What Causes Panic Attacks?
Panic disorders are a medical condition that have only recently been recognized in the medical community. Unfortunately, the full reason as to the origin of their cause has not yet been identified. Studies show that a combination of biological and environmental factors could play a part in why an individual has a panic disorder. However, there are other factors that could also contribute to a person’s likelihood of developing a panic disorder.
Genetics – Just as family history can contribute to your eyes being blue or your hair being red, genetics are believed to be a cause for panic disorders. Recent studies have shown that there is a likelihood of a panic disorder being passed onto a child if symptoms are present in one or both parents. However, since panic disorders were not diagnosed or tracked in the past, the information surrounding this is limited.
External Stressors – Studies show that people who go through major life events and transitions are likely to experiencethe symptoms of a panic disorder. For instance, events like a divorce, marriage, birth of a child, or death of a loved one can trigger anxiety and stress.
Chemical Imbalance – There may be a chemical imbalance in certain areas of the brain that could trigger a panic disorder. This is something that would have to be determined by your doctor.
Alcohol and Drug Abuse – When a person uses illegal or over-the-counter drugs and/or abuses alcohol there is the possibility that panic disorder symptoms can be experienced.
Finally, there are other physical and medical conditions that can cause a panic disorder. It will be important for you to meet with a doctor who can perform tests to find out if your panic disorder comes from an underlying medical condition. For instance, certain substances and medical conditions can mimic the symptoms of a panic disorder, such as:
- Use of stimulants such as cocaine or caffeine
- Medication Withdrawal
- Mitral Valve Prolapse: this is a minor heart problem related to a malfunction with one of the valves of the heart