causes panic attacks? Anyone who has suffered
with these debilitating attacks has probably wondered what
was at the root of the problem. Unfortunately, many people
simply assume that the problem is within them -- that it is
some type of genetic predisposition, or character flaw that
they are unable to change.
most sufferers of panic attacks CAN learn to overcome them.
And in the vast majority of cases, the attacks have nothing
to do with genetics, or any kind of physical abnormality.
More often than not, panic attacks represent an emotional
imbalance -- not an illness or "condition."
community has traditionally tried to treat panic attacks as
if they were any other disease or physical problem. However,
more and more doctors are recognizing that panic and anxiety
are predominantly an emotional phenomenon, not a medically
treatable illness. This is in fact good news, because until
recently many practitioners tried to simply "throw pills
at the problem." As a result, many individuals wound
up over-medicated, suffering with sometimes severe side effects,
and STILL unable to shake their recurring panic attacks.
panic attacks have been seen as having one of three distinct
causes. The first and most common cause is phobias. Individuals
with a phobia of heights, for example, will often have panic
attacks when they are put into a situation such as visiting
a high floor in an office building, or flying.
there are nearly as many different types of phobias as there
are people, so there are countless variations of panic attacks
which can be caused this way.
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cause of panic attacks is heredity -- but this is very controversial
these days. While there is some evidence that having a family
member who suffers from panic attacks also puts you at risk
of the attacks, the correlation is not very clear. A great
deal of research needs to be done before science can say with
any certainty whether panic attacks "can" because
of the sufferer's heredity.
days, most experts agree that heredity "may" more
likely to suffer panic attacks and others -- but that is not
mean they will simply have the attacks and there's nothing
they can do about it. Cognitive behavioral therapy and self-help
methods have proven effective for many people in controlling
and eliminating the attacks. So genetics may play some role,
but is certainly not the be-all and end-all of panic attacks.
cause of panic attacks is biological. Is less common, but
still possible for medical conditions such as hypoglycemia
and certain types of thyroid problems to cause panic attacks.
Conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder have also
been known to produce panic attacks, as can severe obsessive-compulsive
of people who suffer with panic attacks, however, have no
biological cause. Of course, is always wise to be thoroughly
checked out by one's doctor, just to rule out the possibility
of a physical illness that could be contributing to or causing
the attacks. But once your doctor has given you the "all
clear," then what?
causes have been ruled out, psychological causes for the attacks
should be explored. A qualified therapist or psychiatrist
can help determine the most effective strategy to treat the
problem, but there are also self-help techniques that have
proved invaluable to many sufferers of panic attacks. For
example, a wide variety of relaxation and guided meditation
exercises have been proven effective in reducing anxiety and
panic attacks, and even lowering cortisol levels within the
body (the fight or flight chemical which contributes to anxiety
and panic attacks).
changes have also proven effective for many sufferers. Often
the panic attacks themselves are nothing more than symptoms
of an unresolved emotional issue, combined with poor "thinking
habits." Lack of exercise and a poor diet can also contribute
greatly to panic attacks, as can the hydration and certain
food allergies. Dairy allergies are one common (and often
undiagnosed) contributor to anxiety and panic attacks.
a high fiber diet, and eliminating dairy products can sometimes
have dramatic results.Remember,
our emotions are closely related to our physical health. Proper
rest and exercise, along with a healthy diet can go a long
way toward eliminating the root causes of panic attacks.
it may seem tempting to try to medicate the problem, in the
long run, simply adopting a healthier lifestyle reaps greater
benefits for many people who suffer with panic attacks, than
using anti-anxiety medications.
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