The main causes of panic attacks are still not fully understood, but based on research and studies there are various factors that are believed to cause the attacks. Those who experience panic attacks tend to have family members who have them too. Often times, a panic disorder develops out of a more serious condition such as depression or alcoholism. The disorder is also twice as likely to develop in women than in men. The disorder affects about 2.4 million adults in America and most often begins at early adulthood.
A List of Possible Causes
The reasons behind why do panic attacks happen can be from one or more factors in the same time. Here is a list of the most common possibilities that can trigger an attack:
- Genetics; panic attacks can be inherited and run in the family
- Major life changes and events, such as getting married, or starting a new career
- Extreme stress caused by an unforgettable event, such as the death of a loved one or being fired from work
- Abnormality in the brain; physiological imbalances in parts of the brain
- Drug overdose and alcoholism has been contributed to panic attacks
- Some medical conditions such as Hypoglycemia and Hyperthyroidism
- Some medications such as steroids and asthma medications
- Withdrawing from certain medications can also have an adverse effect that can lead to a panic attack
- Nutritional deficiencies like zinc or magnesium may also be a risk factor for developing panic disorder.
Do I have a Panic Attack or Panic Disorder?
A panic attack and panic disorder are not the same. Those experiencing repeated panic attacks and meet other symptomatic criteria may be diagnosed with a panic disorder, which is considered as a separate condition and can lead to other health risks such as a heart-valve abnormality called mitral valve prolapse (MVP). Panic attacks occur once or twice or sometimes once every long intervals, whilst a panic disorder occurs frequently along with more severe philological symptoms and ongoing anxiety.
Most patients in emergency rooms who experience an attack for the first time undergo a series of tests and medical examinations to rule out potential heart illnesses because the panic attack symptoms are very similar to a heart attack and other life threatening medical illnesses. Panic attacks are also very similar to anxiety attacks symptoms which tend to be more intense and associated with extreme worry.
So Why Do I Get Panic Attacks in the First Place?
Your first ever panic experience was most likely triggered by a few factors that added-up leading to the attack. Although any of the possible causes listed above can be determinant risk factors, many experts agree that panic attacks are a result of an overall combination of various factors, including biological vulnerabilities, mental thoughts, and environmental interactions that all cause stress and fear buildup. In the same time, the causes can also be better determined by a probability factor, for example, if your family has a history of panic attacks, then the probability that your attacks are caused through inheritance is probably the main reason, and thereafter something that happened in your life most likely triggered the first attack.
Are Panic Disorders Treatable?
Panic attacks are treatable and can be permanently stopped when given the right kind of help and guidance. Regardless what causes panic attack symptoms, there are certain foods to avoid that actually contribute to the panicking and worsening of anxiety disorders. There are also specific relaxation techniques that help stop panic attacks immediately as well as foods and natural remedies that help relieve anxiety symptoms. You can find this information on our free help guide on natural treatments for panic disorder.