It’s estimated that more than 1 in 10 people in America – including in Dayton – suffer from panic attacks each year. Panic attacks affect people all over the world. They’re most commonly associated with mental health conditions such as generalized anxiety disorder. Women are affected about twice as much as men.
Let’s take a closer look at what exactly panic attacks are and why you might be experiencing them.
What is a Panic Attack?
It can be different for each person who experiences it, but generally, there are some common characteristics. Physical symptoms such as shortness of breath, an increase in heart rate, and sweating are the most common.
Panic attacks may occur randomly without any clear trigger. Some people suffer from a panic disorder, and episodes are likely to occur several times throughout the year. Others may suffer from anxiety and experience panic attacks on occasions.
Some people who experience panic attacks may feel like they are going to have a heart attack or even die. However, this is very rarely the case, and the symptoms will often pass after a few minutes. They can be traumatic experiences. Not knowing when the next one may come can be stressful and tiring.
What Causes Panic Attacks?
Here are some of the most common reasons:
- Traumatic life events: Trauma could include the loss of a loved one, a freak accident, or sustained abuse or trauma. This is especially true during childhood.
- Substance abuse: Substances such as alcohol or drugs may also cause panic attacks. Consuming too much of these substances could lead to developing an addiction. This, in turn, can increase the risk of having regular episodes.
- Excessive caffeine: People who consume too much caffeine may experience attacks more frequently. Consider reducing coffee and other caffeinated drinks.
- Panic disorders: Those who suffer from panic disorders may experience panic attacks with no specific reason or trigger behind them. These can be difficult circumstances to go through, and it’s important to get the support you need in these situations.
What Might Help Alleviate Panic Attacks?
In some cases, it may be difficult. However, many people are willing to consider lifestyle changes and other potential solutions which may reduce the frequency or severity of attacks.
Regular exercise, including relaxing exercises such as yoga, can be a critical part of keeping stress-related symptoms to a minimum. Limiting sugar, caffeine, and foods that are high in salt can also help to reduce the impact of panic episodes.
Alcohol, smoking, and drugs can not only lead to addiction but can worsen the symptoms of panic attacks. Avoiding or limiting these substances can help to improve panic disorders and other related conditions.
Getting the Help You Need
It’s important to identify what type of help you need and where you can find it. In Dayton and around the country, you can find support for addiction and mental health challenges by visiting Mission Addiction. Our MAP For Healing & Recovery program series, weekly support group, and/or coaching and mentoring service can help you work through all relevant issues and make a lasting difference.
Copyright © 2022, Edward Livesay, Mission Addiction