Panic disorders and anxiety disorders are mental illnesses that can cause panic attacks. These attacks can be triggered by sudden and intense fear, even when there is no apparent danger. Panic attacks are more common than you might think, with up to 11 percent of Americans experiencing them every year.
Around 2 to 3 percent of people who experience panic attacks develop a panic disorder. Women are twice as likely to develop a panic disorder than men. Panic attacks can occur at any age, but they usually first occur during the teenage or early adult years.
What is a Panic Attack?
A panic attack is a sudden occurrence of intense anxiety or fear and physical symptoms. These attacks can be based on a perceived threat rather than an imminent danger. Symptoms can include chest pain, sweating, difficulty breathing, and a racing heart. Panic attacks can happen anywhere and anytime without warning.
Causes of Panic Attacks
Mental health issues, family history, and substance abuse problems can all increase the risk of experiencing a panic attack.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
Symptoms of a panic attack include chest pain, fear of losing control, and tingling or numbness in fingers or toes. Panic attacks can be diagnosed by analyzing risk factors and symptoms. Severe health problems such as respiratory, heart, and thyroid disease can lead to symptoms similar to panic attacks.
Precautions and Treatment
Precautions for panic attacks include regular exercise, cutting back on caffeine, managing stress, and eating a healthy diet. Treatment options include psychotherapy, anti-anxiety medications, and antidepressant drugs. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a type of psychotherapy that can help identify panic attack triggers and change reactions and behaviors accordingly. Benzodiazepine drugs are commonly prescribed for panic attacks but have risks of dependence or addiction. Antidepressant medicines can make panic attacks less severe or less frequent.
Panic attacks can be managed and treated with various methods, including home remedies, psychotherapy, and medication. If you experience panic attacks, it’s essential to seek help from a mental healthcare provider to identify triggers and develop a treatment plan.