Thursday, August 21, 2008

Panic Attacks and Serotonin

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Anyway, for the past few days I have been researching on Serotonin. And here's an interesting fact: people who have depression, anxiety, panic-attacks and such, usually has very low serotonin level. For other words, low-level of Serotonin causes Panic-Attacks, Anxiety, and such.

That is why doctors will usually prescribe you SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor) medication or some other variations which helps to boost your Serotonin level. It takes roughly around a few weeks for the medication to kick-off. And yes, you should see some improvement in your condition within 3-weeks time.

Unfortunately, medications won't eliminate Panic Attacks or Anxiety forever in life. You may ask - Why?
Ok, you need to know that Panic-Attacks or Anxiety tends to form a habit or "learned behavior". It is integrated to the subconscious mind. For an example, when you drive your car, you will stop your car automatically when the red-light is on. It just happens without your knowledge or awareness.
To fully recover from your anxiety or panic-attacks - you need to break the pattern of that "learned behavior".

Then you might wonder how did we learn that pattern in the first place? Simple. Perhaps before your anxiety or panic-attack started, your Serotonin level is low - the cause could be because you're under too much stress, it could be long periods of sadness or any negative emotions. Yes, negative emotions makes your Serotonin production level to be low. When your Serotonin level is low, your chances of getting Panic-Attacks, Anxiety or Depression is very high. And I am sure you can remember your first panic-attack very well. Why? It has integrated to your mind - subconsciously and consciously - all by your 5-senses. It is like how you remember your first-kiss or your first big accomplishment - you can remember every single details because the feeling was so strong. The answer to full recovery? Break the pattern! Medication is just 50% to recovery and destroying the pattern of panic-attacks or anxiety is the other 50%.

And another cute interesting fact I found was that Serotonin can be naturally produced without medication!
I visited a few official medical sites with articles stating that Exercise, Exposure to Light, having more positive moods, a good Diet, and a few other ways are ways to boost your Serotonin production.
Also, here's an article describing on this weird herb called St John's Wort which helps boost Serotonin production:

"it is prescribed ten times more frequently than is Prozac. It appears that the action of St John’s Wort is similar to that of Prozac in that it prevents the break down of serotonin, and so keeps levels constant. Trials, which directly compare the effects of St John’s Wort with Prozac, are showing that St John’s Wort is more effective than Prozac in cases of mild to moderate depression "
- excerpted from Health Nutrition

Do note that they said it is effective for depression. But the keyword in the article is Serotonin.

Lastly, do you know why sometimes you are asked to avoid, say, Coffee when you have Anxiety Disorder or Panic Disorder? Answer: mistaken chain.
Caffeine in Coffee makes you alert. When you're alert, you tend to trigger the Panic-Attack or Anxiety cycle. And you know what is the answer to stop it.

Those who are new here: please browse around this site to learn more or navigate by the menu at the top. You need to understand the problem and formula because when you do you can solve everything.


Tim said...

So, how do you "break the pattern"? thank you.

Seng said...

Hey Tim,

The Distraction technique is one of them. Because whenever we have a panic-attacks, we follow a certain "process". Like you experience the symptoms first, then you begin to experience the full-blown panic attack later.

And yes, those breathing technique helps too.