A person is panicky when he is in a state of high alert or fright. At this state, the person is unable to think or act clearly. Several factors initiate a panic attack in a person. Given below are the most important factors that lead to panic attacks.
- Threat Perception – Fight/Flight Situation
Since ages, man has responded to threat in two ways. Either stay and fight or flight – run away for the sake of safety. Such extreme life threatening situations can cause panic attacks. Fight/Flight system is a natural response. For example, when a person is under attack he experiences a threat. The heightened sense of alert releases several hormones in our body that cause anxiety.
- Social Events
Events that either put a person into an embarrassing situation or a frightening situation can cause panic attack. Most people become panicky when asked to speak publicly. Though not a life threatening situation, it nevertheless increases level of hormones in our bodies that cause panic attacks.
Some people develop a phobia of some kind. When the situation forces them to confront their phobia, it creates a state of panic in them. For an example, most of us fear snakes and spiders. Hence when going into a forest, people always have a fear of encountering one.
There is no established evidence to prove panic disorder is transmitted through genes, but panic attacks occur in families with a history of panic attacks. Often parents who are anxious create an atmosphere of panic which affects the development of their children. In such situations, the children may become panicky too.
- Medication or Substance Abuse
Some medicines create a chemical imbalance in our body especially in the brain. This imbalance leads to a state of panic. There may be long-term effects of such medicines and the panic attacks will persist even when the medication is discontinued. In other instances, people who consume alcohol or other stimulants like cocaine or methamphetamines suffer from panic attacks.