Meditation can help know the panic triggers and help overcome them… American Psychological Association estimates that one out of every 75 people might experience panic attacks. Anxiety and Depression Association of America noticed that about six million American adults experience panic disorder in a given year. They are further of the view that women are twice as likely as men to have panic disorders.
A panic attack is characterised by unexpected bouts of terror, typically accompanied by a pounding heart, sweatiness, weakness and dizziness. The duration of a panic attack usually lasts for more than 10 minutes. Since most of the characteristics of panic attacks are similar to that of heart attack, people rush to hospitals fearing for their lives.
Even though a genetic predisposition to anxiety disorders is not ruled out, stressful situations in life are also set to trigger a panic attack.
Barbara Sahakian, a clinical neuropsychologist at the University of Cambridge, believes that most of the anxiety disorders are due to the lifestyle changes and pressures of daily life. Imbalance in the level of certain neurotransmitters in the brain are also said to make a person more susceptible to panic attacks.
Meditation increases the levels of neurotransmitter serotonin in our brain leading to happier moods.
A review of 47 clinical trials involving more than 3,500 participants with mild anxiety or depression found that those who took mindfulness meditation classes experienced improvement in mood after eight weeks — at par with the effect seen with prescription medications.
This study led by Madhav Goyal of Johns Hopkins University published in early 2014, substantiates the effectiveness of meditation for people having anxiety problems.
For people who have had panic attacks and those prone to them, it is advisable to meditate regularly along with regular medication to lead a less anxious life.
A word of caution: Do not try sitting meditation when going through a panic attack as it can make the situation tougher to manage.