Panic Attacks and Disorder: Causes and Some Self-Help Techniques

You are in the hospital on your way to visiting a loved one and the doctor tells you that the person has passed away or you come to work thinking it is a going to be a normal day and you are handed a pink slip. Maybe it’s a situation where you relationship with your spouse is deteriorating. These are just some of the situations that could spark a panic attack. For those lingering situations, such as the relationship scenario, you may encounter panic attacks routinely and randomly.

What Exactly are Panic Attacks?

Panic attacks are the sudden episodes of extreme fears that can lead to the activation of several body functions that may include irregular breathing or problems breathing, rapid heartbeat, nausea, stomach pains or cramps, muscle or chest pains or other abnormal physical experiences.

As mentioned in the scenarios above, you may experience a few panic attacks in your lifetime, such as dealing with financial problems, divorce, work related issues, personal health issues, seriously ill family member or other circumstances where fear overrides your every day mood. In some circumstances, women who give birth may feel depressed, called Postpartum Depression.  If the panic attacks continue, it could elevate you condition to a level of stress denoted as panic disorder and if not addressed by a medical professional, other ailments may materialize, such as depression.

For many, the panic disorder they are feeling are based upon a real experience they are going through, while others worry about things that may not be that realistic, but due to some metabolic reasons, they too may suffer from panic disorder.

If you do experience a panic attack, it is highly recommended to seek the advice of a medical professional for possible treatment. In the interim, there is so much information associated with this condition, we can only scratch the surface, so, as a guideline, we summarize below answers to some questions you may have regarding panic attack.s

Causes of panic attacks

Besides sudden, unexpected natural life experiences, researchers attribute additional factors that can increase the risk or even become an underlying factor of panic attacks in adults. 

Genetics

There is partial evidence that panic disorders might be attributed to genetics, as studies have shown that people with a family history of panic attacks and disorders are more vulnerable to this psychological ailment; however, it has not been proven that genetics is the root cause or only attribute to cause this effect. Indeed, for many, it may not be a contributing factor at all. 

Major life events

For some, stress can be part of their everyday lives and might not lead to panic attacks. However, there are some life events, such as the death or serious illness of a loved one that can cause considerable anxiety, which can ultimately lead to panic disorder. In most cases, these attacks are temporary and usually die down with gradual lowering of stress levels.

Traumatic Memories

For many people, different incidents become the reason of panic attacks. Physical or mental abuse, sexual assaults or serious accidents are some of the reasons that can induce panic attacks.

Unhealthy lifestyle

Eating junk food, alcoholism, excessive smoking and caffeine consumption may increase the risk of panic attacks. Caffeine especially can cause your heart to beat faster and when you are suffering from panic disorder, drinking caffeine related liquids is not recommended.

Some foods that can help keep you calmer are:

  •  Green Leafy Vegetables
  •  Organic Turkey Breast
  •  Blueberries
  •  Dark Chocolate
  •  Pistachios
  •  Avocados

And then there is exercise. How much exercise do you get each day? If you had to think about that one, you most likely are not getting enough physical exercise. Experts suggest exercising to the equivalent of 10,000 steps per day; however, we reiterate, seek the advise of a professional before changing your diet or physical lifestyle, especially if you are on medication.

Panic disorder can affect the quality of your life

Constant panic attacks at different times can confine you. People try to avoid the places where they have experienced a panic attack. These consequences can make your social life very challenging. As a result, people often start to avoid all the situations where human interaction is involved. Other bad consequences of panic attacks are:

  • You will see a sharp dip in your confidence level and it will consequently affect your professional and educational life
  • Your family and the loved ones will also be affected by episodes of your panic attacks

Self-help measures to tackle panic attacks

Determined to help yourself is very important to courageously face the issue of a panic attack. There are several measures one should take to alleviate the symptoms and reduce the occurrence of these attacks.

Keep Calm

Some people find solace in meditation, while others are able to find a sense of relaxation listening to soft music. Others keep them self busy and feel gratified with daily senses of accomplishments.

Then there is therapy or visiting a psychiatrist, which could include prescribed medication to help you keep calm.

Any of these methods or any combination of these methods could be beneficial to your well being when being subjected to panic disorders.

Accepting the problem

Most people try to avoid the problem of panic disorder instead of facing it. This behavior can’t help you to get rid of the panic attacks. Accepting the problem and all the emotions associated with it is the first step to treating this psychological problem. Whenever you experience a panic attack, it is helpful to keep reminding yourself that it will end soon. Knowing that you will come out of the situation unharmed can reduce the intensity of the symptoms.

Accepting panic attacks also reduce the levels of anxiety before or after the occurrence of panic attacks.

Try to rationalize it

Another thing which can help you survive an episode of panic attack is to keep yourself grounded. Panic attacks can the reaction to imaginary perceived threats, i.e., one is not in an actual danger. Also keep reminding yourself that the attack is caused due to chemical imbalance in the brain and it will get back to normal after few minutes.

Tackle the triggers

Handling the triggers of panic attack is very crucial in managing panic attacks. Triggers of panic attacks are a set of conditions may remind you of a bad experience. Let’s suppose you acquire a panic attack while shopping in the grocery store. Shopping or grocery store might not be the reason of a panic attack, but your brain may acknowledge an event on an unconscious level where some feature in the store makes an association with something unpleasant and that can trigger an attack.

People who make you anxious and uncomfortable may also prove to be the triggers of your anxiety. Avoid these triggers if possible, but it might not feasible to do it every time. Therefore, it is imperative to carefully recognize the signs so you can already know what is happening to you in order to apply an appropriate coping mechanism.

Apart from treating yourself with self help techniques, you can also try alternative medicines and other methods of treatments to address the problem of panic attacks, but NEVER DO IT ON YOUR OWN!  Seek the advice of a medical professional. You may be pleasantly surprised what some therapy can do. In addition, your doctor may prescribe medication that can keep you calm. There are scores of prescription medications available for stress and anxiety related issues, but speak to your medical professional first before doing anything on your own.

In addition, if you are looking for help, but don’t know where to turn, this website is a valuable source of information that can help get you started.

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