Panic Attacks and Panic Disorder
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 (Reference neurotransmitters Opens New Window). 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:
- 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 Reference general anesthesia Opens New Window.
Panic attacks also can be caused by or linked with other medical conditions, including:
- Reference Thyroid Opens New Window problems, such as an overactive thyroid (Reference hyperthyroidism Opens New Window).
- Heart problems, such as Reference mitral valve prolapse Opens New Window.
- Seizure disorders, such as Reference epilepsy Opens New Window.
- Reference Asthma Opens New Window.
- Respiratory problems, such as Reference COPD Opens New Window.
- Stopping the use of a prescription medicine, such as a heart medicine.
- Reference Anxiety disorders Opens New Window such as Reference post-traumatic stress disorder Opens New Window or Reference obsessive-compulsive disorder Opens New Window.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference September 7, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference Lisa S. Weinstock, MD - Psychiatry