What Causes Panic Attack And How To Prevent it?

What Causes Panic Attack And How To Prevent It?

According to studies, roughly one-third of people have had at least one panic attack in their lifetime. Nobody wants to go through it ever again. Even knowing about panic attacks might be unpleasant, but it is necessary. Understanding panic attacks is the first step toward preventing them. We will begin the article by helping you know the causes of panic attacks. Thereon, sharing quick tips to prevent panic attacks from reoccurring.

What Triggers Panic Attacks?

A panic attack is an overreaction to the body’s normal physiological response to perceived danger. The amygdala, the brain area involved in fear processing, initiates this response.

What Happens During A Panic Attack?

When the amygdala detects danger in panic attack, it stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, causing adrenaline to be released. Adrenaline causes an increase in heart rate and breathing rate to deliver blood and oxygen to different body parts. This also increases the amount of oxygen in the brain, making it more awake and receptive. This response is amplified much beyond what would be appropriate in a threatening scenario during a panic attack. As a result, the person experiences a racing heart, heavy breathing, or even hyperventilation. Changes in blood flow further produce dizziness and numbness in the hands and feet.

Duration Of A Panic Attack?

A panic attack typically lasts 10 minutes. The amygdala is then replaced by the prefrontal cortex, which promotes the parasympathetic nervous system. This causes the release of acetylcholine, a hormone that slows the heart rate. It progressively reduces the panic attack.

What Does A Panic Attack Feels Like?

In a panic attack, the body’s impression of danger elicits the same response as it would to an actual threat. The person experiences a racing heart, heavy breathing, or even hyperventilation. Changes in blood flow further produce dizziness and numbness in the hands and feet.

We don’t know why this happens. However, environmental signals that remind us of unpleasant past events might sometimes cause a panic attack.

What is the difference between a panic attack and an anxiety attack?

Anxiety disorders such as PTSD, social anxiety disorder, OCD, and generalised anxiety disorder can all cause panic attacks. Recurrent panic attacks, frequent fear of fresh attacks, and behavioural changes can lead to panic disorder.

How To Prevent Panic Attacks?

Antidepressant medication and cognitive behavioural therapy, or CBT, are the two main therapies for panic disorder. Both have a response rate of roughly 40%. We must remember that antidepressant drugs have some negative effects and half of those who quit taking them relapse.

Meanwhile, CBT is more effective, with only a 20% recurrence rate. The purpose of CBT treatment for panic disorder is to teach and practise specific strategies that allow people to exert physical, and thus mental, control over the symptoms and ideas associated with a panic attack. CBT begins with an explanation of the physiological underpinnings of a panic attack, followed by breath and muscle exercises aimed to help people manage their breathing patterns consciously.

The next step is cognitive restructuring, which entails identifying and changing typical thoughts during panic attacks. For example, believing you’ll stop breathing, have a heart attack, or die and replacing these thoughts with more accurate ones. The following stage of treatment involves exposing the patient to the physiological sensations and conditions that frequently set off a panic attack. The goal is to change the belief that certain sensations and events are dangerous through experience. Even after CBT, taking these measures in the midst of an attack is difficult. However, these experiences and strategies can be used to both prevent and de-escalate attacks, thereby reducing the grip of panic over a person’s life. CBT seeks to convey the idea that while fear is harmless, holding on to it can lead to panic attacks.

Even if you’ve never experienced a panic attack, understanding them will help you recognise one in yourself or someone else. Recognising panic attacks is the first step toward preventing them.


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