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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Why Women Are More Prone to Panic Attacks

By Peter Smithe
Rapid heartbeat, trembling, migraine, tension, throat constriction, hot flashes, and sweating are some of the signs that a person is having a panic attack. The attacks are very sudden and are related to variety of psychological symptoms. There are no known obvious factors that trigger the attack and it will appear random. However, it is considered as a fight or flight response of the body.
Some studies seem to suggest that panic attacks affects girls more often than boys however there is no known reason why is it so. (In other words, this may or may not be true.) One of the possible explanations is genetic. The genetic makeup of women is more susceptible to anxiety and depression and since women more often have mood disorders than men, they are more likely to have this kind of condition.
Probably, another reason is hormonal changes. During adolescence, pregnancy and menopausal period, women have higher risk to panic attacks. The hormonal fluctuation during these times disrupts the chemical balance in the brain that increases fear and anxiety which in turn cause panic attack.
The first sign of attack usually occurs during late adolescence. During this time, women would undergo physical, emotional, mental and social changes. This is apparently due to hormonal changes women undergo. The changes trigger psychological symptoms including fear. The fear generates anxiety and then panic attack.
Usually, adolescent girls have more fear of social acceptance than boys. Since humans are social being, rejection from friends and peers may cause trauma. More often, people with panic disorder are considered perfectionist because they have constant fear of committing mistakes.
Women may also be more susceptible to panic attacks few years before menopausal period. In this time, the level of their hormone changes significantly, which cause psychological symptoms. These women, whether mentally healthy or not, would suffer from insomnia and hot flashes.
Once women had experienced panic attack, they will often develop a fear of another attack. As a result, they become anti-social and lock themselves in their home. They also have high risk of depression, drug abuse and suicide.
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