One of the keys to curing an illness is to find out the root of that illness. When it comes to mental illnesses, that can be a bit more complicated. The brain is a mysterious thing and there is still a lot we don’t know about it. So when it comes to panic and anxiety disorders, there is a lot of controversy over what actually causes these disorders. Some of the following has been suggested.
They’re hereditary – In families, if a parent has panic attacks or a panic disorder, their children might be more likely to have the same disorder. Whether it’s a physical condition causing the attacks or whether the child is learning a behavior from their family is unknown.
Massive life changes – Increases in anxiety can cause people to experience panic attacks. When the stress is prolonged, the person might start suffering from panic disorders as they are not able to handle the level of stress they are feeling, and instead, suffer from that stress all the time.
Medical conditions – Sometimes, a medical condition might be misdiagnosed as a panic disorder. Someone that has a mitral valve prolapsed, which is a condition in the heart that makes the valves close improperly, might experience symptoms similar to a panic attack. Hyperthyroidism, which involves an over active thyroid and hypoglycemia, low blood sugar, might also lead to symptoms similar to a panic disorder.
Traumatic events – Some people only suffer anxiety during certain times. When they experience this fear out of nowhere, it’s often considered a phobia, while experience fear due to trauma is usually considered a situational panic disorder.
For many people that deal with anxiety or panic attacks, eventually, they will be faced with the question ‘to medicate or not to medicate’. While this is a decision that should be left up to you and your doctor, there are some signs that it might be time to consider medications in controlling your attacks.
Panic attacks that start for no reason
Everyone has their own individual triggers. These triggers might include stress, being dehydrated, being in social situations, or personal problems. But when the attacks start coming for no reason, absent of any triggers at all, it might be time to talk to your doctor about using medication for these breakthrough attacks.
When your start having severe physical symptoms
There have been cases where people have gone to the hospital, thinking they were having a heart attack, and it turned out to be a panic attack. If the panic attacks are causing physical pain or problems to the point that you suffer chest pain or find yourself gasping for air, it might be time to see a doctor about them.
When you’re no longer able to live a normal life
People with panic attacks might start to participate in ‘avoidance behaviors’. The behaviors generally come about from someone trying to avoid triggers. For the most part, avoiding triggers is a good way to manage attacks. But when the avoiding of triggers starts to take over your daily life, it might be time to talk to your doctor about going on medication for these attacks.