Panic Attacks! Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments Explained!
- Irrespective of any physical or mental health condition, it should be treated at the earliest as in no time it can become chronic. This is exactly the case with a panic attack if left untreated; it leads to a panic disorder.
- A panic attack is defined as an immediate short moment comprising intense fear/anxiety that triggers several physical reactions at a time when no actual signs of the apparent cause or real danger exist.
- However, it can be extremely frightening, and one may think that he/she is having a heart attack, losing control, or even dying!
- As per the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), approximately 2-3% of the U.S. citizens experience a panic attack/disorder in a year.
- A panic attack is two times more common in women as compared to men.
- A panic attack/disorder is usually seen in people during their 20s but can also be seen in elderly, adolescents, and young kids.
- A panic attack can even occur while a person is asleep.
- The 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) explains that panic disorder is not the only reason for a panic attack to occur as several other lifestyle and health factors also trigger it.
Major Panic Attack Symptoms
- Sense of approaching danger
- Fear of death/Loss of control
- Pounding, rapid heart rate
- Breath shortness/Throat tightening
- Hot flashes
- Chest pain
- Numbness/Tingling sensation
- Abdominal cramping
- Feeling of detachment/Unreality
Common Panic Attack Causes
The actual causes of a panic attack are unknown, but several factors lead to its occurrence. These include:
- Personal/Professional Stress
- Sensitive temperament towards stress/negative emotions
- Certain brain functioning changes
- A disturbing event, such as a serious accident or a sexual assault
- Excessive caffeine intake/smoking/ substance abuse
- Childhood sexual/physical abuse history
- Avoidance of social situations
- Other psychological problems
Stopping/Preventing a Panic Attack
If you or anyone around you experiences any of the panic attack symptoms, the following practices should be followed to stop/prevent it.
Also, one can prepare for the same in advance as merely doing so will make it less possible to move from symptoms to a panic attack.
1. Recognize the Panic Attack
- It is essential that one gets mentally prepared first to prevent the attack. So, recognize the associated symptoms by learning about the same.
- This will relax the mind by knowing that it is not a heart attack but a panic attack symptom that will pass by easily.
2. Deep Breathe
- This includes taking deep, slow breaths if one is able to. Take a breath inside for 3-4 seconds, hold it, and breathe outside for 3-4 seconds.
- There are a lot of affordable and free phone apps that can help you with deep breathing exercises for getting prepared in advance.
3. Try Focusing on a Point
- There may be instances where a person starts getting more anxious while focusing on breathing.
- In such a scenario, focusing on something else, like any point that one can see clearly, helps in lowering the stress levels.
4. Make Your Brain Work
- Just like focusing on an outside point helps, making the brain work on something else helps in reducing anxiety levels.
- This can include anything such as counting the alphabet backward or numbers backward by 3s.
- This small activity of the brain can interrupt the negative thoughts coming inside it.
5. Have Emergency Contacts
- Have some emergency contacts on your speed dial list.
- A simple call or text can be more than enough to get you out of the danger zone of a panic attack.
6. Engage in a Light Exercise
- Whenever one experiences any panic attack symptoms, the best way to make the blood plump the right way is by engaging in a light exercise.
- It can be swimming or even a walk as with this, endorphins are released that lower stress levels and improves the mood.
7. Visualize Happiness
- If one wants to get over a panic attack symptom, one needs to work the other way round. Symptoms cause anxiety, so one should do the opposite.
- Think of the things that make you feel happy; it can be anything like your favorite life moments, a smell, sound, texture, and more. Again, this puts your brain on another track.
8. Identify Safe Spaces
- If one is aware of his/her panic attack, it is recommended to identify safe spaces for the same in home and office.
- This can be a dressing room, favorite store area, restroom, etc. where one thinks he/she can peacefully deal with the symptoms.
9. Practice Mindfulness
- Using mindfulness, one can come back to reality from the anxiety/fear of imaginary things.
- For this, one must focus on the familiar physical sensations like feeling the jean’s texture with hands, digging a foot into the ground, etc.
10. Keep Lavender Handy
- Lavender essential oil is highly popular for being stress-relieving and soothing.
- It helps in making the body relax when applied on forearms, supported by a deep breath.
- So, one should keep it handy always if one knows about his/her panic attacks.
- So, these were the symptoms, causes, and preventions of a panic attack. We hope you must know what needs to be done by now if one experiences any of the symptoms mentioned above.
- Also, it is essential to educate yourself regarding the panic attacks as this also makes you mentally strong in fighting the symptoms and decreasing the chances of an attack.
- If you or someone close to you is experiencing panic attack symptoms and is unable to cope with the same, you must contact a top-rated and trusted primary care provider.
- If you are searching for one, consider contacting Central Valley Medical Providers/ MedPRO. In order to ensure quality patient service, please get in touch with our Customer Service Department at (877) 216-4215/local: 559.450.6334 for more information.
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