This issue is relevant to me because I have suffered with it in the past, although I never realized it – I simply thought that I was stressing myself out a lot more than I should have been. In addition, I also chose this topic because I know that there are a lot of teenagers that suffer from panic disorder and feel alone and misunderstood.
Panic attacks are basically periods of intense fear and anxiety that are usually associated with a lot of physical and psychological symptoms like:
-Feeling unable to breathe or very fast breathing
-Tingling or numbness in your hands and feet
-Hot or cold flushes
-Feeling nauseous and claustrophobic
-Being extremely emotional/uncontrollable crying
-Feelings of unreality
Panic attacks happen very quickly, usually peaking within 5 to 20 minutes, however there have been a few cases in which panic attacks have lasted up to an hour. When panic attacks occur, they usually happen one after another, therefore these cases that are said to have lasted an hour are probably 2 or more consecutive panic attacks, not just one long one.
- Why do panic attacks occur?
Think of it this way:
Your brain stores all your memories (everything you’ve learned, seen, heard,etc.) This means your brain also stores your recollections of panic attacks (where it happened, who you were with when it happened, etc.), so it begins to train your body to react in a similar way when you are faced with a similar situation.
- Here are some causes of panic attacks:
-Stress: When you are stressed, you think a lot more negatively, and this leads to anxiety, which then triggers the panic attacks.
-Heredity/Genetics: Panic attacks are actually considered a disorder – panic disorder. Just like how other diseases can be passed on in a family from generation to generation, panic disorder can be passed on from parent to child. Not all people who suffer from panic disorder have family members that also have it, although it may be a contributing factor.
-Intelligence: Surprisingly, panic attacks are more common in people with a higher IQ because they can focus more internally, increasing their awareness for their physical and emotional sensations, triggering panic attacks.
-Hyper-sensitivity: Hyper-sensitivity is the overall awareness of your body. Everyone experiences raised heart rates, aches, pains, and the like everyday, however almost all people who do not suffer from panic disorder usually do not even notice this. People who suffer from panic attacks, however, are over-sensitive to these feelings. They notice and feel every one and also experience a rush of anxiety and adrenaline whenever this happens, which results in panic attacks.
For me, I think my panic attacks began when I was about 9 or 10 years old, although rarely. Eventually though, my panic disorder took its toll. I think a lot of my panic attacks came from stress – I lost too much weight, I lost my appetite, I thought too negatively for my own good, I spent less time doing what made me happy… and I came home having a panic attack everyday. It eventually became sort of a routine for me, which I didn’t tell anyone about, and let me tell you now, it was NOT good. If you suffer from panic attacks, do not cope with it by yourself; it will only make you feel more alone.
It came to the point where everyone in my family knew that it was affecting me in a way which was unhealthy and unfit for someone my age, and I decided enough was enough, and that I would find a way to deal with it because I did not want to spend the rest of my life like that. I think the only way to deal with panic attacks is to take it easy and don’t put too much pressure on yourself. If you feel you can handle it, you can also take the medical route and see a doctor. Panic disorder also makes you not want to go anywhere and do anything because you are afraid of having a panic attack if you do so – if you feel this way, do NOT let these feelings rule over you; push yourself to get out of your comfort zone and try new things – but don’t do anything that you think will make you uncomfortable.
Lastly, I think that doing this topic has made me more aware of both myself and other people; I never knew that panic attacks were considered a disorder, or that intelligence can be a cause of panic attacks, or a lot of the topics I just covered, for that matter – I never even realized until now that what I have been experiencing for the past 3 and a half years were panic attacks. I really hope this has helped you in some way, and if you are reading this, and you suffer from panic attacks and feel like it will be like this for the rest of your life, just remember – it’s never easy to deal with panic attacks, and no matter how scary it is, it will not kill you. Panic attacks aren’t uncommon, especially in teenagers, so you are not alone. 🙂