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Panic Disorder Causes

(Also Known As: Panic Attacks Causes, Panic Causes, Anxiety Panic Disorder Causes)

(Reviewed by: Paul Peterson, Licensed Therapist)

What Causes Panic Disorder?

The causes of panic disorder may be a combination of different factors that can trigger its occurrence. It is often believed that there is no single cause for panic attack to occur and it may be due to various factors as follows:

  • Genetic factor plays an important role in the development of panic disorder. Many studies support the fact that the condition does run in the family. However, there are also cases of panic disorder that occurred in individuals without any family history of the condition.
  • Brain abnormality also is one possibility that causes anxiety attacks in a person. It is believed that the body’s normal alarm system has been unnecessarily triggered resulting in the activation of the mental and physical reaction of the body to threat, even when there is no danger.
  • Panic attacks can also be triggered by major physical illness such as hyperthyroidism, hypoglycemia, labyrinthitis, mitral valve prolapse, and pheaochromocytoma
  • Life’s stressors, such as major life transitions and stressful events
  • Substance abuse and alcohol
  • Comorbidity with other psychological disorders, such as bipolar disorder and post traumatic disorder
  • Certain medications such as SSRIs
  • Fear can also stimulate the body’s fight and flight response which causes an automatic, rapid, and protective response without the need for conscious thought.
  • If the amygdala, a part of the brain that controls emotions, is dysfunctional, it can cause unnecessary stimulation of the body’s fear response.
  • Eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia nervosa
  • Stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine
  • Chemicals such as carbon monoxide in tobacco smoke

Could You Have Panic Disorder?

Panic Disorder Topics

Related Conditions

Anxiety Disorder NOS – Pathological Anxieties, Phobias, Irrational Fear, Depression
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – Psychological Defense, Trauma, Stress, Depression, Anxiety, Traumatic War Neurosis