Is there a Correlation Between Depression and Panic Attacks? Know the Risks

You may have heard about anxiety and panic disorders before but until you experience one, you truly can’t know how devastating it can be.

Besides the immediate panic, disorientation, physical pain, and confusion, people who experience panic attacks are at a higher risk for developing depression. When and if treatment is sought, the depression may be the presenting illness, but the underlying cause (the panic attacks) is not discussed or dealt with, which can develop into a vicious cycle for the sufferer.

If you suffer from panic attacks, it’s important that you understand the correlation between this disorder and depression. Knowing the risks can make a difference and encourage patients to seek treatment sooner rather than later.

Mental Illness and Panic Attacks

Mental illness does not always play a part in panic attacks. Panic attacks can have various causes that don’?t include having a mental illness. A panic attack is the body?s response to an irrational fear. That doesn?t mean that it is ?all in your head,? but instead that the problem you are having has been blown out of proportion in your mind for a variety of reasons, resulting in a ?fight or flight? reaction in your body.

Situational Depression and Panic Attacks

Depression can result from changes, or situations, in our lives. These are often referred to as ?situational depression episodes.? Usually they are traumatic changes that we haven?t dealt with or haven?t found a successful way to deal with. Panic attacks are situations in life, and, as situations go, you can say that having a panic attack is pretty traumatic. So we must consider a panic attack as a situation that may cause depression.

Panic Attacks and Reality

Some who have panic attacks feel they are having a break with reality. This seems especially plausible when they visit the emergency room and the doctor finds nothing wrong with them. Or, the situation that seemed so real when they were experiencing the panic attack is not shared by others around them.

Panic attacks may occur once or twice in your life. The situation triggering it may be apparent and thus it may never happen again. For many, the attack is misunderstood and therefore goes untreated.

Why does it go untreated? Embarrassment is often the culprit. No one wants to look crazy or be thought to be unstable. As a result, you hide your panic attacks from others or try to downplay them as much as you can when they happen. Unfortunately, the thought that you have lost your mind stays with you and can lead to poor self-image and depression.

Depression Makes Panic Attacks Worse

Depression brings about a new set of circumstances for those suffering from panic attacks. It can lead to social isolation and further poor coping skills like drinking and drug use. On top of that, the panic attacks may continue, and worsen. The worst thing is that a person in this situation is not likely to seek treatment for a very treatable condition.

Panic attacks are not life-threatening, but not addressing them can lead to depression, which can be more serious. Get help from a health care professional for panic attacks and avoid these further complications.



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