Panic attacks are the highest level of anxiety. They are the reaction of your mind and body which is the end peak of your anxious distress.
Anxiety is natural in all animals on this planet. It has been designed to help us survive in the cruel world of predators and consistently prevalent dangers. It is the alarm system which fires to make us aware of dangers and take immediate actions to save ourselves from the danger. In short, anxiety is designed to save us from dangers while living and surviving on this planet.
As it comes to survival and anxiety helps us to survive, it is undoubtedly a very powerful response and is very distressing.
Panic attacks start to occur when the anxiety does not remain in a limit and it begins to show up without any real reason or need. They are very uncomfortable.
But panic attacks were designed to save us from dangers and help us fight with the threats or run away in order to save ourselves.
The origin of Anxiety and Panic can be traced back to pre-historic times!
Take an example of our ancestor, the cave man. The cave man families used to live in caves. As it was not the safest home, there was always a threat of attacks by wild animals for predation. Whenever there was some attack of any furious wild animal the cave people panicked and consequently fought for survival. They either fought and killed the animal or escaped from the place to save their lives. This is how they survived the danger of animal attacks!
This way panic attacks (highest form of anxiety) helped cavemen to survive.
This was the advantage of panic attacks to humans. This was just one example. Many examples can be given about how anxiety helps us to survive today in this modern world.
Whenever there is any threat we panic and start running here and there to get relief.
So where does it go wrong today?
As you might have experienced, panic attacks are extremely scary and discomforting. Only the sufferer can understand how do they feel like.
Taking the above example of the caveman, the modern man does not have that kind of threats which the caveman had thousands of years ago. Still, modern humans experience panic attacks. It appears they don’t have any real reason for their occurrence.
There is one very important point to be considered:
When the caveman panicked at the sight of a furious wild animal or a giant piece of rock rolling down a hill, he panicked for that situation only. That helped him to take actions to save lives.
But today we are not just afraid of dangers like wild animal attacks, accidents, earthquakes, etc. We are obsessed and afraid of the anxiety and panic itself. The dangers may or may not be there in this modern world but we are concerned about anxiety and panic. We fear them more than animal attacks or natural disasters. We are obsessed and scared of the imagined dangers more than the real dangers. We are scared of the sensations and the discomfort of anxiety itself.
This may be because of the stresses and strains of daily living, the competitive life in today’s world etc.
We are scared of the survival mechanism that has been designed to help us survive.
It is the fear of fear!
This marks the origin of panic attacks.