Panic attacks have been troubling people all over the world. They come suddenly, with no pre-warning and completely debilitate the person. The heart starts pounding, pain is felt in the chest, sweating, dizziness and head exhaust the person and many people feel that they are having a heart heart attack and are about to die. But it is not so. The attack does not cause any damage to any organs.
It lasts for around 10 minutes and then the symptoms gradually settle down. One thing that it does in most cases is that of instilling fear in the mind of the person. The fear of having another attack looms around in some corner of the mind in many people.
Till date, no specific cause has been found that triggers a panic attack. There have been different reasons attributed to it but there is not sufficient evidence to prove any definite reason. According to one of the theories, the alarm system, which is a set of mental plus physical mechanisms set in the body to alert a person when any threat is perceived just triggers off without any reason and causes a panic attack. Scientists have not been able to understand the reason behind this and also the fact that certain people are susceptible to this while others are not.
One thing that has been noticed is that panic disorders could have been related to genetics. There have been cases wherein generations of one family have faced attacks. Yet, again, on the other side, there are many families who have no genetic history of anxiety attacks and suddenly, a person in the family faces a panic attack. Certain studies also refer to the lack of nutritional deficiencies like zinc or magnesium as causes of a panic attack but again, there is difference of opinion among researchers.
When seen from a psychological point of view, some suggest that people who are anxiety-sensitive are people who fear of dreadful consequences when they feel some unpleasing sensation such as some pain in chest are more prone to falling prey to anxiety attacks.
When you see it from a social point of view, it could be that panic attacks could trigger off in adolescents who come from very disturbed families where there is lots of infection, stress and indulgence in drugs. But, there are contradictions here as well as there are many who come from such families but do not ever suffer from attacks. Losing a near and close friend or relative, feeling too much of stress in life, getting divorced and other such reasons could also disturb the emotional balance of a person and lead to an anxiety attack.
In certain cases, it has been seen that persons suffering from mitral valve prolapse, which is a small cardiac problem which results when one of the valves of the heart do not close correctly, hyperthyroidism, hypoglycaemia, excessive intake of caffeine and cocaine and withdrawal symptoms caused by certain medicines can also result in anxiety attacks.
In conclusion, it can be said that there have been many theories and explanations to suggest various causes of panic attacks but none have enough and sufficient evidence to back them. Hopefully, in the future, science will be able to resolve this mystery.