Risk Factors For Experiencing A Panic Attack
Although anyone may be affected by a panic attack, a range of factors may increase the likelihood for certain individuals. People who have a disorder that leads to elevated levels of anxiety are more likely to experience a panic attack. This includes:
- Generalized anxiety disorder . A form of chronic anxiety that is often unrelated to a particular cause.
- Obsessive compulsive disorder . In the case of OCD, a person experiences recurrent unwanted thoughts and compulsive behaviors. This can lead to panic attacks in some people, although, according to DSM-5 criteria, OCD is no longer listed as anxiety disorder.
- Post traumatic stress disorder . Although PTSD is a trauma and stressor-related disorder rather than an anxiety disorder, panic attacks may relate to anxiety from PTSD, that develops after first or second-hand exposure to a traumatic event.
- Social phobia. In people with social phobia, everyday situations regularly cause debilitating levels of anxiety.
Other mental health conditions, such as depression, can also cause the anxious kinds of thinking that may precipitate a panic attack.
Other factors, which increase oneâs likelihood of experiencing a panic attack, include:
Conditions which increase the likelihood of experiencing a panic attack include:
What Causes Panic Disorder
Panic disorder sometimes runs in families, but no one knows for sure why some family members have it while others dont. Researchers have found that several parts of the brain, as well as biological processes, play a key role in fear and anxiety. Some researchers think that people with panic disorder misinterpret harmless bodily sensations as threats. By learning more about how the brain and body functions in people with panic disorder, scientists may be able to create better treatments. Researchers are also looking for ways in which stress and environmental factors may play a role.
Signs And Symptoms Of Anxiety Disorders
In addition to the primary symptom of excessive and irrational fear and worry, other common emotional symptoms include:
- Feelings of apprehension or dread.
- Watching for signs of danger.
- Anticipating the worst.
- Feeling like your minds gone blank.
But anxiety is more than just a feeling. As a product of the bodys fight-or-flight response, it also involves a wide range of physical symptoms, including:
- Pounding heart.
- Shaking or trembling.
Because of these physical symptoms, anxiety sufferers often mistake their disorder for a medical illness. They may visit many doctors and make numerous trips to the hospital before their anxiety disorder is finally recognized.
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What Causes Anxiety Attacks
- Caregivers do not know for sure what causes anxiety attacks. Sometimes they are caused by being in a situation that you find upsetting. You may have them due to a stressful life event, such as getting divorced. You are more likely to have anxiety attacks if you also have another mental health problem. Other mental health problems include depression , or alcoholism . Anxiety attacks may happen for no reason. Anxiety attacks can happen to anyone, regardless of age or gender.
- Some health conditions or medicines may cause anxiety attack symptoms. Using or withdrawing from alcohol or illegal drugs may also cause symptoms. Some people have anxiety attacks that are triggered by the fear of having a future anxiety attack. You are more likely to have anxiety attacks if someone in your family also has them.
How Are Panic Attacks Managed Or Treated
Psychotherapy, medications or a combination are very effective at stopping panic attacks. How long youll need treatment depends on the severity of your problem and how well you respond to treatment. Options include:
- Psychotherapy:Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of psychotherapy, or talk therapy. You discuss your thoughts and emotions with a mental health professional, such as a licensed counselor or psychologist. This specialist helps identify panic attack triggers so you can change your thinking, behaviors and reactions. As you start to respond differently to triggers, the attacks decrease and ultimately stop.
- Antidepressants: Certain antidepressant medications can make panic attacks less frequent or less severe. Providers may prescribe serotonin selective reuptake inhibitors , serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors or tricyclic antidepressants . SSRIs include fluoxetine and paroxetine . SNRIs include duloxetine and venlafaxine . TCAs include amitriptyline and doxepin .
- Anti-anxiety medications: Benzodiazepines are the most commonly prescribed anti-anxiety medication to treat and prevent panic attacks. They help with anxiety but have risks of addiction or dependence. These medications include alprazolam and lorazepam .
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How Can I Learn More About Anxiety
These organizations offer information about and resources for anxiety disorders:
Anxiety Disorders Association of America
This nonprofit organization is dedicated to advocacy and education about anxiety disorders. This link will take you to its website:
American Psychological Association
American Psychiatric Association
Learn more about childrenâs anxiety disorders and other mental health problems. Get help in finding a psychiatrist. This link will take you to the website:
National Alliance on Mental Illness
Learn more about panic disorder, phobias, and treatment that helps. This link will take you to the website:
How Are Panic Attacks And Agoraphobia Related
Agoraphobia is fear or anxiety of being in a situation where you feel you cannot escape or that help might not be available if you need it, says Simon A. Rego, PsyD, chief psychologist at Montefiore Health System in New York City. When people with panic disorder worry about experiencing another panic attack and not being able to escape or get help, it can lead to agoraphobia, he says. Most but not all people with panic disorder have agoraphobia.
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How To End An Anxiety Or Panic Attack
An anxiety attack can be terrifying, but it wont kill you. If you want to overcome it, take a deep breath and know it will end soon.
“Anxiety” is a general term that describes a variety of experiences, including nervousness, fear, apprehension, and worry, that are common in several mental health disorders. While most of us have anxiety at some time, this is completely different from an anxiety attack or anxiety disorder. Normal feelings of nervousness, worry, and fear often have a known trigger . But when you’re having a full blown panic attack or anxiety attack, the symptoms chest pain, flushing skin, racing heart, and difficulty breathing can make you feel as though you’re going to faint, lose your mind, or die. The reality is, you wont. The key to surviving is to learn all you can about anxiety attacks and practice the skills you need to get through them.
According to the Mayo Clinic, signs of an anxiety attack include:
- Abdominal cramping
- Fear of loss of control or death
- Feeling of unreality or detachment
- Shortness of breath or tightness in your throat
- Trembling or shaking
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America offers practical strategies in how to deal with stress and anxiety attacks, including:
- Accept that you cannot control everything.
- Do your best.
- Maintain a positive attitude.
- Learn what triggers your anxiety.
Here’s how to stop an anxiety attack and recover.
What Causes Anxiety Disorders
We dont fully understand what causes anxiety disorders. But it is thought that the following factors can cause anxiety.
Genetics. Some people seem to be born more anxious than others. You may get anxiety through your genes.
Life experience. This could be bad experiences such as being abused or losing a loved one. It could also include big changes in life such as moving home, losing your job or pregnancy.
Drugs. Caffeine in coffee and alcohol can make you feel anxious. Illegal drugs, also known as street drugs can also have an effect.
Circumstances. Sometimes you know what is causing your anxiety. When the problem goes, so does your anxiety.
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Questions To Ask Your Doctor
Asking questions and providing information to your doctor or health care provider can improve your care. Talking with your doctor builds trust and leads to better results, quality, safety, and satisfaction. Visit the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality website for tips at .
Is It Panic Disorder
If you feel constantly stressed and anxious, particularly about when your next panic attack may be, you may have panic disorder.
People with panic disorder may avoid situations that might cause a panic attack. They may also fear and avoid public spaces .
“There’s no quick fix, but if your attacks are happening time after time, seek medical help,” says Professor Salkovskis.
Read more about panic attacks, including personal stories, at See Me Scotland.
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How To Stop An Anxiety Attack
People have this powerful idea to make the anxiety attack stop, Carbonell says, but you cant make it stop through force of will. However, if you look back at your history, you’ll see that every anxiety attack does indeed stop, even if it feels awful for a while.
Your best first step stopping an anxiety attack is to simply notice your symptoms and accept that you’re having an attack. This can be challenging if it’s one of your first anxiety attacks, but after that you’ll know more about what to expect.
Can Anxiety Lead To Panic
A person who has panic disorder may experience anxiety that they are going to have a panic attack. The uncertainty about if or when an attack is going to happen can lead to anxiety between attacks.
For a person with panic disorder, anxiety may trigger a panic attack. The fear of having a panic attack can affect the persons behavior and ability to function in daily life.
The APA suggest there may be a biological factor underlying panic disorder, but scientists have not yet identified a specific marker.
- tightness in the throat and difficulty breathing
- trembling or shaking
- feeling faint
Not every case of anxiety will include all these symptoms. Anxiety can be mild, moderate, or severe, depending on the trigger and how the person reacts to it.
Faced with an examination, for example, some people might feel mildly apprehensive, while others may experience all the above symptoms.
Usually, when the hazard or perceived danger passes, symptoms go away.
Anxiety often results from stress or feeling overwhelmed.
Common causes of anxiety include:
- work pressure
- the use of some medications
- a recent or past traumatic experience
Triggers of anxiety could include:
- public speaking
- exposure to a phobia trigger
- a fear of having a panic attack
Sometimes, anxiety can also stem from a psychological disorder.
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What Should I Ask My Doctor
If you have anxiety or were recently diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, consider asking your doctor these questions at your next visit.
Diagnoses Related To Panic Attack
For some individuals, experiencing a panic attack may be an indication that they have an ongoing mental health condition.
According to the DSM-5 Manual, the principal conditions which may be diagnosed after experiencing a panic attack, include:
Recurrent panic attacks that are not related to another condition will be diagnosed as panic disorder, which is treatable with psychotherapy and/or anxiolytic medications.
To be diagnosed with panic disorder, an individual must have experienced frequent, full-symptom panic attacks, which are not caused by a concurrent health condition or chemically induced. The extent to which oneâs panic attacks impact oneâs daily life between episodes will also be considered â most people with panic disorder present with debilitating anxiety about the possibility of future panic attacks.
People with panic disorder are likely to experience panic attacks in situations which replicate or resemble the circumstances of a previous panic attack, such as being in a crowd or before public speaking. This can have a negative impact on a personâs day-to-day routine, as many people choose to avoid situations which may provoke a panic attack, thereby experiencing a diminished quality of life.
Panic disorder usually occurs concurrently with other anxiety disorders.It is fairly rare for panic disorder to occur on its own. Conditions which most commonly co-occur with panic disorder include:
- Other anxiety disorders, in particular agoraphobia
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What Is A Panic Attack
Panic attacks come on suddenly and involve intense and often overwhelming fear. Theyre accompanied by very challenging physical symptoms, such as a racing heartbeat, shortness of breath, or nausea.
The latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders recognizes panic attacks and categorizes them as unexpected or expected.
Unexpected panic attacks occur without an obvious cause. Expected panic attacks are cued by external stressors, such as phobias.
Panic attacks can happen to anyone, but having more than one may be a sign of panic disorder.
Symptoms of anxiety include:
Anxiety is usually related to the anticipation of a stressful situation, experience, or event. It may come on gradually.
The lack of diagnostic recognition of anxiety attacks means that the signs and symptoms are open to interpretation.
That is, a person may describe having an anxiety attack and have symptoms that another person has never experienced despite indicating that they too have had an anxiety attack.
Read on to find out more about the differences between panic attacks and anxiety.
Panic and anxiety attacks may feel similar, and they share a lot of emotional and physical symptoms.
You can experience both an anxiety and a panic attack at the same time.
It may be difficult to know whether what youre experiencing is anxiety or a panic attack. Keep in mind the following:
- a stressful job
- anxiety symptoms
- panic attacks
- panic disorders
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Panic Disorder
People with panic disorder may have:
- Sudden and repeated panic attacks of overwhelming anxiety and fear
- A feeling of being out of control, or a fear of death or impending doom during a panic attack
- Physical symptoms during a panic attack, such as a pounding or racing heart, sweating, chills, trembling, breathing problems, weakness or dizziness, tingly or numb hands, chest pain, stomach pain, and nausea
- An intense worry about when the next panic attack will happen
- A fear or avoidance of places where panic attacks have occurred in the past
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