Causes Of Panic Attacks In Children
The exact cause of panic attacks or panic disorders is not known. The following factors may have a role in the development of panic disorders .
- Changes in brain functions
The nature or temperament of a child may also play an important role in the development of panic and anxiety disorders. Children who are more sensitive to stress and negative emotions may have an increased risk for panic disorders. A few children may have panic reactions triggered by certain emotional stress situations such as school homework, fear of punishment from parents or teachers, etc.
How To Help Someone Who Is Having A Panic Attack
- Stay with the person
If you can, stay with the person during their panic attack. Just by you being there, you can help them to calm down and remind them that help is available. It is okay if you are finding it overwhelming. You can find another friend, family member or teacher they trust to support your friend and you.
- Talk to them and encourage them
You can chat to the person about how they are feeling or anything that they like, such as favourite Netflix shows or their hobbies. This can distract them from their anxious thoughts, helping them to feel calm and to slow down their breathing. They might find it difficult to talk and might want to focus on their breath – thats okay and its important to respect their boundaries and how they are feeling.
- Check in with your friend
Even though your friend may no longer be panicking, they can still feel anxious or on edge afterwards. You can check in with them to see how they are feeling. This will remind them that they are not alone and you are there for them.
Talk about how you can support themIf your friend feels comfortable to, you can suggest talking about how you can support them in the future. This can be things like helping them find a safe space or finding breathing exercises that can help in the moment. This will help them feel better about coping with panic attacks.
Whats The Outlook For People With Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders can often go undiagnosed and untreated. Fortunately, treatment can help. The right treatment can help improve your quality of life, relationships and productivity. It can also support your overall well-being.
You dont need to live with constant worry and fear. If you notice symptoms of an anxiety disorder, talk to your healthcare provider. Its best to get diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. Doing so can limit the problems that anxiety disorders can cause. Often, a combination of medications and counseling for anxiety can help you feel your best.
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Panic Attack Or Heart Attack
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.
Causes Of Panic Attacks
Anxiety disorder is the principal cause of all panic attacks. According to the National Institute of Mental Health , approximately 40 million adults in the U.S. between the ages of 18 and 51 are diagnosed as being affected by anxiety disorders. However, the total number of people who are affected by anxiety disorders â and who are therefore predisposed to experience a panic attack â is thought to be far greater.
Panic is the most acute form of anxiety. As such, a panic attack is caused by heightened anxiety, whereby the body undergoes physiological changes due to oneâs thoughts, entering into a state called fight or flight mode. A person may not be consciously aware of the thoughts that induce this state, as it can be caused by the brainâs background activity.
Fight or flight mode is an automatic response to danger, rapidly preparing the body for physical activity, such as running away from or fighting off a predator. In a panic attack, however, there is usually no immediate physical threat to escape from.
Physiological changes associated with fight or flight mode, that may contribute to a panic attack, include:
- Increased metabolic rate
- Loss of hearing and dilation of pupils
- Relaxation of the bladder and sphincters
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How Do I Tell If Someone Is Having An Anxiety Attack
When an anxiety attack reaches its peak, it can become overpowering and crippling. Attacks are most often triggered by an episode of stress and exposure to fear. The persons initial response to the trigger will quickly develop into a full-blown anxiety attack.
Many of the symptoms of an anxiety attack are also symptoms of other serious medical conditions, such as a heart attack. Because of this, its not always an easy task to identify when a person is having an anxiety attack or something even more serious. If the person has a history of heart-related issues as well as anxiety attacks, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America suggests that all such episodes should be treated as if it is a heart attack.
We know panic attacks and anxiety attacks can be very similar and often share similar symptoms. If the symptoms of the attack occur out of the blue and without warning, its very possibly a panic attack. If specific events or emotions trigger an attack more than once, there may be an underlying anxiety disorder that needs to be addressed.
Types Of Anxiety Attacks In Child
The following are the common types of panic attacks based on their causes .
Panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder. There are many other types of anxiety disorders in childhood, closely associated with panic disorders.
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You Might Not Be That Tired Afterwards
One common symptom of panic attacks is the exhaustion that floods a person after the panic attack subsides. In more subtle panic attacks, however, this doesn’t always happen.
“After a really intense panic attack, the sufferer may be left feeling exhausted,” Dr. Saranga says. But in mild cases, you may be able to go about your day.
Are Anxiety And Panic Attacks Dangerous
While anxiety and panic attacks feel very distressing, they arenot dangerous on their own.
That said, the first time someone experiences these symptoms, they should go to the ER to rule out something more serious like a heart attack or blood clot.
People who have recurring anxiety or panic attacks usually begin to recognize the sensations and are able to distinguish them fromsomething more serious.
Anxiety and panic attacks rarely last longer than an hour, and usually less than half an hour. If the symptoms are lasting longer than usual, are more intense, feel different than they usually do, dont respond to efforts to calm down, have symptoms that are not consistent with a panic attack , or there is a question it could be something other than a anxiety or a panic attack, go to the ER.
While anxiety and panic attacks themselves are not dangerous, they can be a symptom of more serious underlying conditions. Its important to see a healthcare provider to test for physical conditions, and to find the specific cause of the attacks.
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Signs Of An Anxiety Attack And 6 Effective Ways To Cope With It
An anxiety attack is the worst. The lights seem too bright your heart feels like it might explode out of your chest. Your body shakes. You may find yourself unable to breathe your chest hurts. You have an intense desire to escape, scream or cry. Your hands might twitch and you feel like you are going to be sick in just a few seconds.
Thats what an anxiety attack feels like. Sounds familiar? Well that used to be my story too.
On a normal day, I would just be hanging out with my friends and suddenly have a wave of panic wash over me. I couldnt breathe and felt like I was dying.
Anxiety attacks can strike unexpectedly.
In fact, it feels like the worst thing in the world, but the truth is its all caused by a massive boost of adrenaline that your brain sends into your bloodstream.
In todays post, Id like to break down the most common anxiety attack symptoms, plus share some personal tips on how to tame this beast.
What Is Generalized Anxiety Disorder
With GAD, you may feel extreme and unrealistic worry and tension even if theres nothing to trigger these feelings. Most days, you may worry a lot about various topics, including health, work, school and relationships. You may feel that the worry continues from one thing to the next.
Physical symptoms of GAD can include restlessness, difficulty concentrating and sleeping problems.
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You Can Continue Going About Your Business During The Panic Attack
For those with severe panic attacks, the symptoms may stop them in their tracks. During more subtle panic attacks, however, coworkers and friends may not even realize they’re happening, since the person having the panic attack can continue going about their everyday tasks.
“I have worked with individuals that have experienced minor panic attacks when shopping,” licensed clinical social worker Ginger Poag, MSW, CEMDR, tells Bustle. “My clients have informed me that they could feel their heart begin to race, had an uneasy feeling and found it difficult to breathe. The individual experiencing this said that her symptoms decreased and eventually went away after a few minutes.” This kind of subtle panic attack may not be noticeable to others, but definitely still counts.
What Can I Do To Reduce Anxiety And Anxiety Attacks
In many cases, anxiety attacks are caused by certain emotional triggers or perceptions of threat. Identifying and avoiding these triggers can help reduce the chance of having an attack, but if the triggers are a normal part of everyday life, complete avoidance may be impossible. In these cases, it may be time to explore your options for the treatment of anxiety disorder.
That said, there are a number of effective tools and techniques you can use that may help lower your overall levels of anxiety. Some of these techniques include:
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Treatment For Panic Attack In Children
Panic attacks in children and adolescents may be treated with medications and behavioral therapy.
- Medications: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors is a class of antidepressant drugs that is often the preferred choice of treatment. Benzodiazepine is another group of drugs used. However, they can cause sedation and drowsiness and hence may not be the preferred choice of treatment for children. The doctor will decide the drug and make a long-term or short-term prescription based on the age of the child, severity of the panic attack, and its recurrence.
- Behavior therapies: Cognitive-behavioral therapies aim to make children understand the realistic and unrealistic thoughts that lead to panic attacks. It could help them overcome their fears. Play therapy or talk therapy can be useful in overcoming anxieties in childhood .
Children with recurrent and more frequent episodes may require initiation of drug therapy before behavioral therapies.
When Should You Call A Doctor Or Help Line If You Are Having A Panic Attack
For someone who may be experiencing their first panic attack, a call to the doctor’s office or 911 is warranted. The idea is to make sure that the cause of the person’s distress is not a heart attack, asthma problem, endocrine emergency, or other dangerous medical condition.
A medical professional is the only person who should make the diagnosis of panic attack. There is no such thing as a “wasted” visit to the doctor in this case. It is better to be told that the diagnosis is panic attack than to assume that someone is panicking and be proved wrong.
Almost everyone experiencing symptoms of a panic attack needs evaluation. Unless the person has a history of having panic attacks, is otherwise healthy, and is experiencing a typical attack, they must be evaluated promptly by a doctor. The level of evaluation depends on many factors. Err on the side of safety when deciding whether to go to a hospital’s emergency department.
Even for medical professionals, the diagnosis of a panic attack is known as a diagnosis of exclusion. This simply means that before the doctor can be comfortable with the diagnosis of panic attack, all other possible causes of the symptoms need to be considered and ruled out.
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What Are The Symptoms
Without warning, sufferers feel out of control and crazy, and experience terror that is almost paralyzing, the American Psychological Association noted. They also feel theres no way to stop the panic attack.
Symptoms may include a racing heart, difficulty breathing, nausea, lightheadedness, shakiness, and the tingling of hands or lips. People can also experience feelings of unreality, not being present or being disconnected, Farchione said.
What Is Panic Disorder
Panic disorder is a condition in which a person has episodes of intense fear or anxiety that occur suddenly, often without warning. Suppose one day youre getting out of your car to go to work. Suddenly, your chest feels tight. Your heart races. You begin to feel dizzy and faint. You start to choke. You feel as if you could be dying. Was it all in your head? No. Most likely, you had a panic attack.
Panic attacks can last from minutes to hours. They may occur only once in a while, or they may occur quite frequently. The cause, or trigger, for these attacks may not be obvious. A diagnosis of panic disorder is usually made after a person experiences at least 2 panic attacks that occur without reason and are followed by a period of at least 1 month of fear that another attack will happen. Panic attacks can lead to phobias if they arent treated.
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Symptoms You Never Suspected
So, what does a heart attack really feel like?According to Dr. Menon, patients most often report:
- Heartburn-like chest pain. Its quite common for heart attacks to feel like acid reflux.
- Shortness of breath. Some heart attacks dont cause pain at all. These silent heart attacks are most common in people with diabetes, older adults and those who have had bypass surgery.
- Profound fatigue. This symptom is most common in elderly patients and can be misdiagnosed as a flu-like illness.
- Nausea and sweating. While these symptoms can come with heavy chest pain, they also can occur by themselves, especially in women. These symptoms commonly accompany heart attacks to the inferior wall of the heart.
How To Cope With Panic Attacks
When you have had a panic attack, you might worry about if – or when – you are next going to have one. This can make everyday tasks like going to school, leaving the house or meeting up with friends much more difficult. But remember, you are not alone and there is support available to help you get through this. If you are worried about when you are next going to have a panic attack, here are some things that can help you cope.
Speak to someone you trust. If you are feeling anxious or worried that you might have a panic attack, talk to friends or family. They can help you take your mind off what is making you feel panicked and support you to find the help you need. If you are struggling to say how you are feeling, you can always write your thoughts down or put them in notes on your phone if you are planning to speak to a teacher or your GP.
If you are worried about having a panic attack at school, college, or university, speak to a teacher or a member of staff. They can work with you to help you with things like finding a safe space to take some time out if you are feeling anxious or panicked.
If you feel like youre struggling to cope with everyday tasks, speak to your GP. They can listen to how you are feeling and suggest different types of treatments like therapy or counselling to help you tackle your panic attacks.
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