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what causes panic attacks
human evolution
stress levels
panic attacks
What Causes Panic Attacks And How Do We Get Rid Of Them?
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These days we're safe, relatively speaking. Yes, we may be mugged, killed or injured in a motor accident or have the misfortune of falling out of the sky in an aeroplane that's engine(s) have stopped running, but in the main, we're a lot safer than were our ancestors thousands of years ago.

So why do about 4 million of us suffer panic attacks every year, and that's a conservative number? Let's work on some rough figures.

It was about 135 million years ago that human evolution took its first, tentative steps. I'm quite prepared to be taken to task on that figure, but honestly, considering the enormity of the time to which we refer, does it really matter? If we say that modern life has existed for 10,000 years, (and we could cut that in half quite easily), but for ease of calculation let's say 10,000, that's less than one thousandth of one per cent, or 0.001%, of our evolution.

Not really enough time to adapt, is it? So here we are with ancient tools in the modern world. Well, okay, but that doesn't explain why some people have panic attacks and others don't, or indeed why we just suddenly start to have them.

The answer to the question is the amount of stress beneath which we place ourselves. I'm going to digress up to a point, but the illustration I'm going to make will show why our stress levels are so incredibly high.

Life is a paradox, isn't it, when you think about it. Supposing someone even a hundred and fifty years ago had been able to look at the way we live to-day. Their thoughts would have been that with all our modern conveniences; our cars that take us wherever we wish to go. Aircraft that take us to foreign countries in the same time it would take a horse and carriage to travel 20 or 30 miles.

The amazing speed of communication. Simply pick up an instrument, speak into it to someone who lives in a town on the other side of the country, arrange some business and replace the instrument. All that without even rising from our chair. We even have phones that we can carry with us and speak to anyone at any time. Not only that, but all the gadgets we have in our kitchens.

All the shops and huge department stores. Surely, with all this comfort and all the conveniences we have, our maximum work day must only be two or three hours. And yet, all our 'modern conveniences' are driving us all into the ground. Now then. Why do we suffer panic attacks? An excess of stress, and is it any wonder?

This is the paradox, of course. The easier life becomes. The more comfort and convenience we enjoy through the wonders of technology, the harder we work. Is it any wonder that more and more people are being ground down by stress? Stress is dependent on our reaction to a situation. When someone is stressed or worried, the trigger which is the fight or flight responder becomes extremely light.

Not only that, but of course what may stress you will leave me cold and vice-versa. Once a person has had a panic attack in a particular situation, the mind may learn to fear the situation very quickly. So, if you suffer a lot of stress on an ongoing basis, panic attacks are likely to strike you more and more often.

Then it becomes a vicious cycle; not only are you stressed, but you're afraid of having another panic attack, and obligingly it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Relaxation isn't simply a nice, comfy state. It's vital. As vital as food.

If, because of your occupation, you find yourself under continual stress, you will eventually have a complete breakdown. It isn't 'if,' but 'when.' Another unpleasant offshoot of the panic attack is 'Agoraphobia,' or the fear of open spaces, sometimes strangely manifesting itself by a person having a panic attack in a crowded place, like a mall or supermarket.

However, it was originally a fear of open spaces, and you can imagine our far distant ancestors standing in a little group in open grassland. They wouldn't have a clue what horrors may be hiding in the grasses. There probably wouldn't be a tree or any type of shelter as far as the eye could see, so you can understand what a very frightening situation it must have been.

Street Talk

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