Skip to content

    Anxiety & Panic Disorders Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Panic Attacks and Panic Disorder - Cause

    The exact cause of panic disorder isn't clear. It is thought that it may be caused by an imbalance of chemicals in the brain (neurotransmitters). It also may be passed down through families (genetic).

    You can have a panic attack without having panic disorder. Panic attacks may be triggered by:

    Recommended Related to Anxiety Panic

    Understanding Generalized Anxiety Disorder -- the Basics

    Normal life includes some anxiety and fear. In a stressful situation, your brain triggers a flood of chemicals into the bloodstream. Your heart beats faster; your breath becomes shallow and rapid; muscles tense; your mind goes on full alert. It's all part of the human's innate reaction to a threat: You're ready to flee or fight. Sometimes anxiety and fear linger on and on. The feelings can be overwhelming. When they interfere with normal activities, there's a problem. Doctors call this kind of problem...

    Read the Understanding Generalized Anxiety Disorder -- the Basics article > >

    • Drinking large amounts of alcohol or abruptly stopping the use of alcohol.
    • Drinking large amounts of caffeine.
    • Chain-smoking. It greatly increases the amount of nicotine in the blood.
    • Taking certain medicines (such as those used to treat asthma and heart conditions) or abruptly stopping certain medicines (such as those used to treat anxiety or sleep problems).
    • Using illegal drugs, such as cocaine or marijuana.
    • Having high levels of stress for a long time.
    • Having recently had a baby.
    • Having recently had surgery or been under general anesthesia.

    Panic attacks also can be caused by or linked with other medical conditions, including:

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 14, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    1
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    young leukemia patient
    Article
    Unhappy couple
    Article
     
    embarrassed woman
    SLIDESHOW
    clown
    Quiz
     
    Phobias frightened eyes
    Slideshow
    podium
    Article
     
    organize
    Article
    stressed boy in classroom
    Article
     
    Distressed teen girl in dramatic lighting
    Article
    man hiding with phone
    Article
     
    chain watch
    Article
    tarantula
    Article