A panic attack is a type of anxiety disorder which has specific symptoms. Some differences between panic and anxiety attacks involve the intensity and length of the symptoms which come on more slowly in anxiety attacks than with panic attacks. Mayo Clinic research shows that 10% to 20% of people in the US will experience a panic attack at some stage.
Panic attacks happen when natural reactions kick in at the wrong time. It is an uncontrolled physiological reaction that occurs when the body attempts to deal with dangerous situations or emergencies. Stress can cause an increase in adrenaline which increases the metabolism in the body to rapidly produce energy. Your heart beat and breathing speed up, muscles become tenser and the composition of the blood changes slightly.
Symptoms can be distressing and frightening when experienced during situations which are not dangerous and thinking clearly is almost impossible.
Usually panic attacks happen quickly, are intense and are over in 20 to 30 minutes while anxiety attacks are less intense but last for longer periods. The attacks are unpredictable and might take place a number of times in a day or once every few weeks and it could happen at any time of the day or night.
Specific issues or physical symptoms can cause a panic attack. One trigger is iron deficiency and attacks can also be triggered by food allergies and hypoglycemia. Caffeine (in particular over-indulgence) can also precipitate an attack.
Some anxiety disorder types can be hereditary and run in families. Certain cases are associated with an abnormality of the heart known as Mitral Valve Prolapse and are more prevalent in women.
Dealing with panic and anxiety attacks involves developing coping mechanisms during an attack as well as also identifying other physical trigger situations.
Nowadays research shows that anxiety disorders are affected by nutrition and the state of health of a person's body. Sufferers of anxiety disorders should therefore monitor nutritional intake. For example, low magnesium and calcium levels may act as a trigger in attacks while iron deficiency can also precipitate such attacks. Multivitamins with a mineral complex supplement will help individuals meet the body's vitamin requirements including selenium and potassium for optimal brain functionality.
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