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How often do Panic Attacks Occur

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By: David Smith

Panic attacks is a recognized serious health problem in the United States regardless of its usual non-life threatening episodes. Typically an attack strikes during the young adulthood years; roughly half of all individuals who have a diagnosis of panic disorder develop the condition before age of 24.

Some sources claim that the majority of young people affected for the first time are between the ages of 25 and 30. Women are also more prone to develop a panic attack disorder than men.

Panic disorder attacks can continue for months or years. Depending on how and when treatment is sought, it could progress unless rapid attention is sought to target its main cause. If left untreated, it may worsen to the point where the individuals life is seriously affected by an attack.

Any attempts to avoid or conceal them may lessen its severity as well. But many people who have had problems with friends and family or lost jobs while struggling to cope with panic disorder are usually left with a severe depression that does not go away unless there is actual treatment of the condition. For people who seek active treatment early in the incidence of a panic attack, the majority of its symptoms can disappear within a few weeks, with no permanent negative effects once treatment is completed.

People who experienced a panic attack in certain situations, for example, while driving, or shopping in a crowded store may develop irrational fears called phobias. Understandably they tend to avoid these situations and begin to feel comfortable without its presence. For some, the occurrence becomes less pronounced as the exposure to a stressor is minimized.

Eventually, the pattern of avoidance and level of anxiety though may also trigger another attack as the individual reaches a point when a panic disorder attack occurs with just a step outside the house. This is one of the most harmful side-effects of panic disorder as it can prevent sufferers from seeking treatment in the first place.

Panic disorder which results to panic attacks has a genetic predisposition and has been found to run in families. This means that inheritance plays a strong role in determining who gets it. However, many individuals without a family history of panic attacks still develop it.

In some individuals, exposure to stressful life events, or an environment, and psychological thinking that exaggerate normal bodily reactions may often play a role in the onset of panic attack. Some individuals who are melodramatic about a stressful life event and often dwell in a distressful situation are often prone to the incidence of such attacks.

Often the first attack is triggered by a physical illness or a major stress. Sometimes it could be due to certain medications or the abuse of drugs. People who are also exposed to excessive responsibilities may develop a tendency to suffer panic attacks.

The exact causes are yet unknown but scientific studies believed that an imbalance of serotonin and norepinephrine are the likely culprits in the incidence of panic attacks where the neurological function is subjected to a chemical imbalance.

In animal studies, the specific brain areas involved in anxiety disorders such as panic disorder are pinpointed. Fear, as a response to danger causes an automatic and rapid protective response that occurs without the need for conscious thought.

It has been found that the body's fear response in panic attacks is coordinated by a small but complicated structure deep inside the brain that is also a factor relevant in eating disorders.

Patients with diabetes suffering from hypoglycemia could also develop panic attacks. This results as the body refuses to respond properly to insulin, thereby interfering with the transport of glucose into the cells.

Since the brain depends on a steady supply of glucose as its source of energy, a fall in blood sugar levels of the brain sends a distress signal to the adrenal glands to produce adrenaline.

Adrenaline as a hormone functions to raise blood sugar levels by converting glycogen into glucose to prevent brain starvation. Adrenaline though is also a panic hormone that is responsible for attacks of fear.

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About the Contributor

David Smith is the owner of Keyboard Books. You can find out more about Panic Attacks by going to

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