What Causes Panic Attacks and How Can We Prevent Them?
by Ashley Dreiling
Studies indicate that one-third of the population will experience at least one panic attack in their lifetime. The symptoms of a panic attack – racing heart, heaving breathing or hyperventilation, feeling light-headed, and numbness of the hands or feet – can make a person feel like they are having a serious health incident such as a heart attack or stroke. But while panic attacks have no lasting physical effects, the experience itself can cause significant mental distress and potentially a mood disorder.
Currently, there are two main treatments for panic attacks – antidepressant medication and/or cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). There are pros and cons to both. CBT focuses on learning exactly what happens in the brain and body during an attack in order to correct untrue thoughts, breathing techniques, and changing beliefs. The primary goal of both treatments remains the same – to prevent and de-escalate panic attacks before the person potentially develops a panic disorder and improve quality of life.
Tags: · acetylcholine, adrenaline, amygdala, antidepressants, CBT, cognitive behavioral therapy, FDR, fear, Franklin Roosevelt, generalized anxiety disorder, mood disorders, OCD, panic attack, panic attacks, panic disorder, panic disorders, parasympathetic nervous system, PTSD, social anxiety disorder, sympathetic nervous system