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What causes panic attacks, and how can you prevent them? - Cindy J. Aaronson

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Countless poets and writers have tried to put words to the experience of a panic attack— a sensation so overwhelming, many people mistake it for a heart attack, stroke, or other life-threatening crisis. Studies suggest that almost a third of us will experience at least one panic attack in our lives. So what exactly is a panic attack, and can we prevent them? Cindy J. Aaronson investigates.

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TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Cindy J. Aaronson
  • Director AIM Creative Studios, Vicente Nirō
  • Narrator Bethany Cutmore-Scott
  • Storyboard Artist Vicente Nirō
  • Animator André Cunha, Cristina Neto
  • AIM Creative Studios Producer Tom Knight
  • Sound Designer André Aires
  • Music André Aires
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Director Alex Rosenthal
  • Producer Bethany Cutmore-Scott
  • Editorial Producer Elizabeth Cox
  • Script Editor Emma Bryce
  • Fact-Checker Eden Girma
  • See more
Additional Resources for you to Explore
Panic attacks frequently occur in the population and can cause great distress and dysfunction. The attacks can be part of panic disorder itself or from another anxiety disorder. Understanding how these attacks occur and how to treat them can be very helpful to those who suffer or the friends/relatives of those who experience them.

Dr. Reid Wilson’s book: The Noise in Your Head is a great resource. He also offers a course on line. On his webpage, he offers video samples of his course, which can be helpful by itself.

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America’s (ADAA) website is filled with information about panic disorder and other anxiety disorders as well as depression. They also have a Find-A-Therapist option for getting treatment in your area that includes psychiatrists and psychotherapists.

The Association for Behavior and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) has fact sheets on each of the anxiety disorders, depressive disorders as well as other disorders with some videos and podcasts for the public. There is a Find Help option for CBT clinicians in your area.

Free self-help options from Canada and the UKhttps://www.anxietycanada.com/sites/default/files/adult_hmpanic.pdfhttps://www.mcgill.ca/counselling/files/counsellin...www.selfhelpguides.ntw.nhs.uk/penninecare/leaflets...

Dr. Robert Leahy”s book: The Worry Cure is a self-help book targeting worry anxiety in a more general way that does include worries about panic attacks.

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About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Cindy J. Aaronson
  • Director AIM Creative Studios, Vicente Nirō
  • Narrator Bethany Cutmore-Scott
  • Storyboard Artist Vicente Nirō
  • Animator André Cunha, Cristina Neto
  • AIM Creative Studios Producer Tom Knight
  • Sound Designer André Aires
  • Music André Aires
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Director Alex Rosenthal
  • Producer Bethany Cutmore-Scott
  • Editorial Producer Elizabeth Cox
  • Script Editor Emma Bryce
  • Fact-Checker Eden Girma
  • See more