What Causes Panic Disorder?

what causes panic disorder in leander texas

What Causes Panic Disorder?

You’re getting ready for a big presentation at work and, suddenly, you have a bout of anxiety and near-debilitating fear which lasts the whole car ride on your way. Your heart races, you’re sweating more than usual, and it’s difficult to breathe or think clearly. This isn’t the first time it’s happened. So not only are you scared, you’re frustrated, and worried that the rest of your life is going to be dotted with these unexpected attacks. 

It’s an anxiety disorder known for unexpected and frequent instances of powerful fear paired with physical symptoms like chest pain, dizziness, heart palpitations, and shortness of breath. So, why you?

Are There Risk Factors?

Most panic disorder symptoms begin during the teen years or early adulthood, but you may be susceptible based on certain risk factors:

  • Your family history
  • Major stressors, like the loss or grave sickness of a loved one
  • Any number of traumatic events, like being robbed or surviving a serious accident
  • Substantial changes in your life, like a broken marriage or having a baby
  • Tobacco use or heavy caffeine intake
  • History of childhood abuse

What Happens If Panic Disorder Is Left Untreated?

Panic disorder is like other mental health conditions because, if left untreated, it can lead to other problems:

  • You could develop certain phobias, like being afraid of driving or leaving your house
  • You see a healthcare provider frequently for health worries and other medical problems
  • You avoid social settings
  • Problems at school or work 
  • Depression or other anxiety or psychiatric disorders 
  • A higher risk of suicide or suicidal ideation
  • Alcohol or other substance abuse
  • Money woes

Panic Disorder and Its Causes

If you have a panic disorder, it’s not unusual to have symptoms like a fear of losing control, wanting to avoid a place where a previous attack happened, sweating, chills, trembling, problems breathing, weakness, dizziness, and many others. Treating each one may be possible with ketamine or other therapy, but successful intervention usually depends on understanding potential causes for your symptoms.

Panic disorder has a familial component, but we don’t know for certain why some family members have it and others don’t. Several parts of your brain, like the amygdala and biological processes, may have a key role in anxiety and fear and, as a result, could function as a trigger for panic disorder. There’s also the notion that panic attacks may be false alarms, where your body’s characteristic survival instincts are activated too often and too strongly, or a combination of both scenarios. For instance, if you have panic disorder, a fast, pounding heartbeat could be misinterpreted as a sign of a heart attack. 

This could trigger a vicious cycle, making you experience panic attacks seemingly without warning – a calling card of panic disorder. The unique interaction between the brain and body in people with panic disorder may lead to more focused treatments, while other research investigates the role of stress and environmental factors in the disorder. 

Panic disorders affect the body’s natural fight-or-flight response to perceived danger. They can casue your adrenaline levels to spike without warning, triggering a flight or fight response with attacks happening anywhere, anytime. These sudden, unexplained instances of anxiety can be extremely distressing, which can compound them, leading to a full blown panic attack. 

Natural Ways to Treat Panic Disorder

Not everyone with panic disorder is willing to take medicine or try other therapy to manage its symptoms, but there are natural alternatives worth exploring.

  • Staying physically active. Things as simple and stress-free as walking, a bike ride, or non-competitive dancing may help reduce panic and anxiety.
  • Avoid consuming alcohol because there may be a link between alcohol use and the onset of anxiety and panic attacks.
  • Quit using tobacco in any form. Tobacco is believed to increase the risk of panic and anxiety.
  • Cut back on drinking caffeinated beverages.
  • Don’t forget the benefits of sleep, as lack of it can worsen mental health disorders.
  • Try meditation or mindfulness techniques.
  • Eat healthy foods.
  • Try deep breathing exercises.
  • Aromatherapy might help.
  • There is some evidence that herbal treatments might work, including kava, passionflower, valerian, lavender, and chamomile. Some studies have shown the positive effects of chamomile tea when treating patients with certain mental health disorders.

Closing Thoughts

There isn’t a singular test to diagnose panic disorder. The presence and persistence of the more disruptive symptoms is often enough. While panic disorder can be immensely challenging to live with, ketamine therapy can provide tremendous relief. Scientists are still analyzing the precise mechanisms by which ketamine offers relief for panic disorder, but many signs point to ketamine’s excitatory effects on glutamate and inhibitory effects on a pain receptor in the central nervous system call NMDA receptors. If you’re interested in what ketamine therapy can do for you, contact us today!

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