Imagine yourself attending a prize distribution ceremony where you are supposed to be awarded the first prize of the competition. The names are being called like first the fifth prize, then the fourth and so on. Suddenly you are seized with a fear, particularly of no reason. There is a heavy pounding in your chest and you start sweating. You may even feel breathing difficult. By the time, the count comes to the second prize you are a nervous wreck. Before them announcing the first prize, you make your escape. In case you are wondering, what happened then it can be said that you just had a panic attack. Unlike anxiety, panic strikes suddenly and unexpectedly. It can also be so severe as to leave you completely disabled. If the panic attacks are frequent then it gives rise to the development of phobias with respect to the situations in which the attacks occurs. Naturally, you try to avoid those situations as much as possible. Like, if you get panicky during interviews, or making presentations, or driving, or maybe riding in an elevator then you try to avoid those situations. In time, there forms a pattern of avoidance and anxiety that the mere thought of doing such things triggers an attack. At this point, the panic attack becomes a panic disorder. To treat panic attacks requires that you know all the causes, symptoms and treatment involved in it. To know more on panic attacks read below.
Causes, Symptoms, And Treatment Of Panic Attacks
- The main cause is heredity. Many studies have shown that people who have a family history of panic disorders have more chances of developing it, though panic attacks can also develop in those without any family history of the disorder.
- Vitamin B deficiency can also cause panic attacks. Other biological causes are disorders like obsessive-compulsive disorder, stress, high and low blood pressure, etc.
- Panic attacks are often a direct result of specific phobias.
- The loss of a loved ones and any other significant life change can also cause panic attacks.
- Withholding feelings, lack of assertiveness and negative self-belief can also cause panic attacks.
- The side effects of some medications can also lead to panic attacks. However, the panic attacks due to medicines, in some cases, last only as long as the medication is taken.
- Substance abuse also causes panic attacks. Similarly, panic attack is also one of the symptoms of alcohol abuse.
- Certain situations can also give rise to panic attacks. This can be due to initially experiencing panic attacks in such a situation, which creates a cognitive predisposition for such attacks.
- Sometimes serious and chronic illness can also cause panic attacks.
The symptoms can be any four or more of the following with a period of intense fear.
- Due to panic attacks, there arises a feeling of choking followed by trembling and shaking. It also results in shortness of breath as if getting smothered.
- There is an increase in heart rate with sweating and chest pain.
- Nausea, dizziness, and lightheadedness also accompany panic attacks.
- Sometimes, the person is unable to grasp reality or he or she feels a complete detachment from the self.
- There is also the fear of going insane or of dying. The person is assailed by the need of escape.
- The mind gets confused or blank.
- Substances like alcohol, drugs and caffeine must be avoided, as they tend to aggravate the panic attacks.
- Yoga and breathing exercises are very good in reducing the stress and so help in reducing the panic attacks. Aerobic exercises are also beneficial in this.
- Try relaxing by relieving the tension from the muscles.
- Sometimes beta-blocker medications are also used to treat panic attacks. Other medications like Benzodiazepines can be used for short-term relief. Antidepressants can also be used but since there are side effects, they must be taken under supervision.
- Therapies like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is especially effective as it identifies the source of the problem and then addresses the thoughts and behavior of the person suffering from panic attacks to cure the disorder.