Understanding panic attack

A week after learning about panic attack my brother had his first panic attack, where he was taken to the hospital. Now over a month after, experiencing it frequently he is unable to leave the house alone. This made me interested in learning more about the condition and maybe try to help and understand what he is going through. 


What is a panic attack? A panic attack is a false abnormal uncontrolled physical reaction to a neutral situation. This reaction occurs as an exaggeration response to fear, the body`s preparing itself for fight and flight, even though there is no real danger.  Some patients get very afraid of these attacks which can lead to a development of panic disorder, categorized as a anxiety disorder (Perrotta, 2019)


According to the DSM-5 there exist several of symptoms on panic attack, including an intense feeling of anxiety as well as sensation of fear.  Together with this the patients often have trouble breathing (asphyxiation) , muscle tension, sweating, tremors, lightheadedness and an increasement in heartrate with both palpitations and tachycardia. Moreover they can feel abnormal discomfort or pain, in the chest and other parts of the body as well as paresthesia. Further on some patients experience a sense of derealization or the feeling being detached from themselves. Additionally, one of the main symptoms is being afraid of losing control over the situation and some patients experience the fear of dying (Perrotta, 2019). 

Moreover one can see that many people struggling with panic attacks change their behavior. They tend to avoid the situation by escaping to a more safe place, which is unhelpful, as it worsen the situation, by not letting oneself see that the situation is unharmful.


The fully understanding of panic attack is not understood. However there exists different reasons why many patient suffers from this attacks. First one to mention is if the patient has experienced any traumatic or extremely stressful event. Another reason can be an imbalance of certain neurotransmitters as well as family history of panic disorder or panic attacks. Lastly reason to mention is a drastic change in someone’s personal life, for example an accident or a divorce (Modigh, 2009).

Difference between panic attack and disorder:
To be able to diagnose a panic disorder these panic attacks need to have occur multiple times, been unexpected and repeated. Nevertheless must one of these attacks been a moderated by a determined worry of the attack to occur again or worry about the consequences of the attack (Perrotta, 2019). 


Modigh, K. (2009). Panik i Norden. Taylor and Francis Online: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/08039488509101933

Perrotta, G. (2019).  Panic disorder: definitions, contexts, neural correlates and clinical strategies. ACADEMIA Accelerating the world's researchhttps://d1wqtxts1xzle7.cloudfront.net/62154968/11._Panic_Disorder_8.1920200220-19566-1nd8l68-with-cover-page-v2.pdf?Expires=1638975152&Signature=Q2YiEX3YUJiPn54~XJhBC1jbvY0WOnXWcYcYWilJVjjAH0YDG4iz6nQlxewanj5wap08ah9k-0NgJrkMqC0D-ZLmSzXKdPrloyBH23SF6~eQZy

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