What is a Panic Attack?
Panic attacks – a terrifying experience – are a symptom of panic disorder, which fortunately is one of the most treatable of the anxiety disorders.
Panic attacks can happen without warning or reason, causing sudden fear and extreme nervousness for 10 minutes or more. No one knows what causes panic disorder, though researchers suspect a combination of biological and environmental factors, including family history, stressful life events, drug and alcohol abuse, and thinking patterns that exaggerate normal physical reaction.
Fortunately, panic disorder is one of the most treatable of the anxiety disorders. Psychotherapy (sometimes called talk therapy), cognitive, or biofeedback therapy can all help alter a person’s response to stimuli. And certain lifestyle changes, such as limiting caffeine and sticking to a daily exercise plan, can decrease symptoms as well.