Do you sometimes feel like you’re having a heart attack? Do your chest and throat feel tight, and do you find it hard to breathe? If so, you may be experiencing a panic attack. Panic attacks can be very frightening and disabling. In this blog post, we will discuss the 10 most common causes of panic attacks, as well as how to deal with them.
What Are Panic Attacks?
Panic attacks are described as intense episodes of fear or anxiety that are accompanied by a range of physical symptoms. For many people, panic attacks are unexpected and seem to come out of nowhere. This condition is described as having panic attacks that are not triggered by a specific event or situation.
Panic attacks are characterized by several types of symptoms, for example, physical symptoms of a panic attack can be very intense and may include:
- heart palpitations or chest pain
- shortness of breath
- shaking or trembling
- the feeling of choking
In addition to physical symptoms, panic attacks can also involve cognitive and emotional symptoms, such as:
- you may feel like you’re going crazy
- or like you’re losing control
- feeling detached from yourself or your surroundings
- fear of dying
- feeling like you’re having a heart attack
These symptoms can be extremely overwhelming and can make it difficult to function in day-to-day life. Panic attacks can last for minutes or even hours, and the experience is often very frightening and overwhelming. Many people report that after a panic attack they feel exhausted and drained.
Therefore it is important to understand the causes of panic attacks and how to deal with them. Let’s further discuss the main causes in order to better manage them.
What Are The Causes Of Panic Attacks?
The causes of panic attacks are usually unknown. However, some factors may contribute to the development of panic attacks. Here are the top 10 causes of panic attacks that you should know:
It is one of the most important causes of panic attacks. If your parents or close relatives have a history of anxiety disorders, you are more likely to develop panic attacks. This is because anxiety can be passed down from generation to generation. However, there are no scientific studies to support this claim.
Changes in brain chemistry may also contribute to the development of panic attacks. And an imbalance of certain neurotransmitters has been linked to panic disorder. For example, people with panic disorder may have low levels of GABA, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate nerve activity. Also if you are going through menopause, your estrogen levels drop which also can lead to changes in brain chemistry that may cause panic attacks.
Stress is one of the most common causes of panic attacks. When you’re under stress, your body goes into “fight-or-flight” mode, which means your heart rate and blood pressure increase, you start to breathe more quickly, and your body releases stress hormones. These changes can lead to a panic attack.
Moreover, people who have panic disorder often have a hard time managing stress. There could be several reasons causing stress: work, school, family issues, or relationship problems. So it’s important to find healthy ways to cope with stress. Some good coping mechanisms include exercise, relaxation techniques, and talking to someone you trust.
This is one of the most interesting causes of panic attacks. People who have an anxious personality tend to be more prone to panic attacks. The reason behind this is that they are constantly in a state of worry and fear which can trigger an attack. Also, certain personality traits can make someone more susceptible to panic attacks such as being a perfectionist or having a low-stress tolerance.
For example, if you are constantly worrying about things going wrong or not being good enough then you are more likely to have a panic attack at some point. This is because your mind is always in a state of stress which can eventually lead to an attack.
Pre-existing mental health condition
It is not uncommon for people who suffer from panic attacks to also have a pre-existing mental health condition. Conditions such as:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
These can all lead to panic attacks. Because in anxiety and depression, the thinking patterns are already negative, it doesn’t take much for them to turn into full-blown panic attacks. PTSD can cause flashbacks which trigger a panic attack. So other comorbid mental health conditions can be a big factor in panic attacks.
Sometimes, certain medications a person takes can cause panic attacks as a side effect. This is most common with asthma medications, blood pressure medications, and birth control pills. Because these types of medication are essential for many people, stopping them is not always an option. However, when it is possible, a person should discuss with their doctor whether changing medications might help to reduce the frequency or severity of panic attacks.
Panic attacks are often brought on by social events. If you have a fear of public speaking or being around large crowds, you may be more likely to experience a panic attack in those situations. For some people, just thinking about a social event can trigger a panic attack. Moreover, social events are often unpredictable, which can make them even more anxiety-provoking.
Sometimes, people who have panic attacks turn to drugs or alcohol in an attempt to self-medicate. This can lead to substance abuse, which can make panic attacks even worse. For example, people who abuse alcohol may find that their anxiety increases when they drink. This can lead to a vicious cycle in which the person drinks to try to calm their anxiety, but the alcohol only makes the anxiety worse.
It is well-known that what we eat can affect our mood. Certain foods can trigger a panic attack in people who are prone to anxiety or who have panic disorder. Caffeine, for example, is a stimulant that can make anxiety worse. Sugar can also cause mood swings and make you feel jittery. Food additives like aspartame have also been linked to panic attacks in some people.
Also, researchers have found that people who eat a lot of processed foods are more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression. The reason for this is not yet clear, but it may be because processed foods contain fewer nutrients than fresh foods.
This is one of the most common causes of panic attacks. If you’re constantly exposed to loud noises, bright lights, or other stressful situations, your risk of having a panic attack increases. It is important to find ways to reduce your exposure to these triggers. More often than not, people who suffer from panic attacks have a history of trauma or abuse.
There are a variety of environmental factors that can trigger a panic attack. You just need to be aware of what your triggers are and take steps to avoid them.
So overall, these are some of the most common causes of panic attacks. It is important to remember that everyone is different and what may trigger one person’s panic attack may not trigger another person’s. If you think you might be suffering from panic attacks, it’s important to talk to a professional.
How To Deal With Panic Attacks?
If you are someone who suffers from panic attacks, you know how debilitating they can be. You may feel like you’re going to die, have a heart attack, or go crazy. These attacks can be so severe that they interfere with your daily life.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to manage your panic attacks and live a normal life. Here are some tips:
Learn about triggers
This is the first step in managing your panic attacks. Once you know what triggers an attack, you can avoid those situations or be prepared for them. Common triggers include stressful events, strong emotions, caffeine, and alcohol. When you are aware of your triggers, you can take steps to avoid them. For instance, if you know that caffeine triggers your attacks, you can cut back on coffee or switch to decaf.
And, if you can’t avoid a trigger, try to lessen the impact it has on you. For example, if work is a trigger, try to create a support system at work. This could involve talking to your boss about your condition and having a few trusted colleagues you can go to when you’re feeling stressed.
Identify your symptoms
Every person experiences panic differently. It’s important to identify your symptoms so you can better manage them. Once you know what your symptoms are, you can start to look for patterns. For example, if you feel a certain way before every panic attack, you can start to recognize the feeling and take steps to avoid the attack. When you do this you will be better to manage panic attacks.
Develop a relaxation response
When you feel an attack coming on, there are things you can do to stop it in its tracks. One method is called the relaxation response. This involves deep breathing, visualization, and muscle relaxation. The goal is to get your body into a state of relaxation so that the panic attack cannot take hold.
To do this, sit in a comfortable position and close your eyes. Take a deep breath in through your nose, filling up your lungs. Hold it for a few seconds, then release it slowly through your mouth. As you breathe out, picture all of the tension leaving your body. Repeat this for a few minutes.
Talk to your loved ones
Talking to your loved ones about your experiences with panic attacks can help you feel more comfortable discussing the topic. It can also help them to understand how to best support you. It is believed that sharing your worries and concerns can help to lessen their intensity. Because when you know that someone else understands what you’re going through, it relieves some of the fear and isolation that can make panic attacks worse.
Get professional help
If your panic attacks are proving to be too much to handle on your own, it’s important to get professional help. A therapist can provide you with the tools and resources you need to manage your anxiety and live a healthy life. There are several therapy options or even medications that can be very effective in treating panic disorder. Some of these include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy: This type of therapy helps you understand and change the thoughts and behaviors that contribute to your anxiety.
- Exposure therapy: This type of therapy involves gradually exposing yourself to the things that trigger your anxiety. The goal is to eventually be able to confront your fears without feeling anxious.
- Medications: Several medications can be used to treat anxiety, including antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, and beta-blockers.
Panic attacks can be very scary and overwhelming. But with the right treatment, you can manage your anxiety and live a healthy life. Don’t try to go it alone – get help from a professional if you need it.
Change your lifestyle
If you’re living with panic attacks, making some changes to your lifestyle can be helpful. These include:
- Eating a healthy diet
- Getting regular exercise
- Getting enough sleep
- Reducing stress
- Avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and cigarettes
Make sure to keep up with any mental health appointments and therapy sessions. Doing so can help prevent panic attacks from happening in the first place, or at least help you manage them better.
Join a support group
Support groups are a great way to share your experiences with others who understand what you’re going through. It can be helpful to see that you’re not alone in your struggle and to hear how others have coped with their panic attacks.
There are many online and in-person support groups available. To find a group near you, check with your local hospital, community center, or mental health clinic. You can also search online for a “panic disorder support group” in your area. If you’re not ready to join a support group, you can also find helpful information and resources on panic disorder websites and forums.
If you think you may be experiencing panic attacks, talk to your doctor. They can help you figure out if that’s the case and, if so, come up with a treatment plan. Panic attacks are treatable, so don’t hesitate to reach out for help.
To conclude, the causes of panic attacks can be very different for each person. It is important to try to identify your triggers and work on avoiding or managing them. Remember that you are not alone in this and there is help available if you need it. Panic attacks can be very frightening, but with the right help, you can overcome them.
There are several things that you can do to help manage your panic attacks. So you must be willing to experiment and find what works for you. Some people find that relaxation techniques, while others find relief by attending a support group or therapy sessions. Whichever route you decide to take, know that there is help out there and you can overcome your panic attacks.
For more information and tips you can contact Therapy Mantra. We have a team of professional therapists who can provide you with the support and guidance you need to recover from this condition. Contact us today to learn more about our services. You can also book an online counseling and therapy session or download our free Android or iOS app.