By the time person comes in to see me, they are pretty scared and confused about anxiety and panic. Mostly thinking panic is coming out of now where..it just is happening to them..
Once we start working on this, it becomes very clear that there has been a build up of stress or major life stresses over time. The onset of anxiety andpanic does not necessarily occur immediately following a major life stress.
Major stresses examples include death in a family, illnesses, drug use, divorce, financial difficulties, job loss, traffic accident, sports injuries, allergic reactions to medications. There is no one cause for anxiety.
In the case of built up stress, the first attack can occur and mostly does when there seems to be no obvious trigger, such as driving or watching TV. An example of one of my clients, a very successful , business man and athlete. In his 60’s , driving to his beach place, which he did frequently for years, and all of a sudden he got dizzy and short of breath. He thought he was having a heart attack. He pulled off the road and fortunately his wife was with him. She drove him to the nearest hospital, where they diagnosed him with vertigo. It didn’t get better, so he came to see me. We discovered, over a few visits he had anxiety and stress most of his life. He had learned to suppress it and over time it festered. He is presently doing much better and living life to the fullest.
This is typical of what I see with panic and anxiety. Most of my clients are highly functioning people that just get good at pushing feelings aside until they fester enough to turn into something more serious like a panic attack. At that time, we now can see with brain spect scans that there is a lot going on with brain chemistry.
Neuro transmitters are chemical messengers in the brain that regulate a person’s thoughts and feelings.
Sometimes there is a problem with the way the brains messges are being sent due to chemical imbalance. Two of the primary neurotransmitters that affect a persons feelings are serotonin and dopamine. Inbalances in these chemicals can occur over time and with stress and cause anxiety and depression.
You can also think about your family of origin. Often anxiety runs in families, so if you grow up with an anxious mother or father, very early on you are ‘learning’ to develop anxiety yourself. If as a child you are constantly ‘taught’ or shown anxiety or if you are growing up in an abusive home, often you will develop anxiety or depression yourself.