Tuesday, April 16, 2024

What Medical Conditions Can Cause Panic Attacks

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Why Medications Increase The Risk Of Panic Attacks

Medications can cause panic attacks for a variety of reasons. Specifically, medications that have an impact on your mood have a chance of agitating people who are predisposed to panic attacks. Medications that have the side effect of making you feel anxious or depressed can also lead to panic attacks. 

Weight Loss Supplements Can Have Anxiety

Many over-the-counter  weight loss supplements come with anxiety-producing side effects. Use of St. John’s wort may lead to , and green tea extracts contain plenty of caffeine. Guarana, an ingredient in some OTC diet products, can contain up to four times as much caffeine as coffee beans. And beware of any product containing ephedra it can cause increased heart rate and anxiety. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration  banned the sale of dietary supplements containing ephedra in 2004.

Find Out What Could Be Making Your Anxiety Worse

Everyone gets anxious, restless, and frazzled but if you constantly feel worried, tense, or on edge, you may have an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders involve more than temporary worry or fear. For a person with an anxiety disorder, the anxiety does not go away and can get worse over time.

Doctors make a diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder  when patients have anxiety symptoms  for more than six months.

Examples of other anxiety disorders include:

  • Specific phobias

According to the Mayo Clinic, you can have more than one anxiety disorder.

Research shows that a combination of environmental and genetic factors likely increase a persons risk for developing an anxiety disorder, notes the National Institute of Mental Health. Like so many health conditions, anxiety appears to run in families.

In addition to underlying disorders, anxiety may be caused by stress, whether from a major life event or the accumulated effect of small everyday . Anxiety can also come with a medical condition such as heart disease, diabetes, asthma, or thyroid disorders that need treatment. Theres a clear link between caffeine and anxiety and alcohol and anxiety. And certain medications may cause anxiety. In this case, avoiding caffeine and alcohol or changing medications may reduce the anxiety. Its important to note that while all these things can cause anxious feelings, this type of anxiety is distinct from a psychiatric diagnosis of an anxiety disorder.

Why Your Family History Increases The Risk Of Panic Attacks

If your parents experienced panic attacks, you might be more likely to as well. Our genetics can determine a lot about our mental health. In addition to genetics, how our parents raise us can shape the way we deal with the world. Both of these things come together to make panic attacks more likely in some individuals. 

How To Stop A Panic Attack

Panic Attack Causes

You could try any of these ways to calm a panic attack: 

  • Cooldown anxious thoughts: Thoughts like this is awful will trigger attacks. Try to change what is possible and accept what you cant change. 
  • Stay Positive: Have a positive mindset about yourself. Keep reminding yourself that you are a fighter. 
  • Exercise: Soothe your system with some yoga stretches or a gentle rub on your back.
  • Get Some Perspective: In most cases, attacks arise because you worry about many things. Filter out unimportant stuff, including small details that will not help you in the long run. 
  • Dont Ignore Panic Disorder: Panic attacks are an indicator that something needs attention. Get professional help to get your life back on track. 



When Should You Seek Help

If you have experienced panic attack symptoms such as excess sweating, rapid, pounding heart rate, , hot flashes, fear of loss of control, abdominal cramping, headache, tingling sensation, chills, or detachment, then you should see a doctor as soon as possible. While panic episodes are not necessarily dangerous, they are uncomfortable. They are also hard to manage on your own. If you dont seek medical attention, they may worsen over time.

Get proper medications for panic attacks. Click the button below to book your appointment.

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Since panic attack symptoms are almost close to those of other mental disorders or critical health issues such as heart attack, the doctor may carry out a number of tests such as a social anxiety test. After that, he/she will recommend different treatment options. The right medical treatment for panic disorder can help you identify the triggers, understand the underlying issues, and provide a big picture on how to stop a panic attack.  

Contact us at Mango Clinic for panic attack treatment or click the banner below to book your appointment.


Medical Conditions Can Cause Panic Attacks

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Complications Of Panic Disorder

Panic disorder is treatable and you can make a full recovery. But it’s best to get medical help as soon as you can.

If you do not get medical help, panic disorder can escalate and become very difficult to cope with.

You’re more at risk of developing other mental health conditions, such as or other , or an alcohol or drug problem.

Having panic disorder may affect your ability to drive. The law requires you to inform the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency about a medical condition that could impact your driving ability.

Visit GOV.UK for further information about driving with a disability or health condition.

Genetics And Biological Causes

Genetics appears to have a link to panic disorder in some cases.

A 2018 found a few studies that suggested that having first-degree relatives who live with panic disorder increases the chance of developing the condition.

The same review found that females may have a higher genetic predisposition to panic disorder.

In fact, the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders notes that panic disorder is more often diagnosed in females than males at a rate of approximately 2:1.

The manual also states that children of parents living with mental health conditions such as anxiety, bipolar, and depressive disorders might have an increased chance of developing panic disorder.

Although its believed that some genes might be at play, theres still no scientific evidence that points to specific ones or certain genetical functions.

Changes in parts of the brain such as the amygdala, temporal lobe, and medial temporal lobe may also contribute to the development of panic disorder.

What Are The Symptoms Of Panic Disorder

Panic attacks can happen in other types of anxiety disorders, too. Generally, if you have 4 or more panic attacks and if you always worry about having another, you have panic disorder. Symptoms of a panic attack may include:

  • Pounding heart
  • Chills or hot flashes
  • Chest pain and other symptoms that mimic a heart attack

Panic disorder can be upsetting and disabling. An attack can last from a few minutes to an hour or sometimes longer.

The symptoms of a panic attack may look like other mental health conditions. Always see your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.

What Causes Panic Disorder

Panic disorder is a common mental health problem. It often starts in the teens or early adulthood, but may also begin in childhood. Women are twice as likely as men to have it. There may be a genetic link. It tends to run in families.

Panic disorder may be an overreaction of the body’s normal survival instincts and behaviors. In people with panic disorder, the body may be more sensitive to hormones that trigger excited feelings in the body.

Possible Medical Reasons For Anxiety

A useful mnemonic device, THINC MED, developed by Georgetown University psychiatrist Robert Hedeya, MD, helps doctors determine potential medical causes of anxiety:

T : Brain tumors cause a wide range of psychological symptoms, including anxiety, personality changes and hallucinations, along with physical symptoms. Adrenal gland tumors produce excess adrenaline, which can trigger anxiety, along with headache.

H : Thyroid problems are among the most common medical causes of anxiety, either because the gland is overactive or underactive . Parathyroid and adrenal gland conditions can trigger anxiety, too. The female hormone estrogen can also prompt anxiety when the menstrual cycle fluctuates and during menopause.

I :Lyme disease from tick bite infections can trigger anxiety and other psychological symptoms. Untreated Strep infections can cause the neurological tics sometimes seen with anxiety disorders. Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare neurological disorder that can follow a viral infection, may trigger anxiety as well .

N : The symptoms of vitamin deficiency/overload, malabsorption and poor nutrition can mimic emotional disorders. For example, anxiety may be the first symptom of B12 deficiency.

C : Head trauma, even when mild, can trigger anxiety and other psychological symptoms. Anxiety is also seen with chronic or progressive neurological conditions, such as Alzheimers, myasthenia gravis and Guillain-Barre.

Are All Panic Attacks The Same

Iron Deficiency and Panic Attacks

Not all panic attacks are experienced in the same way. The following describes one way panic attacks are categorized:

  • Expected panic attacks: These attacks occur when a person is subjected to or is anticipating a particular trigger. For example, a person with a fear of heights may have a panic attack when inside of a tall building.
  • Situational predisposed panic attacks: These attacks are similar to cued panic attacks, but do not always occur after subjection to a feared situation. These attacks also dont always occur at the time the person is exposed to the trigger. For instance, a person who has a fear of flying may not always have a panic attack while on a plane or may have one after being on a flight.
  • Unexpected panic attacks: These attacks occur suddenly without any internal or external cues.

An Overview of the Types of Panic Attacks

When To Get Help

See a GP if you’ve been experiencing symptoms of panic disorder.

They’ll ask you to describe your symptoms, how often you get them, and how long you have had them.

They may also carry out a physical examination to rule out other conditions that could be causing your symptoms.

It can sometimes be difficult to talk about your feelings, emotions and personal life, but try not to feel anxious or embarrassed.

You may be diagnosed with panic disorder if you have regular and unexpected panic attacks followed by at least a month of continuous worry or concern about having further attacks.

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.

Psychosocial And Environmental Causes

Psychosocial factors refer to how the things and people in your environment affect your thoughts and emotions.

When it comes to the causes of panic disorder, life experiences, childhood observations, and parental influences may all increase what is known as anxiety sensitivity.

A 2018 study showed that anxiety sensitivity is a suspected contributing cause of panic disorder.

When you live with anxiety sensitivity, you tend to believe that any sign or symptom of anxiety poses a serious risk to your health.

For example, if you feel tightness in your chest, you might immediately think youre having a heart attack. If you experience shortness of breath, you might believe youre about to faint.

This fear, in turn, increases your anxiety levels and might lead you to experience recurrent panic attacks.

If you have anxiety sensitivity, youre also more likely to fear panic attacks. This might cause you to experience more of these episodes, and so a vicious cycle begins.

Other possible environmental causes of panic disorder include:

  • sexual and physical abuse
  • trauma during childhood or adulthood
  • significant childhood or adult losses
  • use of prescription or illicit substances
  • chronic physical illnesses

How Does Panic Attack Occur

It usually occurs when you start feeling like something is fluttering around your stomach, breaking out in a cold sweat, trembling and shaking, or sensing impending danger for no apparent reason. In some cases, you may feel like you are going to die the next minute. While many people may experience these occurrences in specific situations, in many cases, they have no idea what triggers these experiences. 

This will lead you to avoid any situation that you fear and can cause an attack. In some cases, you may even feel embarrassed about these attacks. That is why some patients may not open up about the situation or pull away from family and friends to hide the situation. At worst, they may resort to alcohol as a coping mechanism. All these can ruin a persons life. Seeking professional help will likely get you a lasting solution for calming a panic attack



What Are Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety is a normal emotion. Itâs your brainâs way of reacting to stress and alerting you of potential danger ahead. 

Everyone feels anxious now and then. For example, you may worry when faced with a problem at work, before taking a test, or before making an important decision.

Occasional anxiety is OK. But anxiety disorders are different. Theyâre a group of mental illnesses that cause constant and overwhelming anxiety and fear.  The excessive anxiety can make you avoid work, school, family get-togethers, and other social situations that might trigger or worsen your symptoms. 

With treatment, many people with anxiety disorders can manage their feelings.

Different Types Of Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety disorders fall into several categories. Here are a few of them:

  • Panic disorder can be associated with cardiac disease or mistaken for heart attack. Feelings of extreme agitation and terror are often accompanied by dizziness, chest pains, stomach discomfort, shortness of breath, and rapid heart rate.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder a condition that can follow a shocking or frightening incident or sudden, life-threatening event such as a violent crime, major accident, or heart attack. A person suffering from PTSD often has trouble dealing with anything associated with the incident that caused their condition, and experiences feelings of jitteriness and detachment.
  • Obsessive-Compulsive disorder People with OCD will manage unreasonable thoughts and worries by performing the same actions over and over. For example, an individual obsessed with perceived cardiovascular symptoms that have been checked and cleared by a physician may compulsively research them or find new ones for hours on end.

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.

Why Social Events Increase The Risk Of Panic Attacks

Panic Disorder, Depersonalisation And Decentralisation!

Social situations can cause a lot of anxiety. There are multiple different stressors going on durings parties and other social gatherings. The pressure to fit in with the crowd or concerns over safety are enough to cause anxiety problems in some people. Being alone in social settings is particularly stressful for some people. 

Its all of this added stress that can trigger a panic attack. Thankfully, social situations are easy to manage with the right coping mechanisms and understanding of panic attacks. 

Can Medical Conditions Cause Panic Attacks

In addition to specific mental health conditions, medical conditions can cause panic attacks to develop. These include:

  • Hyperthyroidism, or an overactive thyroid gland
  • Withdrawal from certain medications, particularly those used to treat mental health conditions
  • The use of stimulants such as caffeine, cocaine, and amphetamines
  • Hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar
  • Mitral valve prolapse, a heart condition

Some People May Develop Panic Disorders

For many people, the feelings of panic occur only occasionally during periods of stress or illness. A person who experiences recurring panic attacks is said to have panic disorder, which is a type of anxiety disorder. They generally have recurring and unexpected panic attacks and persistent fears of repeated attacks. 

Referral To A Specialist

Your GP may refer you to a mental health specialist such as a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist. A referral usually happens if your symptoms don’t improve after CBT, medication and connecting with a support group.

The specialist will carry out an assessment and create a treatment plan to help you manage your symptoms.

Panic Disorder With Agoraphobia

Agoraphobia was traditionally thought to involve a fear of public places and open spaces. However, it is now believed that agoraphobia develops as a complication of panic attacks and panic disorder. Although it can develop at any point, agoraphobia usually appears within a year of your first recurrent panic attacks.

For example, you may begin to avoid:

  • Crowded places such as shopping malls or sports arenas.
  • Cars, airplanes, subways, and other forms of travel.
  • Social gatherings, restaurants, or other situations where it would be embarrassing to have a panic attack.
  • Physical exercise in case it triggers panic.
  • Certain food or drinks that could provoke panic, such as alcohol, caffeine, sugar, or specific medications.
  • Going anywhere without the company of someone who makes you feel safe. In more severe cases, you might only feel safe at home.

Panic Attacks Linked To Heart Disease

A panic attack is an intense rush of fear or anxiety that can feel just like a heart attack, with chest pain, shortness of breath, sweating, nausea, lightheadedness, and a racing or pounding heart. In fact, panic attacks are a common cause of so-called noncardiac chest pain, which is routinely seen by emergency room doctors.

It turns out that shared symptoms aren’t the only connection. Researchers followed the health of 3,400 postmenopausal women for five years. The 10% or so of women who reported at least one panic attack in a six-month period before the study’s start had four times the risk of heart attack, three times the risk of stroke, and twice the risk of dying from any cause as women who didn’t have panic attacks. The absolute numbers are small: 3.9% of women who had panic attacks had a heart attack during the study, compared with 1.1% of those who didn’t. But this study and others suggest two things:

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  • Research health conditions
  • Prepare for a doctor’s visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise

The Causes Of Panic Attacks

So, what causes a panic attack?

The causes of panic attacks are varied. Risk factors can be both biological and situational. Genetic risk factors can lead to more intense panic attacks and eventually cause more severe conditions such as panic disorder.

Temperament can also play a role in developing panic attacks. For instance, if you take on too many responsibilities or tend to burn the candle at both ends, you may be more likely to experience a panic attack.

In terms of developing panic attacks in an isolated situation, experiencing a stressful life event such as a death or a significant change in your daily activity can trigger panic attacks.

Risk factors for developing panic attacks can also be environmental or physiological, meaning they can be brought on by exaggerated thinking about physical symptoms that are unfamiliar .

Even though the causes of panic attacks can be varied, there are several common triggers and thought patterns, described as building blocks, that can contribute to the development of panic attacks and anxiety-related conditions .


How Is Panic Disorder Diagnosed

Medical or mental health providers can diagnose panic disorder. Your provider may diagnose panic disorder when you have repeated panic attacks and you:

  • Persistently worry about having more panic attacks or their consequences.
  • Obsess about losing control during a panic attack.
  • Change your behaviors to avoid situations that may trigger a panic attack.

Treatment For Panic Attacks And Panic Disorder

What Causes Panic Attacks In Children

The most effective form of professional treatment for tackling panic attacks, panic disorder, and agoraphobia is . Even a short course of treatment can help.

Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on the thinking patterns and behaviors that are sustaining or triggering your panic attacks and helps you look at your fears in a more realistic light. For example, if you had a panic attack while driving, what is the worst thing that would really happen? While you might have to pull over to the side of the road, you are not likely to crash your car or have a heart attack. Once you learn that nothing truly disastrous is going to happen, the experience of panic becomes less terrifying.

Hotlines and support

NAMI Helpline  Trained volunteers can provide information, referrals, and support for those suffering from anxiety disorders in the U.S. Call 1-800-950-6264.

Find a Therapist  Search for anxiety disorder treatment providers in the U.S.

Support Groups  List of support groups in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and South Africa.

Anxiety UK  Information, support, and a dedicated helpline for UK sufferers and their families. Call: 03444 775 774.

Anxiety Canada  Provides links to services in different Canadian provinces.

SANE Help Centre Provides information about symptoms, treatments, medications, and where to go for support in Australia. Call: 1800 18 7263. .

Provides information and support to those with mental health concerns in India. Call: 1860 2662 345 or 1800 2333 330.

Childhood Infections May Increase Risk Of Anxiety Disorder

Additionally, children who develop a severe infection in their first year of life may be at greater risk of developing an anxiety disorder later in childhood and adolescence. 6

The data suggest that early severe infection may be related to increased likelihood of major depression, overanxious disorder, separation anxiety, and specific phobia, compared to those without infection, who were not exposed to infection early in life.6

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