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Why Do We Panic?: Scientific American

Stashed in: Stress, Brain, Psychology!, Anxiety

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Crippling fear sounds terrible:

What are the roots of such incapacitating attacks? Psychologist David H. Barlow of Boston University, who has conducted pioneering research on understanding and treating panic disorder and related disorders, and others believe that panic attacks result when our normal “fight or flight” response to imminent threats—including increased heart rate and rapid breathing—is triggered by “false alarms,” situations in which real danger is absent. (In contrast, the same response in the face of a real danger is a “true alarm.”)

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