What Causes & Triggers Panic Attacks

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What causes panic attacks? Understanding the common causes and triggers that causes panic attacks in people.

Panic attacks can be very frightening, especially to those who have never experienced one before. Luckily, treating the problem before it develops into a panic disorder isn’t difficult. The first step in treatment is an understanding of what causes panic attacks.

Panic Attack Causes

What Causes Panic AttacksAs your stress builds suddenly your heart feels likes it’s clenching up, breathing becomes difficult, and small beads of sweat form on your brow. You wonder briefly, as the tears start to form in the corner of your eyes, if you’re experiencing a heart attack. It was, a stressful situation, but to cause a heart attack?

What you’ve likely just experienced is called a panic attack (or anxiety attack). This is a problem that many people experience throughout their lives, and for some it becomes a panic disorder.

What is Panic Disorder/Panic Attacks?

Panic disorder is a problem where the sufferer experiences common panic attacks. These attacks generally include frightening symptoms such as rapid breathing (hyperventilation), a rise in heart rate, sometimes a rise in blood pressure, and often lead the victim to feel like they are losing control. A single panic attack by itself usually isn’t life threatening (although it may feel like it is), but in the case of a panic disorder, constant attacks can lead to more serious health problems.

What Are The Common Causes and Triggers of Panic Attacks

It is important to note that you don’t have to suffer from panic disorder to have a panic attack. Anyone can have a panic attack. It’s also important to understand that without treatment, and an understanding of the cause of the problem, panic attack sufferers are much more likely to develop panic disorder.

The actual causes of panic attacks aren’t always clear, but in most cases the trigger for any given attack is. Common triggers for panic attacks include:

  • An exaggerated fear or phobia of a specific situation or object
  • Nervous breakdown
  • Intake of large amounts of alcohol
  • Stopping the use of alcohol or drugs (withdrawal)
  • Taking certain medications
  • High levels of nicotine in the blood
  • Stopping medications related to anxiety or depression
  • High levels of stress for a continued period of time
  • Post-partum depression
  • Surgery that included general anesthesia

Panic attacks may also be triggered by medical conditions such as: heart problems, thyroid problems, depression, other anxiety disorders, seizures, and more.

Another important factor in panic attack assessment is genetics. If one of your parents had trouble with panic disorder, then you are eight times more likely to suffer panic attacks in your adult life.

Panic Disorder SymptomsIf you suffer from a panic attack it is important to understand the causes. The first step in treatment is always to get to the root of the problem. In many cases the situation can be corrected with a simple change (such as lowering stress levels, or drinking less). Left unchecked repeated panic attacks can develop into panic disorder and the symptoms associated with each attack can lead to more serious nervous breakdowns, health problems and mental disorders.

As an example, agoraphobia (a fear of public places) is one common problem that can result from panic attacks. When the sufferer experiences repeat attacks, they begin to develop a fear having those attacks, and especially in front of people. As a result that fear leads to agoraphobia, and another issue results from what was likely a treatable issue.

Since the underlying cause of most panic attacks can be corrected, getting treatment is usually simple. Medication for more serious cases may be prescribed, but in simpler cases self hypnosis and other relaxation techniques to reduce stress may be all that is needed. Understanding what causes panic attacks is the first step in finding a treatment.

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