A panic attack is very common in people. A panic attack may be a one-time occurrence, although many people experience repeat episodes. Recurrent panic attacks are often triggered by a specific situation, such as crossing a bridge or speaking in public—especially if that situation has caused a panic attack before. Usually, the panic-inducing situation is one in which you feel endangered and unable to escape, triggering the body’s fight-or-flight response. Suddenly people startled by some harsh voice and people laughed after seeing the startling of the people. But this is not a joke it can be fatal as sudden panic attacks can be caused by rapid heart rate and heart attack.
According to a report;- “ In Europe, about 3% of the population has a panic attack in a given year while in the United States they affect about 11%”
Pannic attack is more common in the females more than males.
Children and older people are less commonly affected.
Although the data shown in the reports is very uncommon but it can be severe and fatal. That’s why I am going to discuss about panic attack, some responsible factors, it’s symptoms, complications, risk factors and in the end of this article I will discuss about some tips that can be effective to give relieve from the panic attack and some home remedies for panic attack.
What is panic attack
“A panic attack is an intense wave of fear characterized by its unexpectedness and debilitating, immobilizing intensity. Your heart pounds, you can’t breathe, and you may feel like you’re dying or going crazy. Panic attacks often strike out of the blue, without any warning, and sometimes with no clear trigger. They may even occur when you’re relaxed or asleep”
You may experience one or more panic attacks, yet be otherwise perfectly happy and healthy. Or your panic attacks may occur as part of another disorder, such as panic disorder, social phobia, or depression. Regardless of the cause, panic attacks are treatable.
There are strategies you use to reduce or eliminate the symptoms of panic, regain your confidence, and take back control of your life.
Typically, symptoms reach a peak within ten minutes of onset and last for roughly 30 minutes, but the duration can vary from seconds to hours.
Distressing, panic attacks themselves are not physically dangerous. Roughly one-third are treatment-resistant.
“ A panic attack can also be called an anxiety attack”
A panic attack can occur due to excessive secretion of “Adrenaline”.
When sudden harsh voice or other compatible conditions arise then adrenaline hormone secrets in an excessive amount that results in “fight or flight situation”.
The fight or flight response
When the body is faced with immediate danger, the brain orders the autonomic nervous system to activate the ‘flight-or-fight’ response. The body is flooded with a range of chemicals, including adrenaline, that trigger physiological changes. For example, heart rate and breathing are accelerated and blood is shifted to the muscles to prepare for physical combat or running away.
A panic attack is said to occur when the ‘flight-or-fight’ response is triggered but there is no danger about to happen. A person may experience the symptoms of a panic attack in harmless and apparently stress-free situations, such as watching television or while asleep.
Some of the factors that can prime the body to inappropriately activate the ‘flight-or-fight’ response include;-
- Chronic (ongoing) stress :- This causes the body to produce higher than usual levels of stress chemicals such as adrenaline.
- Acute stress (such as experiencing a traumatic event):- It can suddenly flood the body with large amounts of stress chemicals.
- Habitual hyperventilation :- It disturbs the balance of blood gases because there is not enough carbon dioxide in the blood.
- Intense physical exercise:- For some people, this may cause extreme reactions.
- Excessive caffeine intake :- The caffeine in coffee, tea and other beverages is a strong stimulant.
- Illness:- It may cause physical changes.
- A sudden change of environment:- Such as walking into an overcrowded, hot or stuffy environment.
Factors responsible for panic attack
Experts don’t know why some people experience panic attacks or develop panic disorder. The brain and nervous system play key roles in how you perceive and handle fear and anxiety. Your risk of having panic attacks increases if you have:-
- Family history:- Panic attack can be genetic. Anxiety disorders, including panic disorders, often run in families. Many researches conducted but experts and scientists could not know the exact cause of this factor.
- Mental health issues:- People who have anxiety disorders, depression or other mental illness are more prone to panic attacks.
- Substance abuse problems:- Alcoholism and drug addiction can increase the risk of panic attacks.
Symptoms of panic attack
Panic attacks occur suddenly and without warning. There’s no way to stop a panic attack after it starts. Symptoms usually peak within 10 minutes after an attack starts.
Panic attacks typically begin suddenly, without warning. They can strike at any time when you’re driving a car, at the mall, sound asleep or in the middle of a business meeting. Panic attacks have many variations, but symptoms usually peak within minutes. You may feel fatigued and worn out after a panic attack subsides.
You may have occasional panic attacks, or they may occur frequently. They disappear soon after.
Signs of a panic attack include:-
- Sense of impending doom or danger
- Fear of loss of control or death
- Rapid, pounding heart rate
- Trembling or shaking
- Shortness of breath or tightness in your throat
- Hot flashes
- Abdominal cramping
- Chest pain
- Dizziness, lightheadedness or faintness
- Numbness or tingling sensation
- Feeling of unreality or detachment
One of the worst things about panic attacks is the intense fear that you’ll have another one. You may fear having panic attacks so much that you avoid certain situations where they may occur.
Complication and risk factors
There are following complications and risk factors that can be arise when panic attack left to be untreated;-
Left untreated, panic attacks and panic disorder can affect almost every area of your life. You may be so afraid of having more panic attacks that you live in a constant state of fear, ruining your quality of life.
Complications that panic attacks may cause or be linked to include:-
- Development of specific phobias, such as fear of driving or leaving your home
- Frequent medical care for health concerns and other medical conditions
- Avoidance of social situations
- Problems at work or school
- Depression, anxiety disorders and other psychiatric disorders
- Increased risk of suicide or suicidal thoughts
- Alcohol or other substance misuse
- Financial problems
Symptoms of panic disorder often start in the late teens or early adulthood and affect more women than men.
Factors that may increase the risk of developing panic attacks or panic disorder include:-
- Family history of panic attacks or panic disorder
- Major life stress, such as the death or serious illness of a loved one
- A traumatic event, such as sexual assault or a serious accident
- Major changes in your life, such as a divorce or the addition of a baby
- Smoking or excessive caffeine intake
- History of childhood physical or sexual abuse.
Tips to prevent a panic attack
No matter how powerless or out of control you may feel about your panic attacks, it’s important to know that there are many things you can do to help yourself.
The following self-help techniques can make a big difference to helping you overcome panic:-
Get knowledge of panic attack:- Simply knowing more about panic can go a long way towards relieving your distress. Read up on anxiety, panic disorder, and the fight-or-flight response experienced during a panic attack. You’ll learn that the sensations and feelings you have when you panic are normal and that you aren’t going crazy.
Avoid sedative drugs and alcohol:- These can all provoke panic attacks in people who are susceptible. Alcohols and other oplates provoke the amygdala that is a part of brain and responsible for fear and excitement. Excessive fear and excitement can make the situation worse.
If you need help to kick the cigarette habit. Also, be careful with medications that contain stimulants, such as diet pills and non-drowsy cold medications.
Learn to control the breathing:- Hyperventilation brings on many sensations (such as lightheadedness and tightness of the chest) that occur during a panic attack. Deep breathing, on the other hand, can relieve the symptoms of panic. By learning to control your breathing, you can calm yourself down when you begin to feel anxious. And if you know how to control your breathing, you’re also less likely to create the very sensations that you’re afraid of.
Connect with closer ones:- Symptoms of anxiety can become worse when you feel isolated, so reach out to people who care about you on a regular basis. If you feel that you don’t have anyone to turn to, explore ways to meet new people and build supportive friendships.
Workout daily:- Exercise is a natural anxiety reliever so try to get moving for at least 30 minutes on most days (three 10-minute sessions is just as good). Rhythmic aerobic exercise that requires moving both your arms and legs.
Sound sleep is a main weapon against panic attack:- Insufficient or poor quality sleep can make anxiety worse, so try to get seven to nine hours of restful sleep a night. If sleeping well is a problem for you.
Home remedies for panic attack
There are not any specific home remedies for panic attack, however I am going to tell you about some home remedies that can be useful for you to reduce the severity of panic attack;-
Chamomile tea:- Chamomile’s compounds may help ease anxiety symptoms, according to a small study published in 2016 in the journal Phytomedicine.
Even better, the study explains that there weren’t any signs of side effects like weight gain, which can occur with some traditionally-prescribed anti-anxiety medications. Weight gain can occur with some anti-anxiety medications, although this doesn’t usually happen with most current medications.
Take omega-3 fatty acid rich food:- There is some evidence that omega-3 fatty acids are one of the natural remedies for anxiety. A systematic review and meta-analysis published in 2018 in the journal JAMA Network.
Canned fatty fish, such as tuna and salmon, walnuts, and flaxseeds are all great sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
If you are vegetarian then there are following food that can provide enough omega-3 fatty acid.
- Canola oil
- Flaxseed oil
- Wild rice
- Dairy products
Lavender oil:- Lavender oil is medically proven to reduce anxiety and other panic attacks.
Way to use Lavender oil:- Put few drops of lavender essential oil on your pillow or in your bath, or add a few drops to a cup of boiling water and inhale for quick, natural anxiety relief.
Epsom salt:- First, a hot bath is always calming. Second, adding some Epsom salts to the water may help boost your mood and act as natural anxiety relief.
These salts contain magnesium sulfate, which may have anxiety-fighting benefits.