BOSTON—In a major new study that examined the cases of more than 2,000 people of various ages and backgrounds, a paper published Friday in the Journal Of Behavioral Medicine found that the majority of panic attacks involved an anxiety the victim knew well. “In 92% of cases, sufferers were already acquainted with the stress responsible for their acute episode of fear and dread,” said Boston University psychologist and study co-author Jason Kittle, adding that panic attacks were most often caused by social phobias, intrusive thoughts, financial worries, and relationship issues that victims had encountered on a regular basis. “Many people who experience panic attacks are blindsided, because they are so familiar with these anxieties, having come face-to-face with them many times before at family gatherings, parties, or the office. The sufferer frequently knows the anxiety intimately and may even have lived with it for decades.” The study also found that the majority of panic attacks go unreported, meaning most victims are never given the opportunity to confront their anxieties and stop them from doing the same thing again and again.
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