Essay on Anxiety Disorders

Submitted By sjackson2422
Words: 1566
Pages: 7

Panic disorders are an extremely unpleasant condition that is considered a form of an anxiety disorder. Individuals who suffer from this disorder often experience panic attacks. A panic attack is considered a sudden and unexpected surge of overpowering fear (Panic Hub, 2010). A panic attack can happen at any time, any place, and without warning or for no apparent reason at all. They may last for a minute to several hours at a time. There are many individuals who suffer from panic disorders, in which it is estimated that 6 million American adults experience panic disorder in a given year (ADAA, 2012). A panic attack can be very frightening. According to Mayo Clinic (2012), “A panic attack is a sudden episode of intense fear that triggers severe physical reactions when there is no real danger or apparent cause”. (p.1). Many times, people may feel like they are losing control, having a heart attack, or even dying (Mayo Clinic, 2012). Panic attacks were once dismissed as nerves or stress and are now recognized as real medical conditions. Many people do not know their disorder is real and some are embarrassed or afraid to tell anyone, including their doctors and loved ones. The cause of panic disorders is not known; however, there are some roles that could play a part. Genetics is one of them and it is said that usually panic disorder or a form of anxiety disorder may run in the family. Another cause may be related to ongoing stress in someone’s life. Another role that may play part is certain changes in the way the brain functions (Mayo Clinic, 2012). Some research suggests that your body’s natural fight-or-flight response to danger is involved in panic attacks. For example, if a grizzly bear came after you, your body would react instinctively (May Clinic, 2012). Your heart rate and breathing would speed up as your body prepared itself for a life-threatening situation (Mayo Clinic, 2012). Many of these same reactions occur in a panic attack, but it is not known why a panic attack occurs when there is no obvious dangers present (May Clinic, 2012). Neurotransmitters have a role in panic attacks also. The proper release of adrenaline is determined by the brain (Neurogistics, 2013). The brain must be well balanced so that the Central Nervous System (CNS), and the body, peripheral nervous system (PNS), can communicate properly (Neurogistics, 2013). When brain chemistry is out of balance, many of the body’s communication systems become altered, leading to many of the symptoms with panic disorder (Neurogistics, 2013). Neurotransmitter regulation is crucial for balancing communication between the brain and body (Neurogistics, 2013). For example, following stressful events adrenaline or epinephrine is released into the bloodstream. This is the body’s natural fight-or-flight mechanism (Neurogistics, 2013). This event signals a ‘shut-off’ mechanism in the brain, which prevents further adrenaline release (Neurogistics, 2013). Chronic long-term stress can damage receptors in the brain, resulting in a disrupted shut-off mechanism. If adrenaline release mechanisms and regulation systems become disrupted, sudden adrenaline surges can occur, resulting in panic disorder (Neurogistics, 2013). Two of these two key neurotransmitters are GABA and Serotonin (Neurogistics, 2013).
Symptoms of panic disorder often start in the late teens or early adulthood and affect more women than men (Mayo Clinic, 2012). Risk factors that may contribute or increase the risk of developing panic attacks or panic disorder include; family history, significant stress, death or serious illness of a loved one, major changes in your life, history of childhood physical or sexual abuse, or experiencing a traumatic event (Mayo Clinic, 2012). There are many symptoms that one can experience when having a panic attack. One may experience a sense of impending doom or danger, a fear of loss of control, a rapid heart rate, sweating, trembling, shortness of breath,