Biological And Physical Factors
The biopsychosocial model, proposed by psychiatrist George Engel, suggests that the mind and body of an individual are two important systems that are interlinked . In concordance with this theory, âthe bodyâs normal âalarm system,â the set of mental and physical mechanisms that allows a person to respond to a threat, tends to be triggered unnecessarily, when there is no dangerâ . Doctors are uncertain why this happens. It is also thought that panic disorder may be hereditary.
Furthermore, there are five major biological causes for panic attacks which include: chemical imbalances, malfunctioning in the brain, production of sodium lactate, breathing air that has a higher amount of carbon dioxide, and hyperthyroidism . Mitral valve prolapse , hypoglycemia, and medication withdrawal can also trigger panic attacks.
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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Where Do I Go From Here
The best first step is always to talk to your doctor. They can help you decide which, if any, of the above treatments would be best for you.
Other helpful resources are:
AnxietyBCVisit www.anxietybc.com or call 604-525-7566 for community resources and lots of helpful information about panic disorder and other anxiety disorders, including strategies to try at home.
Canadian Mental Health Association, BC DivisionVisit www.cmha.bc.ca or call 1-800-555-8222 or 604-688-3234 for information and community resources.
BC Partners for Mental Health and Addictions InformationVisit www.heretohelp.bc.ca for info sheets and personal stories about . Youll also find more information, tips and self-tests to help you understand many different mental health problems
Resources available in many languages:*For the service below, if English is not your first language, say the name of your preferred language in English to be connected to an interpreter. More than 100 languages are available.
HealthLink BCCall 811 or visit www.healthlinkbc.ca to access free, non-emergency health information for anyone in your family, including mental health information. Through 811, you can also speak to a registered nurse about symptoms youre worried about, or talk with a pharmacist about medication questions.
About the author
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Mental Health Treatment Program Locator
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration provides this online resource for locating mental health treatment facilities and programs. The Mental Health Treatment Locator section of the Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator lists facilities providing mental health services to persons with mental illness. Find a facility in your state at www.nimh.nih.gov/findhelp.
Feb When Panic Attacked: Why Do People Have Panic Attacks And What To Do About Them
Melissa was a 27 year old law student. She was in her third year of law school and had been very successful. She could usually manage stressful times at school quite well, even during exams. But something changed drastically for Melissa right after her boyfriend, Jeremy, proposed to her over dinner on Valentines day. Melissa was, as she put it, over the moon.
Melissa and Jeremy had been dating for over three years and had a very loving and fun relationship. Jeremy had been working as a lawyer in a big firm in the city and he was well on his way to becoming a partner. He was highly regarded by his colleagues and was also well-liked by those who knew him. When Melissa told her mom about the proposal, her mom was elated with joy. Melissas parents like Jeremy a lot and were hoping the young couple would marry.
Melissa came to see me a few days later, after the doctors at the ER reassured her there was nothing physically wrong with her and suggested she saw a psychologist. We started exploring together what could have triggered her panic.
Panic attacks are extremely unpleasant and can be very scary. Common symptoms include
- A racing heart
- Fear of dying
- Fear of going crazy
And what about Melissa? You may ask.
if you or anyone you know suffer from panic attacks or panic disorder, get professional help as soon as possible. you may e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 604-671-7356
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What Can I Do About It
There are a few different things you can do that have been shown by research to help the most:
Although there are many other alternative therapies for anxiety, there is less evidence that they actually work. Some people find that herbal remedies help reduce their bodys response to anxiety. Remember that even herbal remedies can have side-effects and may interfere with other medications. Dosages can also vary depending on the brand you use. Talk about the risks and benefits of herbal or other alternative treatments with your health care providerand make sure they know all the different treatments youre trying.
How Can I Prevent Panic Attacks
Your healthcare provider can help you identify triggers that bring on panic attacks. During psychotherapy, you learn strategies to manage triggering events and prevent an attack. You can also take these actions to lower your odds of having a panic attack:
- Cut back on caffeine.
- Talk to your doctor before taking herbal supplements or over-the-counter medications. Certain substances can increase anxiety.
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You Answered Yes To Question
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you might have panic disorder or panic symptoms. Panic attacks can be very scary, and it is normal to feel initially concerned about these sensations. Panic disorder affects about 2-3% of people in the United States per year, so you are not alone. The good news is that panic disorder can be successfully treated with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which will help you learn how to effectively manage your panic disorder. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, and they are negatively interfering with your life, it might be time to seek help.
It will be important to begin with a structured psychiatric evaluation by a professional to see if you meet criteria for panic disorder, which will inform your treatment plan. Our mental health impacts many aspects of our lives, such as our physical health and our quality of life, which is why it is so important to address any mental health problems with effective treatments.
This material is not a substitute for the advice of a licensed professional. To begin your search for a mental health professional, go to the ADAAâs Therapist Directory.
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.
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Risk Factors For Panic Attacks While Taking Cannabis
Medical News Today states that research on cannabis use currently focuses on adolescents who are more likely to use marijuana for the first time. Adults who are regular users offer us a better picture of who may get a panic attack as a result of regular use.
Up to 25 percent of people who use marijuana may become problematic users. Of this group, another quarter of users may have an anxiety disorder. People who have anxiety as children are more likely to use cannabis in problematic ways.
There are a few things problematic users have in common.
- Many have experienced maltreatment or bullying as children.
- Some people who begin using marijuana as adults may simply have had fewer friends who use marijuana as teenagers, causing delayed problem use of marijuana.
- Persistent users normally had problems with marijuana as early as age 9.
Is It Panic Disorder
If you feel constantly stressed and anxious, particularly about when your next panic attack may be, you may have panic disorder.
People with panic disorder may avoid situations that might cause a panic attack. They may also fear and avoid public spaces .
“There’s no quick fix, but if your attacks are happening time after time, seek medical help,” says Professor Salkovskis.
Read more about panic attacks, including personal stories, at See Me Scotland.
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Are Panic Attacks Dangerous What Is The Prognosis
The prognosis for people who suffer a panic attack is overall, good. Some people have a single attack and are never bothered again. Yet, two-thirds of people experiencing a panic attack go on to be diagnosed with panic disorder. Also, half of those who go through a panic attack might develop clinical depression within the following year, if not treated promptly. Occasionally, a person will, after a long evaluation, be diagnosed with a medical condition that causes panic symptoms.
Find The Root Cause Of The Issue
When panic rears its ugly head, it can be tempting to just deal with the symptoms and move on. The best way to prevent panic is to find the cause and deal with it directly. This is true for both internal stress, as well as situations at work that can cause a company panic, such as dropping numbers or lost clients. Once you are able to identify the reason, it will be easier to rectify, which means your brain will no longer panic when an unforeseeable circumstance happens.
Panic in the workplace can be prevented, for both leaders and employees. Recognizing the signs and reasons to why panic happens in the first place is a major step in the right direction to minimizing the panic that all employees feel. Minimizing a panic response helps both the company and the employees, by helping the company run more logically and efficiently without rash decisions made in panic, as well as giving workers a more stress-free environment.
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When To Seek Medical Attention
The first time one experiences a panic attack, one should seek medical attention promptly in order to check oneâs overall physical and mental health and discuss the possibility and prevention of future panic attacks.
It is not uncommon for an individual, who has experienced a panic attack, to feel embarrassment in telling their family or doctor. Many people are unaware of how common it is to experience a panic attack and/or that it could relate to panic disorder or another form of anxiety â conditions, which are highly treatable with appropriate psychotherapy and/or medication.
Even if one is not diagnosed with a mental health condition, oneâs doctor will be able to advise on management techniques in the event that a future panic attack occurs and will be able to perform check-ups to rule out other conditions or health concerns. For example, one may be screened to rule out the risk of a heart attack, particularly if one believed that one was experiencing a heart attack during the episode.
Why Do I Get Panic Attacks For No Reason
Have you recently felt that you have had a panic attack for no reason? Do you get panic attacks and cant understand why they happen?
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders groups panic attacks into two categories – expected or unexpected. If you feel as though you have had a panic attack for no reason, it is likely that you have experienced one that would be considered unexpected.
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How Panic Attacks Work
This includes such questions as:
* What triggers a panic attack?
* What causes panic attacks to happen on some days, and in some situations, but not others?
* Why would I have a panic attack one time I visit the grocery store or drive on a highway, and not at the same place another day?
* Why do I have less trouble if my support person is with me?
* How do panic attacks end?
For a discussion of this question, I am making available here a free copy of Chapter 7 from my Panic Attacks Workbook. Feel free to download this chapter for your own personal use.
Click here to view or download the chapter.
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.
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Ways To Prevent Panic Attacks
“You need to try to work out what particular stress you might be under that could make your symptoms worse,” says Professor Salkovskis. “It’s important not to restrict your movements and daily activities.”
- Doing breathing exercises every day will help to prevent panic attacks and relieve them when they are happening
- Regular exercise, especially aerobic exercise, will help you to manage stress levels, release tension, improve your mood and boost confidence
- Eat regular meals to stabilise your blood sugar levels
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol and smoking these can make panic attacks worse. Panic support groups have useful advice about how you can effectively manage your attacks. Knowing that other people are experiencing the same feelings can be reassuring. Your GP can put you in touch with groups in your area
- Cognitive behavioural therapy can identify and change the negative thought patterns that are feeding your panic attacks
Breathing Exercise For Panic Attacks
If youre breathing quickly during a panic attack, doing a breathing exercise can ease your other symptoms. Try this:
- breathe in as slowly, deeply and gently as you can, through your nose
- breathe out slowly, deeply and gently through your mouth
- some people find it helpful to count steadily from one to five on each in-breath and each out-breath
- close your eyes and focus on your breathing
You should start to feel better in a few minutes. You may feel tired afterwards.
Visit the No Panic website for another breathing exercise to calm panic.
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How Are Anxiety Disorders Treated
Anxiety disorders can be treated by mental health professionals, or therapists. A therapist can look at the symptoms someone is dealing with, diagnose the specific anxiety disorder, and create a plan to help the person get relief.
A particular type of talk therapy called cognitive-behavior therapy is often used. In CBT, a person learns new ways to think and act in situations that can cause anxiety, and to manage and deal with stress. The therapist provides support and guidance and teaches new coping skills, such as relaxation techniques or breathing exercises. Sometimes, but not always, medication is used as part of the treatment for anxiety.
Ways To Help Yourself
Small changes can help prevent further panic attacks.
- Practice breathing exercises regularly. They can help prevent panic attacks and help while theyre happening too.
- Physical activity can reduce stress and tension and improve your mood.
- Eating regular healthy meals can keep your blood sugar stable which can boost your energy and mood.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol and smoking if you can. These can make panic attacks worse.
- Try mindfulness. Its a way of being fully present and engaged in the moment that can help with anxiety.
- Join a peer support group. They bring together people who have had similar experiences to help each other. Anxiety UK, No Panic and TOP UK all run support groups and other services.
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Risk Factors For Experiencing A Panic Attack
Although anyone may be affected by a panic attack, a range of factors may increase the likelihood for certain individuals. People who have a disorder that leads to elevated levels of anxiety are more likely to experience a panic attack. This includes:
- Generalized anxiety disorder . A form of chronic anxiety that is often unrelated to a particular cause.
- Obsessive compulsive disorder . In the case of OCD, a person experiences recurrent unwanted thoughts and compulsive behaviors. This can lead to panic attacks in some people, although, according to DSM-5 criteria, OCD is no longer listed as anxiety disorder.
- Post traumatic stress disorder . Although PTSD is a trauma and stressor-related disorder rather than an anxiety disorder, panic attacks may relate to anxiety from PTSD, that develops after first or second-hand exposure to a traumatic event.
- Social phobia. In people with social phobia, everyday situations regularly cause debilitating levels of anxiety.
Other mental health conditions, such as depression, can also cause the anxious kinds of thinking that may precipitate a panic attack.
Other factors, which increase oneâs likelihood of experiencing a panic attack, include:
Conditions which increase the likelihood of experiencing a panic attack include: