Panic Attacks: What Causes Them?
This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart for more than one reason. First of all, my background is in nursing – psychiatric nursing. Additionally, I used to suffer from Panic Attacks.
Panic attacks can be very – VERY frightening. They seem to appear out of nowhere – at the strangest times and in the most inconvenient places! You experience feelings of impending doom – but you have no idea what sort of danger or tragedy you are fearing.
You may start feeling as though your heart is pounding rapidly – because it very well could be. Your breathing becomes difficult. You may simply feel that you are going to die – but you don't know why or how you just have this intense anxiety.
Of course there are many other symptoms that sufferers report but those are the ones that I dealt with on a regular basis. Reportedly the number one cause of panic attacks is anxiety – resulting in a fear of a real or imagined threat, situation, or event.
If you remember anything about the 'Fight or Flight Response' you probably know that when your body – when you – feel threatened a number of things begin happening inside your body to assist you with the threat. A message is sent from the brain to the nervous system.
The nervous system is actually broken into two sub-categories; the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. The latter is responsible for bringing the body back into the state of homeostasis – our normal state.
The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for the Fight or Flight response. So during a panic attack there are lots of things going on inside you. It's important for you to know that the parasympathetic nervous system will eventually kick-in, but you can sometimes learn to stimulate it with relaxation and self-talk. Either way, your body WILL return to normal…usually within 30 minutes or less.The good news is: People do not die from panic attacks. But – for those that suffer with panic attacks they can identify with at least some of the following:
- Fear of leaving the house in case of a panic attack
- Fear of getting stuck somewhere you can
- Making excuses why you cannot make it to a social engagement
- Putting off holiday plans or business travel
- Fear of business meetings or situations where you are asked to speak
- Fear of getting stuck in traffic
- Living in a very trapped existence