The Top 5 Causes of Panic Disorder

Panic attack symptoms are very similar to those of a heart attack. Many people may mistake a panic attack for a heart attack when they Approximately 2.4 million Americans experience panic disorder each year. Panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder that causes recurrent, sudden feelings of intense fear, referred to as panic attacks. These attacks can occur anywhere at any time and often last several minutes or longer. Sadly, the fear of having another one often keeps people stuck in a vicious cycle.

What exactly causes panic disorder? Researchers do not fully understand why certain people struggle with this issue, but they have a few ideas. Below are five potential causes of panic disorder:


Some scientists believe that panic disorder is hereditary. Relatives of people with panic disorder are four to eight times more likely to develop symptoms as well.


Negative life events such as job loss, death of a family member or friend, physical accident, divorce, or other stressful situations can trigger panic attacks in many people. Emotions are at an all-time high, which can create intense anxiety.

Abnormal Amygdala Response

The amygdala is a small part of the brain that controls fear and helps process emotions. Scientists believe that some people’s amygdalas may malfunction, triggering fight or flight responses without warning or cause. Some people may also experience more intense emotions and have trouble processing them.


Women are twice as likely to develop an anxiety disorder than men. Some research suggests that fluctuations in hormones or hormone imbalance may be a contributing factor to panic disorder.

Excess Caffeine Consumption

Consuming a large amount of caffeine can get you through your workday by giving you loads of energy and focus. However, it can backfire on those with panic disorder by intensifying their symptoms.

What are the Symptoms of Panic Attacks?

experience one for the first time. In most cases, people usually suffer from one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness

  • Shortness of breath

  • Heart palpitations or rapid heart rate

  • Chest pain

  • Abdominal discomfort

  • Shaking

  • Headache

  • Tightness in the throat

  • Fear of dying

  • Sweating

If you’re experiencing panic attacks, you don’t have to suffer alone. Reach out to your family physician, get a medical evaluation, and discuss your options for treatment. Individual counseling is also an available option that can help you find healing. Contact Nurturing Hope & Healing Counseling to book your first session today.

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