Panic attacks can strike anyone at any time but the true cause of panic attacks is often mysterious. The symptoms of a panic attack are similar to what one might experience in any stressful situation. Sometimes symptoms can be so extreme as to make victims believe that they are experiencing a much more severe situation, such as a heart attack.
The Symptoms of a Panic Attack
Just as the the cause of panic attacks may not always be clear, the symptoms associated with it may be difficult to associate with simple panic and may lead sufferers to repeatedly call for emergency medical attention. Some of the symptoms associated with panic attacks are:
Faintness or dizziness
Racing heart or palpitations
Chest or throat discomfort or tightness
Numbness or detached feeling
Sudden feelings of hot or cold
Shortness of breath
Unreasonable or extreme feelings of fear
Feelings of fear that do not appear to have a specific cause
Avoiding situations because of fear of having a panic attack
Experiencing worry about having a panic attack
The Cause of Panic Attacks Related To Medical Conditions
Because of the the similarities of some panic attack symptoms to more serious medical conditions, sufferers need to rule out more severe possibilities as the cause of panic attacks. Whether or not a more serious medical condition is believed to be the underlying cause of panic attacks, consulting a medical professional will help victims determine if their health is at risk from any of these other medical issues.
Withdrawal from medication
Mitral valve prolapse
The Cause of Panic Attacks Related To Non-Medical Conditions
Other than the medical possibilities listed above, a distinct cause of panic attacks can be difficult to determine. Anxiety from any number of life conditions can be a cause of panic attacks. Stress-causing life transitions such as the ones listed below have all been identified as potential triggers for a panic attack.
Death of a loved one
Cause Of Panic Attacks
The propensity to experience panic attacks also appears to run in families and may be hereditary. Panic attacks can be related to normal anxiety or may be experienced in conjunction with phobias such as claustrophobia (fear of enclosed spaces) or agoraphobia (fear of open spaces or the public).
Coping With Panic Attacks
No matter what the cause of panic attacks, there are a variety of methods to help panic attack sufferers cope with their symptoms. The symptoms or cause of panic attacks may be alleviated over time, but learning to deal with them when they occur can go a long way towards becoming more comfortable in a panic situation. Common treatments for panic attacks or alternatively treating the trigger believed to be the cause of panic attacks can take the form of medications or behavioral modification.
Anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs are the most commonly prescribed medications to treat patients suffering from panic attacks. Behavioral modification may include exposure therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, relaxation techniques, breathing control and avoidance of chemicals such as nicotine or caffeine. Drugs may also be used treat the root cause of panic attacks over time.