We have a general tendency to relegate certain disabilities like a short attention span and impulsive behavior to problems during the formative years or mental shortcomings. This may not always be the case. Sometimes the cause of a low attention span and impulsive behavior may lie in the physical differences observed in people.
It is not the mind alone that is responsible for impulsive behaviors . The hormonal changes that take place in face of a perceived psychological threat also play an important role in our responses. A lot depends upon the release of stress hormones and whether the body plans to fight or run away from a particular situation. It is our response to stress that determines whether we will be able to maintain our focus and attention span while under stress.
Generally, people suffering from panic disorders have known to possess overactive adrenal glands. Adrenal glands are two triangular shaped glands situated near the kidney that secrete adrenaline and norepinephrine when the body is under stress. The amount of hormones released by the adrenal glands is determined by how we respond to stressors - actual or perceived. On the other hand, excess production of these stress hormones and cortisol, a stress fighting hormone, interferes with the production of serotonin and dopamine. Serotonin and dopamine are neurotransmitters that are responsible for mood stabilization and a sense of wellness.
It is easier explained with an example. Agoraphobia is one of such panic disorders caused by an overactive adrenaline disorder. An agoraphobic person is in morbid fear of open spaces and being caught alone in a public place. As such, people suffering from panic disorders are less likely to retain their calm as they are in constant fear. This is an indirect result of an overactive adrenaline disorder. A person suffering from panic disorders is prone to resort to impulsive reactions. These reactions arise from a constant fear that prevails over the psyche.
Sensitivities to medications, physical stimulus and sodium lactate can also give rise to panic disorders. Sodium lactate is the basic solution that is administered as intravenous fluids in hospitals. In the body it is produced naturally but in large quantities it can induce panic responses.
Overactive adrenal glands can also cause a rare disorder called Cushing's syndrome. Besides a change in appearance, general weakness and lethargy as well as increased growth of body hair even in women, it can also lead to mood swings and depression.
Overactive adrenaline disorders are best treated with prescribed medications and lifestyle changes that include eating sufficient quantities of fresh fruits and vegetables (especially green and leafy), salmon and tuna fish and avoiding alcohol, tobacco and caffeine. Exercise and proper stress management will also go a long way in controlling excessive production of the stress hormones.