What causes panic attacks, and how can you prevent them? - Cindy J. Aaronson

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The body becomes its own corset.

Past, present, and future exist as a single force.

A swing without gravity soars to a terrifying height.

The outlines of people and things dissolve.

Countless poets and writers have tried to put words

to the experience of a panic attack—

a sensation so overwhelming, many people mistake it for a heart attack, stroke,

or other life-threatening crisis.

Though panic attacks don’t cause long-term physical harm,

afterwards, the fear of another attack can limit someone’s daily life—

and cause more panic attacks.

Studies suggest that almost a third of us

will experience at least one panic attack in our lives.

And whether it’s your first, your hundredth,

or you’re witnessing someone else go through one,

no one wants to repeat the experience.

Even learning about them can be uncomfortable, but it’s necessary—

because the first step to preventing panic attacks is understanding them.

At its core, a panic attack is an overreaction to the body’s

normal physiological response to the perception of danger.

This response starts with the amygdala,