Head | – Others | Panic or Attack (Symptom)
Panic or Attack: Description
Panic attacks may be symptoms of an anxiety disorder. The peak age at which people have their first panic attack (onset) is 15-19 years. Another fact about panic is that this symptom is strikingly different from other types of anxiety. Panic attacks are sudden and unexpected, seemingly without cause, and often disabling. Once someone has had a panic attack, for example, driving, shopping in a crowded store, or riding in an elevator, he or she may develop irrational fears called phobias, about these situations. Like other serious illnesses, panic disorder can have a serious impact on the daily life of a person unless the individual receives effective treatment.
Panic or Attack: Causes
Although the exact causes of panic attacks and panic disorder are unclear, the tendency to have panic attacks runs in families. There also appears to be a connection with major life transitions such as graduating from college and entering the workplace, getting married, and having a baby. Severe stress, such as the death of a loved one, divorce, or job loss can also trigger a panic attack.
Panic attacks can also be caused by medical conditions and other physical causes such as: mitral valve prolapse, a minor cardiac problem that occurs when one of the heart’s valves doesn’t close correctly; hyperthyroidism; hypoglycemia; stimulant use (amphetamines, cocaine, caffeine); medication withdrawal.
Panic or Attack: Treatment and Diagnosis
Panic attacks and panic disorder are treatable conditions. They can usually be treated successfully with self-help strategies or a series of therapy sessions.