Evolution is a wonderful thing. But it takes too much time! Our body developed mechanisms to protect itself from the wilds of nature. And we still can't shake 'em.
Stress and desire for sweets. To give you a sudden rush of energy.
Stress and waking with the morning light. To save you from wild animals.
Stress and gastrointestinal motility. To focus all body energy and function on alertness.
Stress and panic attacks.
Do you see a pattern here? Those persons whose genetic makeup reacted quicker and stronger to stress... SURVIVED! We are products of that evolution. The exciting idea from this is that if you suffer from panic attacks you just may be on the cusp of a new evolution!!! :-)
Our nervous systems are crudely evolved biological devices that developed under the caveman stresses of either running or facing the wild beasts of nature. Modern man and woman now have complex lives and stresses but the nervous system knows to react with only the old "caveman" response. IF you are telling yourself (and believing) that SOMETHING IS SERIOUSLY WRONG and are LOSING CONTROL...well the resulting fear response can keep you awake, race your heart and stops some of your normal bodily functions - all in an attempt to get ready to escape (protect you) from the "wild beast". Also your brain "catalogs" the situation and location where these panic attacks occur. No wonder why phobia's develop. The body is making you remember where this happened for you to avoid it - as if it was an attack by a wild beast.
But, in reality, who and where you are fearing is yourself and your exaggerated self talk and beliefs (this is what Cognitive Behavior Therapy is all about). You get trapped in the cycle of some "different" feeling occurring/fear of it/nervous system reaction/more worry/more fear.
So what to do?
Remember that our crudely developed nervous system knows only to run from the wild beast OR face it. You are constantly running...and it never goes away. You don't face it (resolve it). To face it means to let WHAT you fear get to you...to lay down your "fight" and lose the battle - willingly let whatever you are afraid of ...do whatever to you. You also need (first of all) to be reassured by the medical profession that there is nothing "doing" this to you. Your response to panic is a form of extreme worry but panic is 100% apprehension. That is ALL that panic is. When you face your fear you are giving up the apprehension. Panic can't exist. If there is slightest doubt or fear of "losing it", or looking over your shoulder - all forms of "running" ...it will remain active.
It's the only way to resolve it.