It does all sorts of things.” Panic attacks may be a false alarm in which a person’s body mistakenly thinks it is suffocating, Klein previously has written. Based on this theory, Breslau and Klein suggest in their article that carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke may set off panic attacks in people predisposed to overreact. In an interview seeking objective comment, clinical psychologist Benjamin Fialkoff, PhD, tells WebMD that the study findings appear to be in line with his experience in treating patients with panic disorder. “It doesn’t surprise me in view of the findings that smoking increases stress,” he said. “What we have in a panic response is the body’s stress response going full out. …
More: Panic Attacks More Common in Smokers
Breathing Difficulties The reaction induced by a severe panic attack can lead to an increase in your normal breathing rate. This occurs because your body believes you are in need of extra oxygen and energy to escape physical danger. As a result, you can begin to breathe faster than necessary, leading to a condition called hyperventilation. A severe panic attack also can cause breathing difficulties, such as shortness of breath. You Might Also Like Can Lack of Sleep & Headache or Dizziness When you have a severe panic attack, your body believes you are in imminent physical danger. Health professionals at the Better Health Channel, an Australian government website that provides health information, explain that the body then releases chemicals that stimulate your central nervous system, such as adrenaline, which increase nerve signaling within your brain. These panic signals, in combination with changes in your heart and breathing rates, can lead to symptoms of headache, dizziness or light-headedness.
Read More: What Are the Symptoms of a Severe Panic Attack? | LIVESTRONG.COM
Panic Attacks and Panic Disorder
Panic disorder may be caused by problems in parts of the brain. Substance abuse. Abuse of drugs and alcohol can contribute to panic disorder. Major life stress . Stressful events and major life transitions, such as the death of a loved one, can trigger panic disorder. How Common Is Panic Disorder? Panic disorder affects about 2.4 million adult Americans. Panic disorder most often begins during late adolescence and early adulthood.
Source: Panic Attacks and Panic Disorder