Panic disorder is a serious condition experienced by some people in which they gain a feeling that they are about to encounter some tough challenges even without immediate proof. Panic attacks are episodes of overwhelming fear. Developing this condition starts by fearing certain circumstances like driving over a bridge or getting in an elevator.
It then progresses such that they fear attacks from many of their daily activities, making them to retreats from them. Furthermore, they often avoid certain places and situations where attacks have previously occurred, and they tend to stick to very specific routes and areas where they feel safe. Unfortunately, researchers have not identified the exact causes of panic attack, but many of them believe that the factors below may contribute to the condition.
Doctors use several theories to explain the causes of panic disorder with many associating them to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. It is possible to inherit this condition genetically as demonstrated by studies with twins. The condition can also result from brain abnormality.
Studies have shown individuals with panic disorder to record much more stimulation on the amygdala, a region of the brain that helps in the fight-or-flight response. Besides, people with unbalanced neurotransmitter systems are more likely to suffer from this disorder. Some of those with hormonal or chemical imbalance can also experience a panic attack.
Beside these biological factors, researchers have also theorized how environmental factor, as well as stress, may play a role. Individuals who previous shown no signs of panic disorder can develop a panic attack after experiencing a stressful life situation such as the death of someone close, birth, or divorce. Doctors know these episodes to cause chronic alteration to the brain, predisposing adults to anxiety disorders. However, most of those who suffer from this disorder cannot locate the particular event that triggered the condition.
A panic attack can last for at least seven minutes to a maximum of ten minutes. The following are some of the phrases that many people suffering from panic disorder use when describing the incidence:
- Racing or pounding heart
- Trouble breathing
- Shaking or trembling
- Worries about whether it can lead to a heart attack
- Fear of going insane or losing control
Some people also experience other physical signs include numbness, tingling in the hand or dizziness, or even other extremities such as feeling a cold chill or being hot, numb or tingly hands and stomach pain. The majority of people experience these episodes unexpectedly with only a few who can identify their triggers.