Friday, 15 June 2012

Panic Disorder Article Three

Welcome to article no.3 in the series on panic disorders, panic and anxiety attacks.  It is interesting to remind ourselves that as in the last article, that there is a subtle difference in diagnosis that is worth pointing out.  'Everyone that has panic disorder will have panic attacks. Not everyone that has panic attacks will be diagnosed with panic disorder.'
The jury is out for us whether it helps to be 'diagnosed.'  For some, it is helpful to know what you have so that you know that it is a recognised condition that can be treated and that there is help available.  For others, the label can mean that they are in danger of 'writing themselves off' and will find it hard to get rid of the anxiety disorder now that they have been diagnosed. 
As far as we are concerned, whilst some people will inherit a disposition towards anxiety, the vast majority of us were not born with this panic disorder or panic attacks. It is something that we have learned through life experience. We also believe, it is never too late to learn something else.


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Causes of panic disorder

As with many mental health conditions, the exact cause of panic disorder is not fully understood.
It is thought that panic disorder is probably caused by a combination of physical and psychological factors. Some of these factors are outlined below.

Traumatic life experiences

A trauma, such as bereavement, can sometimes trigger feelings of panic and anxiety. These feelings may be obvious soon after the event, or they may be triggered unexpectedly years later.

Genetic link

Having a close family member with panic disorder may increase your risk of developing the condition. However, the precise nature of the risk is not yet known.

Neurotransmitters

Neurotransmitters are chemicals that occur naturally in the brain. It is thought that if you have an imbalance of these chemicals, it may increase your risk of developing conditions such as panic disorder.

Fight or flight reflex

Some researchers believe that panic disorder is closely associated with your body's natural 'fight or flight’ reflex. The fight or flight reflex is your body's way of protecting you from stressful and dangerous situations.
In dangerous situations, anxiety and fear cause your body to release hormones, such as adrenalin, and your breathing and heart rate are increased. This is your body’s natural way of preparing itself for a dangerous or stressful situation.
In people with panic disorder, researchers believe that the fight or flight reflex may be triggered abnormally. In such cases, the body’s normal fight or flight response to excitement, fear or stress may be exaggerated, resulting in a panic attack.


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Take care
Paul & Richard
Virgin Atlantic Flying Without Fear

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Leeds Bradford 13th January 2013
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