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Panic attacks: causes, symptoms and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

The panic attacks are sudden periods of intense fear, a sense of inner fear motivated by the feeling that something bad will happen. The duration of these attacks is variable, as it can last from minutes to hours. If these episodes occur more or less repeatedly, then we are talking about panic disorder and statistically more women than men suffer from it. Although its causes are not very well known, this disorder can be treated with specialists through medication and psychotherapy.

Panic attacks usually begin to manifest in young adults before the age of 25 but can also appear later. At FastlyHeal , we explain in detail the causes, symptoms and treatment of panic attacks .

Why do panic attacks happen?

The causes of panic attacks are unknown. Sometimes it is given for genetic reasons but there does not have to be a family history that suffers them. It is a feeling that appears suddenly and without prior warning or specific trigger. Remembering a crisis from the past can provoke a new attack.

Apart from the genetic factor, there are other risk factors such as:

  • Consumption of substances that alter the nervous system, such as stimulants. Alcohol or tobacco withdrawal syndrome can also lead to panic attacks.
  • Suffering from thyroid diseases or arrhythmias.
  • Tendency to be anxious and easily interpret situations as dangerous or threatening.

Symptoms of panic attacks

Episodes are accompanied by some of the following indicators:

  • Feeling of anguish, fear of dying. You also feel fear of losing control and of imminent death.
  • Dizziness and fainting
  • Sickness.
  • Numbness and tingling in the hands, feet, or face.
  • Palpitations, fast and irregular heartbeats.
  • Excessive sweating
  • Trembling and shaking.
  • Feeling of unreality. Derealization is the perception of the outside world as unknown, of being in a dream or seeing through a veil.
  • Depersonalization, the feeling of being separate from oneself, outside the body.
  • Suffocation.
  • Choking or choking sensation.


In case of having a tendency to experience episodes, it is advisable to lead a calm life without much stress :

  • Eat at regular hours.
  • Practice exercise.
  • Sleep 8 hours daily.

These are considered some of the habits that all people should acquire and that facilitate a good physical and mental state during the day.

Likewise, it is advisable to avoid :

  • Alcoholic drinks.
  • Tobacco and coffee. Avoid taking any substance that contains stimulants such as caffeine or nicotine.
  • Drugs Narcotic and psychotropic substances.

What to do when a panic attack starts?

When you start to experience a panic attack it is recommended to breathe slowly and abdominally. A bag can be used to reduce hyperventilation, releasing the air inside and inspiring it again.

Here are four easy steps you can take if you experience a panic attack:

  • Relax . Pay attention to your breathing, and try to keep it slow and deep. Try to make yourself aware, while you breathe, that you are not subjected to a situation that implies a real danger.
  • For negative thoughts . Repeating internally, while you focus on breathing, something like “enough” will make you more aware of the need to stop this state and the need to restore normality to your body and your thoughts. Therefore, it is another way to interrupt the process in which we find ourselves
  • Use phrases that reassure you . Continuing with deep and relaxed breathing, and after internally repeating “enough” to yourself, say a phrase to yourself that is motivating, such as: “This is something temporary that I can control, I’m fine.”
  • Accept your emotions . Identify and accept what causes fear and try to understand why. If the fear is, for example, to speak in front of an audience, it is something reasonable, but we also know that we are capable of carrying out this task, we just need to convince ourselves.


The general treatment of panic disorder is based on the administration of medications and the follow-up of a psychological treatment at the hands of specialists. Among the medications that are usually prescribed we find:

  • Antidepressants , called selective serotonin inhibitors or SSRIs. An example of this type of antidepressant is sertraline .
  • Sedatives , to relax. They are used for a short period of time due to their dependency.
  • Anticonvulsants . They are used for severe cases.

As far as psychotherapy is concerned, it will serve to acquire the necessary tools in order to manage stress, anxiety and the feeling of fear when symptoms appear.

On the other hand, it is also highly recommended to use some medicinal plants that help us relax and that can be useful to reduce nerves and anxiety.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Panic attacks: causes, symptoms and treatment , we recommend that you enter our category of Mental Disorders .

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