Panikattacken: Was steckt dahinter?

what’s behind it? • Profiling Institute

Image source: © Kaspars Grinvalds for

Panic attacks are more common than many people think. Statistically, every fifth person in Germany will experience such an attack at least once. Panic attacks can be terrifying and can lead to more serious problems. How are attacks expressed? what’s behind it? What should you know?

What are panic attacks?

First of all, it is important to clarify what panic attacks actually are. A panic attack is one that occurs suddenly Periods of extreme anxiety or fearwith physical and emotional symptoms can go hand in hand. For those affected, a seizure is often associated with a high degree of suffering and is formidable classified because it can be a life-threatening attack, eg a heart attack.

who symptoms When you experience a panic attack varies from person to person different. The following symptoms may occur. TO physical symptoms include palpitations, irregular heartbeat, chest pain/pressure/tension, tremors, sweating, dry mouth, tight throat, shortness of breath, abdominal pain, nausea, dizziness, fainting, dizziness, numbness, choking, and tingling. TO emotional symptoms include but are not limited to fear of death, fear of loss of control, feelings of depersonalization or derealization, and fear of madness/going crazy.

Just describing these symptoms can illustrate how threatening a panic attack can be. Many sufferers visit a hospital or doctor during or after their first panic attack because they fearhave a life-threatening physical illness.

Such a panic attack usually only lasts few minutes on. you have achieved peak after about 10 minutes and sounds mostly within one half an hour again, but in individual cases it may take longer. Attacks can be either a clear trigger were caused or otherwise spontaneously for no apparent reason discover. A clear trigger can be a spider, for example, in a person with a phobia of spiders.

After a panic attack, they can be disabled panic disorder develop. This is when people become extremely worried about having more panic attacks (they develop anticipatory anxiety) and/or they change their behavior to avoid more attacks. The frequency of attacks can vary from several times a day to one month. A real panic disorder is coming less common before panic attacks. About 2 to 3 percent of people in Germany suffer from such a panic disorder. It often comes with one agoraphobia, better known as claustrophobia. Disabled people are then afraid of situations where there is a fear that they will not get out quickly enough / will not get to the doctor or will be negatively noticed by a potential panic attack. These situations are mainly in crowds, in an elevator, in a queue and the like.

Why do they arise?

Now it should be about why panic attacks can happen or what can contribute to their occurrence. The symptoms of an attack result, among other things, from the body having too much stress hormone adrenaline it pours out. Adrenaline is always released in fearful situations and contributes to the fight-or-flight reflex (fight or flight), which is supposed to protect us in threatening situations. Among other things, it constricts the blood vessels, accelerates the pulse and prepares the muscles for the upcoming action.

But why is this even happening? As previously mentioned, panic attacks can occur with or without an apparent reason. One reason may be when a phobic person is confronted with what they fear. But what if there is no apparent reason?

and causes and triggers panic attacks and panic disorders diverse and individual. Always play several factors together, which can eventually lead to an attack. A favorable factor appears alcohol and drug use be. Some psychoactive substances can promote or induce panic attacks. But also some medicines can facilitate attacks. The tendency towards anxiety disorders can also go further inherited will. They can also play a central role childhood experiences play. Parenting style and experiences with neglect appear to be important, among other things. But also closer experiences, for example drastic ones Diseases, may be relevant. These are some factors that can increase the likelihood of panic disorder or panic attacks.

Triggers can too diverse be. Symptoms often appear when there is a lot of it stress there is and/or generally there is a difficult phase of life. Constant stress can lead to a panic attack, in which pent-up tension suddenly comes out.

What to do?

Now it’s about figuring out what can help with panic disorders/attacks. In order to address the problem in the long term, especially when attacks become more frequent and/or behavior changes to prevent them, timely professional help to be important. First, it may be a trip to the family doctor, who can refer you to a psychologist or psychiatrist. Here he can in one behavioral therapy work on the problem. Also supportive medicinal therapy can happen. In most cases, therapy fails Well and helps get the disease under control.

But what to do in an acute panic attack? Again, there are different and individual options. Below are a few things that be helpful be able. Level passages it can be helpful to be aware of the situation not a life-threatening condition represents. How the situation is evaluated can be under the control of the affected person, which in turn can mitigate the attack.

It might help if you go further Actively calm your breath, as many sufferers tend to hyperventilate, which in turn can worsen symptoms. A number of useful things can be done with it breathing exerciseswhich can be practiced in advance.

Also one Focusing on the here and now can help. This can be done, for example, by consciously directing your attention and awareness to something specific in your environment in order to re-anchor and ground yourself in the environment.

To prevent further panic attacks, healthy lifestyle and regular Relaxation be helpful This can include exercise, abstinence from alcohol and drugs, getting enough sleep, and relaxation exercises to reduce stress.


Panic attacks occur relatively often on. You are too strong physical and emotional symptoms marked, which may resemble, for example, a heart attack, therefore they are often classified as (life) threatening by those affected. It usually lasts a few minutes. A panic attack can change to panic disorder develop, which occurs less often. and causes and triggers be able diverse and individual be. They can be triggered by a specific aspect or appear out of the blue. One therapy is in many cases willing. In an acute situation, among other things, a mental reassessment, breathing exercises and Focusing on the here and now be helpful Also one healthy lifestyle and relaxation can act preventively.

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