What causes panic attacks? This is one of the most common questions asked by those who suffer from panic attack or anxiety disorder. To answer the question let's briefly talk about how the human body reacts in times of stress. Don't worry, we won't get too technical :)
Most likely you've heard the term "fight or flight response" which is a defense mechanism built into the human body when faced with some sort of danger so that we an survive. In ancient times when humans used to face wild animals on a daily basis, this type of response would be advantageous. They would either fight the animal or run away from it. At that moment the human being would feel his heart beat faster, his muscles tensing, he would probably also sweat and breathe faster. These are the effects of adrenaline, a substance released by the adrenal gland which sits on top of the kidneys. These glands are stimulated by the brain in response to threatening situations. In today's world the fight or flight response is still beneficial to us in certain situations where we need to respond immediately.
In the case of panic attacks, the adrenal glands don't switch off as easily as they're switched on. Because of the prolonged actions of adrenaline, the body exhibits certain symptoms like heart palpitation, chest pain, difficulty breathing, hyperventilation, and choking sensation just to mention a few. In turn, these symptoms of panic attack cause the sufferer to feel frightful, causing even more adrenaline to be produced, enhancing the symptoms even more. This is the physiological cause of panic attacks.
In addition, once you have experienced a panic attack you would feel overwhelmed and you fear having another panic episode. This increases the level of your anxiety and hence, the likelihood of having another panic attack. Actually the biggest cause of panic attack is the fear of having another attack. One thing you need to know though, is that although panic attacks cause frightening symptoms, they do not harm you physically. Knowing this should put you somewhat at ease, and is the first step in controlling panic attacks.
Click here to learn more about controlling panic attacks including free expert advice.