Secret #4: Panic attacks. why me?
Panic Attacks. Why ME?
Your mind holds many secrets. And foremost among those secrets that it doesn’t seem it wants to reveal — at least very easily — is its fundamental workings. How does the human mind function? If the medical community actually knew what happened during a panic attack, then research could begin to help change whatever chain of events leads you down that very slick slippery slope to one. Let’s see how your brain in general works, that will give you better perspective and understanding of this magnificent thing ” The Brain”.
So the precise cause or causes of a panic attack remain pretty much a mystery to even the brightest minds of the medical and research communities. But that doesn’t mean theories as to the cause of this disorder haven’t been offered up. Because they have.
One theory is that one event — a major “stressor” may occur in your life, which kicks in and triggers your first episode. Or, in some cases, physicians have noted it may be a series of stressors that trigger the disorder within you. And certainly, we’re talking stress as in the death of a family member.
Other traumatic stressors that could kick off your first panic attack include being involved in an accident, either witnessing or being the victim of a violent crime, experiencing a major illness or even undergoing some type of childhood trauma or abuse.
Or other experts claim being in the midst of a natural disaster of gigantic proportions may also trigger your first episode.
Normally, we consider stress to be something “bad” happening to us. But stress — medically speaking — is not only about bad things happening to us. Stress can just as easily take the form of a joyous or pleasant event.
Few people, for example, would consider getting married a “bad” thing (No, I don’t want to hear one comment from people who have been married and divorced several times over.) Yet the actual planning for the wedding (as well as the day itself) can be incredibly stressful.
Having a baby is a stressor – in several ways, in fact. Nobody denies the supremely joyous aspect of having a baby. But even that job places a physical stress on your system if you’re the woman who is expecting. And along with this joyous event, you are also experiencing additional financial pressure. The stresses multiply.
Even though landing that new job is an answer to your prayers, the anticipation and actual starting off it is anxiety-filled.
Secret #5: the physical cause of panic attacks
Physical cause of panic attacks
We’ve talked about basic psychological causes of the panic attack. But there is the school of thought that a panic attack’s root cause is purely physical. One of these theories suspects that a panic attack originates when an alarm is falsely activated in the locus coeruleus of the brain.
This is the area where the majority of adrenergic — or adrenaline-like — neurons reside. These axons, which are just a part of the nerve cell conducting nerve impulses away from the cell body, are connected to other areas of the brain as well as the thalamus and the hypothalamus.
You’re basically experiencing a noradrenergic overload when this false alarm goes off. Your body is flooded with adrenaline, which is actually the substance that creates the panic attacks symptom of “fight or flight” response.
This response was essential to early human beings, whose very lives depended on listening to this system — and then using the hormones and other substances it pumped through the bloodstream for energy to either fight the aggressor (or stressor) or run for the hills (or caves!)
Now imagine that alarm system malfunctioning — for no apparent reason. That’s the panic attack. Your system mistakenly thought it saw something that could potentially cause you harm.
In this explanation, the panic attack is clearly caused by chemical imbalances in the nervous system. That’s why many physicians prescribe a variety of medications, including antidepressants. In about half of these instances, statistics show the use of antidepressants for a year actually lead to a panic attack-free life.
Secret #6: ARE YOU AT RISK FOR A PANIC ATTACK?
What puts you at risk for panic attacks?
Interestingly, you’re more likely to develop panic attack if someone in your family has already experienced them. If your mother or father has had this disorder then you have four to seven times a greater chance than the rest of the population.
This statistic doesn’t mean that if your parents didn’t have panic attacks, you’ll never experience one. On the flip side of the statistic, I just presented is another curious one.
As many as 50 to 75 percents of those who do experience this disorder do not have a parent afflicted with it. And the truth of the matter is, these are just statistics. The scientific community has yet to identify a “panic attack gene” or a group of genes that can increase your odds of getting this disorder.
Many individuals believe that drinking coffee or using other types of stimulants provide the catalyst that set off a panic attack. And for some individuals, this is absolutely true.
Coffee — as well as other stimulants — actually activates the central nervous system pathways responsible for panic attacks. Many doctors with patients just beginning a treatment for this disorder highly recommend that you refrain from all caffeinated beverages or other stimulants.
They think this is necessary at least at the start of treatment. Once the therapy has been under way so that some type of progress can be seen, he may allow you to return to ingesting some caffeine. Now for some of you, life without coffee actually throws you into a panic attack. It’s surprising to learn how many of us are actually dependent, if not addicted to, caffeine.
So what good is knowing these risk factors if you can’t do anything about them? First, at least knowing them puts you on high alert. If you realize you may be at increased risk you may be able to practice some basic steps in “defusing your anxiety.”
But above and beyond that, sometimes it’s comforting to know that you “didn’t do anything wrong”. Sometimes, panic attacks just happen! And they happen to the best of us.
Secret #7: What is a SSRI, anyway?
What is a SSRI, Anyway?
If the goal of conventional medical treatment is to eliminate the symptoms of a panic attack, then the treatments offered by this branch of medicine succeed. Most individuals who use the dual tools of prescription medications and psychotherapy are able to walk into their former lives and live like everyone else.
Medications are especially helpful at reducing the symptoms of panic attack disorder as well as any accompanying depression you may be suffering from. Doctors have five different classes of medications available to them in order to treat you effectively. The first of these is known as a SSRI. These initials stand for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor.
Usually the first choice of treatment, the SSRI is a type of antidepressant. And it’s usually the treatment of choice because it contains the fewest possible side effects while performing the greatest amount of good.
Medications classified as SSRIs include:
- Citalopram (Celexa)
- Escitalopram (Lexapro)
- Fluoxetine (Prozac, Prozac Weekly)
- Paroxetine (Paxil, Paxil CR)
- Sertraline (Zoloft)
This class of drugs though — like any other medication — is not risk-free. It comes with a series of possible accompanying problems. For some people, the side effect of a SSRI may develop a series of (or just one) physical symptoms. People using this type of medication have complained of insomnia, headaches, joint and muscle pain, rashes, stomach problems, diarrhea, and nausea.
For many people, these problems are fairly mild. For other people these conditions are fleeting. They appear temporarily and then disappear. You always can try alternative Supplements to alleviate the Anxiety, my Family and myself did and works.