Those who have experienced a panic attack (or more) know first hand how terribly scary the incident can be. It is so devastating that long after it goes, and the doctor confirms that there is nothing wrong with you, you still have a lingering doubt that you are/were close to death.
The Cause of Panic Attacks Originate from Our Survival Instinct
When a panic attack occurs, it is usually in response to a trigger. This trigger would be something that is highly threatening to you. This is a reaction that comes from the ‘flight or fight’ response of all animals when faced with danger. This explains why some animals attack in the face of danger, while others run away. They both react this way to preserve their lives. Similarly, humans too have this programming enmeshed into their psyche.
When they are too stressed and they feel that they are at the end of their rope, they may experience a panic attack, which actually the inner system is trying to push the body into action to defend it and prevent perishing. The ‘perishing’ alarm could be anything from a physical to financial threat to loss of social position.
Since this is a normal reaction, it is a bit difficult to pinpoint the cause of panic attacks. It is safe to say however, that normally this would be the direct result of some major real or perceived threat. The cause of panic attacks and the triggers are two different things, though these are very easily interchangeable. When you mention ‘causes’ – this implies the overall situation that leads to a panic attack; the trigger on the other hand, is what sets it off.
It is easy to think that the trigger is the cause of panic attack. In reality, the panic attack starts building up in line with the stress that you are accumulating in your day-to-day life. Of course, there are exceptions to this interpretation, i.e. sometimes; the trigger and the cause are one and the same. For example, you are faced with a running bull in your path. The moment you see it and realize that you are in its path, you jump away and try to get away from its line of vision and path. Your reaction (and the cause of panic attack) happens without you thinking about it. This is the ‘flight’ reaction from the ‘fight or flight’ response to danger. This is the most natural of all occurrences – and it is called self-preservation or survival.