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What can cause a panic attack? See how to identify triggers

O Panic attack It is characterized by anxiety attacks that appear suddenly, causing fear and extreme stress. These sensations are accompanied by physical symptoms, such as malaise, accelerated heart rate, headache, chills, tremors, dizziness and fainting.

Crises can occur in any place, context or time, lasting, on average, 15 to 30 minutes. And they arise when a person experiences a threat or relives a situation that has already caused trauma.

It is important to explain that this threatening situation is not always real, but due to having difficulty managing emotions and being afraid of reliving suffering, the person ends up having an attack.

“When we are very afraid, our body reacts with an adrenaline rush and as a reaction comes shortness of breath, palpitations and an extreme sensation of fear, which gives the impression that the person is dying or having a heart attack”, explains Maria Julia Francischetto, psychiatrist at the Hospital do Servidor Público Estadual (HSPE).

What can cause panic attacks?

The emotional or mental triggers, as they are called, that trigger a panic attack are the most diverse.

It can be a conversation, a post or video on social media or an everyday situation, such as driving or even going to work. Identifying and tackling them is the biggest challenge, according to professionals.

How to identify triggers?

Experts interviewed by the report explain that self-observation is one of the ways to discover which traumas are triggering the problem.

It is important to seek professional help, which will help identify which situations trigger the condition. There is also the possibility that there is no specific trigger for a panic attack.

“Triggers are not necessarily identifiable. It is possible for the person to experience panic in a school classroom, which is a familiar environment, church, on the road or on the way to work, which they pass through every day. One of the characteristics of panic is precisely not having a triggering factor”, adds D'Avila.

Who is most susceptible to panic attacks?

Anxious people, who overexert themselves and face depression are more vulnerable to developing panic attacks.

“We have to remember that this condition is a type of anxiety disorder. So, generally, people who are very demanding of themselves, responsible and perfectionists, are more susceptible. As well as in those who have had a previous depressive episode”, adds Débora D'Avila, psychiatrist.

Main signs of a panic attack

The signs of a panic attack can vary from person to person, but typically, people experience more than one of these signs simultaneously.

  • Chest pain
  • Accelerated heart rate
  • Shortness of breathe
  • Dizziness
  • Fear to die
  • Fear of losing control
  • Unrest
  • Nausea or diarrhea
  • Numbness or tingling sensation
  • Excessive sweating
  • Tremors

When to seek help?

A psychiatrist is the only one who can diagnose a panic attack and you should seek help as soon as the first signs begin to appear. This service is available in the public and private health networks.

To reach a conclusion about the patient's condition, the doctor will order some tests to rule out other diseases as the physical symptoms may be similar to other problems.

Among the most requested tests are the electrocardiogram, exercise test, tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, laboratory and hormone tests and others that are deemed necessary.

“Often the patient thinks that he has a serious physical problem, or that he is going crazy, and he is embarrassed to tell people. And the situation is getting worse. It is important to emphasize that, as it is one of the biggest causes of absence from work, it is important, as soon as it is diagnosed, to start treatment”, emphasizes D'Avila.

What are the treatments?

The treatment of panic syndrome should begin immediately after the diagnosis of the disease and be carried out by a multidisciplinary team including a psychiatrist and psychologist.

At first, depending on the severity, the patient may need medication. Treatment can be punctual or last for several months, with each patient's progress with treatment varying according to each patient.

Support from family and friends is also an important factor in treating panic attacks.

Source: CNN Brasil

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