What Are the Causes and Triggers of a Panic Attack?

Disposition to panic attacks is often a result of causes operating over a long period of time. On the other hand the attacks themselves are triggered by certain short term factors. It is important for you to know about both in order to have a clear understanding of this disorder Dose Therapy.

Long Term Causes

• Heredity: Researchers have found that this disorder runs in families; so it seems to be genetically inherited. However, many people suffering from this disorder have had no family history.

• Upbringing: Doctors treating panic attack patients have found that most of them have had a faulty upbringing inculcating an over cautious world view. The resultant stress accumulating over time is a cause for developing this disorder.

• Biology: Many biological conditions have been found to be associated with these patients. For example – obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress, Wilson’s disease, disturbances in the inner ear canal and deficiency of vitamin B.

• Phobias: People suffering from phobias are likely to experience a panic attack when they get a sudden exposure to the phobic object or situation.

Short Term Causes

Emotional Situations like personal loss leading to acute grief, transitions or changes in life situations are often triggering factors of panic. Sometimes stimulants like caffeine or nicotine, or drugs like psilocybin too can be the triggers. Sometimes panic attacks are a listed side effect of some medicines like Ritalin. These are often temporary in nature. Withdrawal symptoms of many substances may also lead to such attacks. Alcohol and benzodiazepine are two most well known of these.

Perpetuating Causes

Some types of conscious behavior tend to preserve the tendency to suffer from panic attacks. For example, cautiously avoiding situations that lead to such attacks may in fact deepen the fear and perpetuate the tendency to panic. Similarly, anxious or negative self talk, like what if thinking, mistaken beliefs, like these symptoms are harmful, suppressed feelings and lack of assertiveness in personality, all increase the disposition to panic.

Situations Responsible

Many a time such attacks are situation-bound. Often the patient who suffers an attack in a particular situation starts associating the attack to that type of situation. He cautiously tries to avoid those situations and, as a result, develops cognitive or behavioral predisposition to experience panic attacks in those situations.

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