4 Triggers of Panic Attacks and How to Defeat Them - Life Extension Blog

Jackie Edwards

Panic attacks are described by the Mayo Clinic as feeling a sense of intense fear or impending doom, triggering a strong physical response when there is no real danger or a cause that is apparent to an observer. For those who regularly experience panic attacks, they can be exhausting, frightening, and may make you feel like you're losing control.

Even though they are distinct, and with different modes of action, panic attacks typically stem from anxiety. They are a vicious response to intense stress. If these panic attacks are consistently unexpected and are characterized by long periods of crippling fear, then you may be experiencing a chronic disorder.

Understanding the Symptoms of a Panic Attack

Panic attacks occur suddenly, striking at almost any time. Even though most people have preset triggers, it requires careful introspection or the help of a therapist to identify them. Physical manifestations also occur, like heart palpitations or feeling like you are experiencing a heart attack. Sweaty palms, hot flashes, waves of nausea, and dizzying headaches also tend to be baseline symptoms.

4 Common Triggers to a Panic Attack

  • Undiagnosed heart problems. Heart palpitations and a feeling of an actual heart attack aren't just your imagination. About a third of people who have experienced a heart attack or heart surgery encounter symptoms similar to someone going through a panic attack. Women are particularly at risk.
  • Alcohol and drug consumption can trigger a panic attack. Research has shown that sufferers try to self-medicate with the help of alcohol or drugs, sometimes being used together in a dangerous bid to control anxiety. Unfortunately, narcotic use can contribute to the frequency of panic attacks and lead to further complications.
  • Stimulants. Being over-caffeinated can have an adverse impact for those who are at risk for anxiety disorders. The jittery effect from being over-caffeinated shares similarities with a panic attack — a shortness of breath, a vicious cycle of the fight or flight response, and anxiety can bring about a panic attack. Switch to decaffeinated coffee, which typically has less than 15 milligrams of caffeine, compared to an eight ounce cup of coffee that can have almost 100 milligrams.
  • Prescription drugs. Inform your doctor that you may be experiencing anxiety or panic attacks. Certain medications can inadvertently contribute to feelings of despair. Be cognizant of drugs that utilize a thyroid medicine, or medication used to manage asthmatic problems.
Being informed of the signs associated with a panic attack will allow you to control your anxiety. Active mindfulness and breathing exercises can help with panic attacks. Therapy, medication, and proper nutrition can help you manage your response to potential triggers.

About Jackie Edwards: After taking a career sabbatical to become a mother, Jackie now writes full time on topics ranging from health and wellness, right through to news and current affairs. She has in the past battled problems with anxiety and panic, and in her spare time she volunteers for a number of local charities that support people with mental health issues.


Post a Comment

All Contents Copyright © 1995-2016 Life Extension® All rights reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Use
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. You should not use the information on this site for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem or for prescription of any medication or other treatment. You should consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem. You should not stop taking any medication without first consulting your physician.