off, the person may experience lingering feelings of unease that peak into an anxiety attack.

Caffeine is another common substance linked with mood changes and feelings of anxiousness if you’re sensitive to caffeine and consume too much in one sitting, an anxiety attack may follow suit as your body processes the amount ingested.

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Take Part In Exercise You Enjoy

As an anxiety attack or panic attack can be triggered by stress, exercise is a really good way to combat them.

Exercise releases endorphins, which are dubbed as ‘the body’s natural painkillers’. They relieve pain and create a general feeling of wellbeing. Other feel-good chemicals, such as endogenous cannabinoids, are released when you exercise too. So basically, exercise banishes the ‘panic’ chemicals and replaces them with more joyful and happy ones.

Its important you choose to do something active that you enjoy though, otherwise it’ll be harder to release those good chemicals!

Exercise is classed as anything that makes you active – it doesn’t have to be intense. It could be:

  • Walking with a friend

  • Taking part in a team sport

  • Hopping on your bike to work

  • Or even virtual-yoga from your own home

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    How Are Anxiety Disorders Diagnosed

    Anxiety disorders can be diagnosed by a trained therapist. They talk with you and your child, ask questions, and listen carefully. They’ll ask how and when the child’s anxiety and fears happen most. That helps them diagnose the specific anxiety disorder the child has.

    A child or teen with symptoms of anxiety should also have a regular health checkup. This helps make sure no other health problem is causing the symptoms.

    What Causes Anxiety Environmental Factors Genetics And Mor

    Moderate alcohol consumptiona glass of wine with dinner or a few drinks at a partyis no cause for concern for many people. However those with anxiety disorders may find that alcohol or other substances can make their anxiety symptoms worse. And they are two to three times more likely to have an alcohol or other substance abuse disorder at some point in their lives than the general. Anxiety disorders are the most common class of mental disorders, affecting nearly 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. .One of the most widely documented findings in psychiatric epidemiology is that women are significantly more likely than men to develop an anxiety disorder throughout the lifespan

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    When To See Your Gp

    Talk to your GP if the symptoms have made everyday activities difficult for you.

    They’ll ask you to:

    • how often the symptoms occur
    • how long you have had the symptoms

    They may also carry out a physical examination to rule out other conditions.

    It can be difficult to talk to someone else about your feelings, emotions and personal life. Try not to feel anxious or embarrassed.

    You may be diagnosed with panic disorder if you have experienced:

    • at least two unexpected panic attacks
    • at least a month of continuous worry or concern about having further attacks

    How To Stop A Panic Attack

    What Causes A Panic Attack And Dealing with Anxiety attacks

    For panic attacks, its important that you are treated quickly by a medical professional. Do not start avoiding what triggered the attack. If you do not get treatment you may start avoiding the trigger and stay at home. This can negatively affect your work and social situations.

    A panic attack is best treated with medicines and talk therapy with a specialist. Talk therapy can be either individual or in a group setting.

    It may take a few weeks or longer for your therapy to reach its maximum effect, so its important to continue with your treatment. If you are having side effects, speak with your doctor about options.

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    Why Do Panic Attacks Happen

    As with anxiety, a panic attack is a result of your body going into fight mode. It’s your nervous system springing into action.

    Adrenaline is transferred into your bloodstream putting your body on high alert. This quickens your heart rate, brings on heart palpitations and sends more blood to your muscles.

    The result is fast, shallow breathing and your blood sugar increases.

    Because of all this happens instantly, it can be terrifying, bring on extreme fear, and you feel out of control.

    Theres ongoing research to determine whether panic attacks are also bought on by an imbalance of serotonin levels. Serotonin is the hormone in our body that stablises our mood, wellbeing and happiness.

    Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors For Panic Disorder

    Certain monoamine oxidase inhibitors have been shown to be more effective than placebo for treatment of panic disorder however, they are not specifically FDA-approved for this use. Due to food restrictions, risk for severe high blood pressure , and severe drug interactions, MAOIs are rarely used to treat panic disorder. MAOIs should not be used with serotonin-modulating antidepressants such a SSRIs or SNRIs due to the risk for serotonin syndrome.

    Any patient who is treated with a MAOI should have a drug interaction screen performed by their doctor or pharmacist any time a medication, over-the-counter product, herbal, vitamin or dietary supplement is added to their treatment. Learn more about MAOIs, dietary restrictions and drug interactions here.

    Table 5: MAOIs Used for Panic Disorder

    Generic Name
    • Although several herbal treatments have been marketed for treatment of anxiety disorders, more research is required. Products such as kava kava, valerian and St. John’s Wort are often sold over-the-counter for stress and anxiety relief and to help with sleep. Studies have not proven these products as helpful and side effects such as liver damage can occur.
    • Herbal and dietary supplements are not reviewed by the FDA for effectiveness, and may cause serious side effects or drug interactions. Always check with your doctor or pharmacist before using any natural remedy or over-the-counter product for panic attacks or anxiety.

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    Tips For Helping Someone With An Anxiety Disorder:

    • Make no assumptionsask the person what they need.
    • Be predictabledon’t surprise the person.
    • Let the person with the disorder set the pace for recovery.
    • Find something positive in every small step towards recovery.
    • Don’t help the person avoid their fears.
    • Maintain your own life so you don’t resent the person with the disorder.
    • Don’t panic when the person with the disorder panics, but realize it’s natural to be concerned with them.
    • Be patient and accepting, but don’t settle for the affected person being permanently disabled.
    • Say encouraging words such as: “You can do it no matter how you feel. I am proud of you. Tell me what you need now. Breathe slow and low. Stay in the present. It’s not the place that’s bothering you, it’s the thought. I know that what you are feeling is painful, but it’s not dangerous. You are courageous.”
    • Avoid saying things like: “Don’t be anxious. Let’s see if you can do this. You can fight this. What should we do next? Don’t be ridculous. You have to stay. Don’t be a coward.” These phrases tend to blame the individual for the anxiety.

    What These Factors Have In Common

    How to control anxiety and panic attacks naturally

    What causes panic attacks to invade a person’s life? Genetic predisposition, early childhood experience with anxiety and risk, and challenging changes on becoming an independent adult.

    What these three factors have in common is that none of them were under your own control. These are all developmental events in life which happen to some people. The factors which cause panic attacks are not something you could have controlled.

    There is therefore no reason to feel guilty, ashamed, or apologetic about having panic attacks. They are not the result of living badly or of making bad choices or of being “stupid”, or cowardly.

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    What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Anxiety

    A parent or teacher may see signs that a child or teen is anxious. For example, a kid might cling, miss school, or cry. They might act scared or upset, or refuse to talk or do things. Kids and teens with anxiety also feel symptoms that others can’t see. It can make them feel afraid, worried, or nervous.

    It can affect their body too. They might feel shaky, jittery, or short of breath. They may feel “butterflies” in their stomach, a hot face, clammy hands, dry mouth, or a racing heart.

    These symptoms of anxiety are the result of the “fight or flight” response. This is the body’s normal response to danger. It triggers the release of natural chemicals in the body. These chemicals prepare us to deal with a real danger. They affect heart rate, breathing, muscles, nerves, and digestion. This response is meant to protect us from danger. But with anxiety disorders, the “fight or flight” response is overactive. It happens even when there is no real danger.

    Causes Of A Panic Attack

    A panic attack occurs when there’s no obvious danger present. Panic attacks may start in response to a certain fear or situation without warning, and ongoing panic attacks may be brought on by these similar situations.

    Like anxiety, the exact causes of panic attacks are not known, but may be due to:

    • family history or genetics
    • a life-changing event or major stress
    • being more sensitive to stress or negative emotions
    • biological changes in the brain
    • if anxiety or panic runs in a family, it can be genetically inherited.
    • caffeine can aggravate a panic attack

    It is thought chronic anxiety begins in the brain where cells have difficulty communicating and processing fears. Medications used for anxiety and panic attacks are similar. Drugs that work in the brain, such as antidepressants and benzodiazepines, have been shown in clinical trials to help with both chronic anxiety and panic disorder.

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    Causes Of Panic Attacks And Anxiety Attacks

    Panic and anxiety attacks can often be brought on by worry and fear, but in different ways.

    Causes of a panic attack

    A panic attack can be caused by a stressful event or nothing at all. They happen suddenly, usually without warning, and can even occur when youre sleeping or relaxed.

    Panic attacks can be brought on by certain conditions:

    Your panic attack can be the result of your body trying to get you out of a situation that is perceived as dangerous. This response puts your body into fight-or-flight mode.

    Causes of an anxiety attack

    Anxiety is characterized by excessive worry or fear about a certain situation. Anxiety can cause you to have trouble rationalizing the situation and brings about feelings of dread and apprehension.

    People who have anxiety attacks may also have an anxiety disorder, of which there are several.

    Prevalence Of Panic Disorder

    What Causes Anxiety and Panic Attacks?

    Panic disorder affects 2-3% of people every year in the United States and Europe, with varying rates depending on race and ethnicity. On average, Native American Indian populations experience panic disorder at higher rates than non-Latino white Americans. In contrast, African Americans, Latinos, Caribbean Blacks, and Asian Americans all experience the disorder at lower rates than non-Latino white Americans. In addition, it has been well established than females are twice as likely to be diagnosed with panic disorder than males . A number of factors have been identified as possibly influencing sex differences in rates of panic disorder . However, no one theory has been determined so the underlying reason for sex differences in rates of panic disorder remains unknown.

    The typical course of panic disorder begins in adolescence and peaks in early to mid-twenties, with symptoms rarely present in children under the age of 14 or in older adults over the age of 64 . Caregivers can look for symptoms of panic attacks in adolescents, followed by notable changes in their behavior , to help potentially identify the onset of panic disorder. Panic disorder is most likely to develop between the ages of 20-24 years and although females are more likely to have panic disorder, there are no significant sex differences in how the disorder presents .

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    Panic Attack Vs Anxiety Attack Symptoms

    The symptoms of a panic attack and an anxiety attack may look similar, but the causes of each are different.

    Panic attacks are more intense

    Though the symptoms of a panic attack and an anxiety attack can look similar, they’re vastly different.

    The major difference between them is the intensity.

    A panic attack is more intense and occurs without an obvious trigger .

    Panic attacks often feel like a heart attack or other serious medical problem, which could be about to happen or already has happened.

    Talk About How You Feel

    It’s really important to understand why your anxiety and panic attacks rear their head.

    Keeping a mood diary is a good place to start to help you recognise your triggers. This might sound labour intensive, but the ‘diary’ doesn’t have to include realms of writing or take a long time. A simple note of the date, how you feel, what you got up to, what you ate, and who you saw, are sufficient.

    Over time youll find it easier to identify the catalysts for feeling anxious or bringing on a panic attack. You may find your triggers are specific social situations, a particular task at work or something to do with your diet.

    Alongside your diary, make sure someone close to you is aware of how you feel. Not only can a friend or family member offer you some comfort, but they might be able to help you discover what’s triggering these feelings,and lighten your load when you’re overwhelmed.

    Many of our students at School of Connection feel surprised at how many people feel the same as them when they start opening up about their anxiety. Were sure youll experience this too!

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    What Are Triggers Of Anxiety Attacks

    Do you ask yourself questions like what are anxiety attack triggers and what could you do to avoid such triggers?

    Well, you’re not alone.

    Many of us face this situation from time to time.

    When anxiety is severe, it can be debilitating.

    The symptoms can be frightening, especially if you’ve never experienced them before.

    When you’re suffering from a severe anxiety attack, it can be difficult to walk or think clearly.

    You may feel like you’re losing control of your body, which can be frightening.

    If you’ve never experienced an anxiety attack before, the physical symptoms may come as a surprise, and can often be debilitating.

    To truly understand the severity of an anxiety attack and its triggers, let’s first talk about what happens in the mind and body during an anxious state.

    How Are Panic Attacks Diagnosed

    NWP Blog

    Serious health problems, such as heart disease, thyroid disease and respiratory problems, cause symptoms similar to panic attacks. Your healthcare provider may run tests to rule out a physical problem. If theres no physical cause, your provider may make a diagnosis based on your symptoms and risk factors.

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    Does Stress Affect Your Cholesterol


    High cholesterol can increase your chance of heart attack and stroke. Stress can do that as well. Some research shows a possible link between stress and cholesterol.

    Cholesterol is a fatty substance found in some foods and also produced by your body. The cholesterol content of food is not as noteworthy as the trans fats and saturated fats in our diets. These fats are what can cause the body to make more cholesterol.

    There are so-called good and bad cholesterols. Your ideal levels are:

    • LDL cholesterol: less than 100 mg/dL
    • HDL cholesterol: more than 60 mg/dL
    • total cholesterol: less than 200 mg/dL

    When bad cholesterol is too high, it can build up in your arteries. This affects how blood flows to your brain and your heart, which could cause stroke or heart attack.

    Risk factors for high cholesterol include:

    • family history of high cholesterol, heart problems, or strokes
    • obesity
    • diabetes
    • smoking tobacco

    You might be at risk for high cholesterol because you have a family history of it, or you might have a family history of heart problems or strokes. Lifestyle habits can also have a big impact on your cholesterol levels. Obesity, defined as a body mass index of 30 or higher, puts you at risk for high cholesterol. Diabetes can also damage the inside of your arteries and allow cholesterol to build up. Smoking tobacco can have the same effect.

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