Very simply the problem is in the interpretation of the physical symptom. To make a very banal example, did you ever understand that you suddenly get up after being relaxed for a while and feeling your head “turning”, like losing your senses? In this case, the explanation is simple: you got up in a hurry and the changes resulting from blood pressure have caused the feeling of dizziness.
One of the most studied models for understanding panic attacks is the so-called “vicious circle model” by David M. Clark, an expert scholar at Oxford University. The main assumption of Clark’s model is that panic attacks are the result of catastrophic interpretations of physical or mental events that are mistakenly considered as signs of an imminent danger such as a heart attack, collapse or choking sudden.
According to this model, the sensations that are “misunderstood” are especially those associated with anxiety, although in some cases they may also depend on physiological factors (as in the above example on sudden rise). Anyway, many normal physical sensations or physiological changes may be subject to misguided interpretation.
Why are you talking about a vicious circle? Because the panic attack is just the culmination of a sequence of sensations, thoughts, and emotions that reinforce each other, causing anxiety getting stronger until it comes to real panic.
The vicious circle of panic is therefore composed of three basic elements: emotional reactions, bodily sensations and thoughts about feelings (i.e. the negative interpretation of these). These factors are linked to each other and the circle can start from any of these, what does not change is how these elements affect each other.
When a person gets scared, gets anxious. When a person is anxious, several things happen on the body, among which there is an increase in heart rate. So in that situation, the heart, which already seemed to show a few more beats, usually began to increase the frequency of the beats. The more the beats increased, the more was convinced of having a heart problem. What happens when you are anxious?
It continues in the circle, until anxiety reaches so high levels that it becomes something more: pure panic.
Obviously, the vicious circle of panic is just one single element that can contribute to understanding the “panic attack”. Many other factors need to be considered to fully understand why a person develops such a problem.
The pattern of the vicious circle of panic is a general depiction of what happens during an attack of panic, but of course, it is not that simple. It is not enough to make sense of a certain event to fully grasp a certain problem and solve it, although certainly an explanation for these phenomena is usually good for those who suffer.
In fact, if an attack of panic has occurred, it is because there is something that has “provoked” it to the base. And this thing is absolutely personal, it is not possible to apply a single recipe for everyone or exhaust the subject with a single post. It is for this reason that if you are suffering from panic attacks it is important to turn to someone who can shed light on the reasons that have caused them to suffer.
The good news, however, is that panic disorder can be overcome. Returning to a full life, without limitations or crippling fears is not utopian. Many people have come up panic attack with their commitment and determination by the support of psychotherapist.