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"Sister Saw Me Having a Panic Attack and Thinks I'm Faking - What Can I Do to Make Her Understand?"

A panic attack is not a mental weakness, but a natural response of the body's "fight or flight" mechanism.

The symptoms of a panic attack can peak within minutes and subside within 20-30 minutes, although the aftermath can last for hours.

Panic attacks can be caused by genetics, major life stressors, substance abuse, or medical conditions such as thyroid problems or mitral valve prolapse.

Hyperventilation during a panic attack can lead to feelings of derealization or depersonalization, making the person feel detached from reality or their own body.

The amygdala, a small almond-shaped structure deep within the brain, plays a crucial role in triggering the fear response during a panic attack.

People with panic disorder may experience anticipatory anxiety, where they constantly worry about having another panic attack.

Avoidance behaviors, such as avoiding certain places or situations, can reinforce the fear of having a panic attack and worsen the condition.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can help people with panic disorder identify and change negative thought patterns that contribute to their panic attacks.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are common medications used to treat panic disorder.

Exposure therapy, a type of CBT, involves gradually exposing the person to situations that trigger their panic attacks in a safe and controlled environment.

People with panic disorder may experience "limited symptom attacks," where only a few symptoms of a panic attack occur.

Panic disorder affects approximately 2.7% of the adult population in the United States.

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