I'll be frank. The truth is that no one knows exactly, for sure exactly what panic attacks causes are. It's probably the case the causes of panic attacks are a little different for everyone. Obviously we'd like to know the cause because sometimes that gives us a clue about treatment. For that reason, there's been a lot of ongoing research into the origins of panic attacks. In this article I want to mention three suspected factors.
Before I begin, I want to make the point that I use the term anxiety attack and panic attack roughly interchangeably. I'm sure a psychologist would make a specific distinction, but for most laypeople the difference is more a matter of degree, with panic being more intense than an episode of anxiety.
Possible Panic Attack Cause 1
That being said, one possible cause of panic attacks is heredity. There's no doubt that there is a higher incidence of panic attacks and some families and others. It's not entirely clear how much of this is related to actual genetic inheritance and how much is related to family situations and coping mechanisms that family members tend to employ.
Research is suggesting that there is some genetic component, but even if there is that that does not mean you're doomed to suffer anxiety and panic attacks just because a close family member has them. Having a gene, particularly for this situation, indicates more a predisposition to a problem then an indication that you are definitely going to experience it.
If experiencing panic is related to maladaptive approaches to life that you learn growing up, it's very possible to learn new approaches. In fact that's what many very successful panic attack methods do.
Chronic Stress As a Possible Cause of Acute Anxiety
There's also some suggestion that a chronic stress can predispose a person to develop an anxiety or panic disorder. We seem to be able to handle an acute, severe episode of stress fairly well. The event itself is no fun but if there's no repeating stress we can recover nicely.
Problems seem to come up when there is chronic, low-grade, ongoing stress is no chance for recovery and rejuvenation. It's as if our defensive fight-or-flight response is on high alert and a hair trigger – anything can set it off at full power. That's what a panic episode seems to be.
This implies that learning techniques to manage and defuse chronic stress may be helpful in preventing or treating anxieties problems. Something as simple as regular practicing deep breathing helps. Even better you can learn more substantial ways of defusing stress naturally.
Changes in Brain Chemistry May Lead to Panic
Another possible cause of anxiety problems that's being proposed more frequently is a chemical imbalance in the brain. As a matter of fact, that's being proposed as to cause of many psychological and psychological disorders such as depression.
The implication of this is that the anxiety can be evaluated by correcting the chemical imbalance or using drugs. While it does appear that medication can help some forms of anxiety and panic it's also possible to change brain chemistry without resorting to them. Exciting research in the fields of psychoneuroimmuniology and neuroplasticity shows just how malleable the human brain is.
Those three possible causes are the ones focused on most of the time. But as I said in the beginning, no one really knows for sure what panic attack causes are. In a way, it's not critical to know the cause. Much more important is to know what to do about a panic attack if you're suffering from them. Fortunately, you do not need to know the reason to be able to treat them effectively.
Though our society tends to look for drugs for the answer to everything, for psychological problems the best long-term answers do not involve medications. This especially applies to panic attacks.