Scientific Approach To Panic

Are we doomed to have minds that are capable of contemplating and understanding the stars, yet also enclose us in our own mental prisons?

Since the dawn of humankind, we have struggled with understanding our own minds. This is what separates us from any other living creature in the known universe. Living a normal life is a blessing when you have a mind that is unstable. How you wish you could just be normal for a day and not have your own mind be your own worst enemy.

Yet, we wouldn’t really want to lose who we are, so fighting it out and not giving up is the only option you should aim for. Panic attacks are perhaps the most frightening of all mental health conditions. The thing is though, a panic attack is just a symptom, it’s not an actual indicator of what is wrong. Therefore, multiple mental illnesses fall under the umbrella of a panic attack as there are different causes. What happens is a total breakdown of one’s assurance with reality. It’s a fear of something bad happening to you or somebody else, in one shape or another.

In the blood

The first few sparks of a panic attack brewing may not always be in your mind. The body also plays a part in making you feel a sense of urgency. Having low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) changes the metabolism of your brain. This, in turn, makes the central nervous system itself becomes imbalanced. If you have a low blood sugar level, the brain is the first organ in the body to be affected. This can result in a reduction in mental efficiency and if glucose levels fall further it can also lead to seizures.

As you can imagine an imbalance in the brain can lead to peculiar perceptions of life and reality. This can lead to anxiety and feeling nervous about everyday situations. Such panic attacks that are caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain are sudden and unprovoked. Experiencing sudden attacks with no mental signs beforehand, means you need to visit a doctor as soon as possible.

Faulty transmissions

For any brain to function, the neurons that transport information from one cell to another, need to be working properly. However, a malfunction or a lack of consistent normality of the norepinephrine system can begin a host of different psychological issues. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that allow neurotransmissions to happen as it is the messenger that transmits the signal from point to point in the brain such as neuromuscular junctions.

When normal brain activity is stopped by a malfunction of these transmitters, then the brain cannot effectively have full communication between all cells and different parts of the brain. If this occurs in the locus ceruleus which is an area of the brain stem, it can cause panic attacks. Sometimes your body’s biology is what is causing your panic attacks. In which case, you need to contact a doctor and inform them of your sudden panic attacks with no real psychological influences being at play. They will then perform tests on you to see where the problem is.

Social anxieties

The most common reason for panic attacks is having social anxieties. Getting anxious over public speaking and talking to new people is quite common for many people. However, those consumed by fear or paranoia can suffer from having panic attacks because their feelings overwhelm their sensibility. What is happening at a brain activity level is something like the fight or flight response and coupled with that a large dose of Adrenalin.

This leads to the heart-rate being increased suddenly, a feeling of a tight chest which then leads to a feeling of suffocating. When this happens you can feel as if you’re drowning and begin gasping for air. That’s one reason why a common blue reliever inhaler is so useful in helping you calm down. Your airways become less restricted, your lungs feel a lot more open and you ultimately get take deep breaths again.

Just two puffs of the inhaler are required and salbutamol is released. It works by acting on the beta-2 receptors which causes the muscles in your airways to relax. Getting a couple of big deep breaths quickly before a panic attack really gets going is going to help calm the situation down for you immeasurably. However deeper psychological issues are still at hand, and for these, you need to seek professional psychological support. A clinical psychiatrist is somewhat of a specialist area but if therapy doesn’t work with a counselor, then you can seek the former option out for yourself.


Writing it down

The power of the written word could help you to actually locate the dramatic trauma in your mind. If social anxiety isn’t affecting you that badly, then that doesn’t mean that any other form of stress is not either. Moments in your life when you feel as if you are feeling overly stressed and all of sudden, should be documented. Be absolutely free and open and write as if no one else is ever going to read your submissions.

This way some of the embarrassing things that you don’t want to admit in public or even to someone close to you, you can see with your own two eyes in written form. With the detail you provide in your notes, certain psychological patterns may emerge. It may be that you get nervous in identical situations but days apart. Therefore something about them triggers your anxiety or depression.

It may be a person in your life, a place, your work, even a friend. The good thing is that if you can’t read your own notes and take heed from them and look for solutions, your writings could always come of use at your therapy sessions in the future.

Thinking about things from a different perspective can be helpful, but only sometimes.

Chaz x


Hi! I'm Chaz. I'm the Founder of The Green Button Project, I run my own mental health blog, and I'm also a mental health volunteer with Time to Change and I also love dogs.

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