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what causes anxiety or panic attacks

Posted by God's Own

sometimes my hands get sweaty, I feel nervous and start sweating at times. Could this be a sign of having an anxiety or panic attack.
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Are these episodes being triggered by anything specific in your life?  Are you having breathing problems as well?  That usually goes with a panic attack.  Have you had a medical checkup recently?  It would be best to see your family doctor to rule out any physical problems before investigating treatment for anxiety or panic.

Sure could. Here is some information I originally posted on my website at :

Panic Disorder affects more than 2.4 million Americans. Striking twice as many women as men, Panic Disorder is characterized by unexpected and repeated sensations of extreme fear accompanied by chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, numbness and tingling, dizziness or stomach upset.

Mimicking symptoms of heart or respiratory distress, Panic Disorder is often misdiagnosed or undiagnosed. This failure leads to increased medical costs as well as delay in treatment and relief. Additionally, when left untreated the frequency of episodes seems to increase. Many people with Panic Disorder exist in a near-constant state of anxiety, fearing the next episode.

Panic Disorder often co-occurs with depression and other mental or behavioral health issues. Nearly half of people with Panic Disorder abuse alcohol or drugs, such as cocaine and marijuana, attempting to alleviate their discomfort. Those with dual diagnoses need to simultaneously be treated for substance abuse or depression in order to successfully treat the Panic Disorder. Sadly, one in five people diagnosed with Panic Disorder attempt suicide.

People with Panic Disorder often have other anxiety- or stress-induced illnesses, such as irritable bowel syndrome, characterized by intermittent bouts of gastrointestinal cramps and diarrhea or constipation. Headache, bursitis, tendonitis and neck or shoulder pains are also common.

People with Panic Disorder often develop phobias about places or situations where they’ve experienced panic attacks; and they often avoid situations and locations where they think another attack may occur, where they may not have quick access to bathrooms, or where help would not be immediately available. This avoidance can develop into agoraphobia, which is an inability to go beyond known and safe surroundings because of intense fear and anxiety.

The exact cause of Panic Disorder is unknown, but research suggests that panic attacks occur when an area of the brain sends in incorrect message that suffocation, thus death, is imminent. There seems to be a genetic component as well as learned patterns of thought that exaggerate relatively normal automatic physical reactions. Stress is also thought to be a factor. Fortunately, effective treatments are available.

The NIMH conducted a large-scale study to evaluate the effectiveness of combining prescription medications with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, finding that 70-90% of treated patients experienced significant improvement after only a few weeks of therapy.

Treatment is available and it works. If you know someone who lives with several of the symptoms listed below, encourage them to get help. Wellness is worth it.

Symptoms of Panic Disorder or Panic Attacks

Fear of dying

Racing or pounding heartbeat

Terror - a sense that something terrible is imminent and prevention is impossible

Chest pains

Dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea

Difficulty breathing

Tingling or numbness in the hands

Sense of unreality or disconnection

Flushes or chills

Fear of losing control, going “crazy,” or doing something embarrassing

It appears that your question has been answered with another question and with an overwhelming amount of information, possibly enough to induce a panic attack!


Nervousness and sweaty palms, while they MAY be, are not always indicative of a panic attack. If your palms start to sweat, your breathing comes a little quickly and you get “jumpy” in a situation where you are going to be giving a talk to a large audience, for example, that is not a panic attack. That is just a normal, human “fight or flight” response.


If, on the other hand, you experience these symptoms while driving your car, or standing in line at the grocery check out counter, along with the fear that you are about to faint, have a heart attack, or have an overwhelming urge to just leave your groceries in the cart and run, then yes, you may be experiencing a panic attack.


If this is the case, here are a few things you need to know:

·         A panic attack cannot kill you.

·         It will pass.

·         Other people cannot tell that this is happening to you.


If you are hyperventilating you can breathe into a paper bag to reduce the amount of oxygen getting to your lungs. This is the oldest trick in the books and does have a bad side effect. If you are standing at the checkout counter with a bag over your head people will certainly be watching you and the clerk, assuming she is being robbed, will call the police. Now you and everyone around you will be having a panic attack!


At different times during my 70 years I have worked in both theater and in surgery. Oddly enough I never experienced sweaty palms or shortness of breath when going into surgery, but ALWAYS experienced these symptoms before going on stage.


To me, the worst possibility if you are experiencing these symptoms in crowded places or in social settings, is the tendency to isolate, to avoid crowds and places where you feel trapped. Agoraphobia often goes hand in hand with anxiety disorder and can ruin relationships and the quality of your life. If you feel this is starting to happen, GET HELP!


I hope this helps.

NOTICE: The information provided on this site is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your physician or other qualified health provider because of something you have read on Wellsphere. If you have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.
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