Panic Attacks – Triggers and Cures

February 20, 2009 by  
Filed under Anxiety

Panic attacks are sudden attacks of fear and discomfort that occur just out of the blue. These episodes happen without warning and do not seem to have a cause or a trigger. Naturally, these occur to humans or to any other animal when there is a clear danger. When this happens, the body releases hormones that increases the heart rate, quickens breathing and allows rapid thought processes to allow immediate action.

In the surface, panic attacks may seem to happen without any reason at all but seeing behind that, there are actually mechanisms at work that make this attacks happen. One of the major reasons why these attacks happen is generally due to anxiety and stress. There is that feeling of being choked that makes the person feel that he is she is having a heart attack.

Aside from it being a symptom of anxiety, there are also several underlying reasons why they occur:

1. A side effect of medication

Some medications may give side effects that make up a panic attack in general. These side effects include increased heart rate, difficulty in breathing, indigestion, dizziness, nausea and sometimes disorientation. These medications may be as common as an antibiotic. Although panic attacks may only occur as a person takes the drug, when the medication is required to be taken regularly, panic attacks may also happen more frequently.

2. Drug or medication withdrawal
When a patient is made to stop a medication, a withdrawal syndrome may happen. Some drugs cause dependence that could lead to anxiety attacks.

3. Short- term or Temporary Causes
Current problems such as a personal loss, problems at work or at home, effects to stimulants such as caffeine or marijuana can cause panic attacks. These attacks however, are short- term and do not happen any more once these triggers are pinpointed and are avoided by the patient.

4. Heredity
Attacks may naturally run in the family, passed over from one gene to the other. The family environment was said to be also a cause panic attacks. Parents that are too cautious and display exaggerated fear of going outside the house would usually have children that experience these attacks once in the outside world.

5. Phobias
Panic attacks are directly related to phobias. This is an irrational, persistent feeling of fear and anxiety over menial things. The main symptom for phobias is a strong desire to avoid that object. Phobias can root from traumatic events that have left a permanent mark in a person’s memory. Other phobias such as social phobias however, have a very complex root and are usually characterized by extreme worry over current social situations.

These attacks can be treated with therapy and medications. Therapy focuses on behavior patterns and allows a patient to see the bigger more realistic picture: that the reason for the panic is not present at all. Medicines such as anti depressants and anti anxiety drugs are also available as prescribed by the doctor. Other natural remedies are also available for this condition.