When you understand what makes most panic attacks happen, you can understand how to stop them.
If you’ve had panic attacks and don’t know why, you’ve probably also learned that trying to calm yourself down when you start to feel very scared doesn’t usually work. Also, it may not help much to talk about your problems for hours in therapy. The reason is that your rational conscious mind can’t stop the fight-or-flight response once it has been set off by your subconscious mind.
People who have panic attacks may take medication to help with their anxiety. Unfortunately, most medications treat only the emotional symptom (extreme anxiety) and not the underlying problem (thoughts or body chemistry). This means that someone may have to take the medication for a long time, assuming it even helps much.
Panic attacks are symptoms. Why causes them? Here’s a clue…Most of the time, it’s your mind. Watch the following video to learn more.
Here’s How to Stop Having Panic Attacks
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Frequently Asked Questions
Panic attacks are caused by a positive feedback loop that feeds on itself. This means that you notice your anxious feelings and feel nervous about them, which makes you feel even more anxious, which you then notice and feel nervous about. Most people who feel nervous seem to unconsciously flip a switch that stops the anxiety from getting worse. People with panic attacks, on the other hand, worsen the anxiety in a vicious cycle until it becomes overwhelming.
Anxiety is usually a sign that you think or feel you are not safe. When that happens, your brain’s amygdala (the “reptilian brain”) overrules your rational thinking, and you care only about identifying threats and protecting yourself. Fear-based thinking helps you stay alive, which is why applying logic and reason doesn’t usually help you feel better. When you add this change in brain activity to a rush of stress hormones like adrenaline, your mind thinks that any possible danger (including a rapid heartbeat) is a real threat. While a panic attack is quite harmless in most cases, it can be terrifying. This explains the vicious cycle that leads to a panic attack and why many people who have one think they are having a heart attack and go to the emergency room.
While anxiety can be caused by chemical changes in the body, it’s usually caused by fear-based thinking. If you keep having these thoughts, anxiety can become a regular response. The nervous system can get used to a stress response (called “fight or flight”), which makes it easier for fear-based thoughts to cause a physical reaction. If this reaction gets bad enough, it can make someone have a panic attack. The more you think, feel, and act in a certain way, the easier it is to make it a habit.
The first step is to figure out what subconscious belief, perception, or thought causes the anxiety that leads to the panic attack. Emotional trauma that hasn’t been dealt with effectively is often to blame. The more important step is to change that underlying thought process and retrain the nervous system to be calmer when facing challenges. Hypnosis and NLP are a very helpful way to do this, and it’s one of our specialities.
Take the first step toward recovery
If you struggle with anxiety or panic attacks, you might be able to work with us privately, which is our most effective way to help you.