When You Know What Causes Panic Attacks You Can Begin to Take Control

In order to start to eliminate your panic, it's important for you to know what causes it. When you know the cause you can be prepared and alert to the signs and symptoms. Awareness is the first step to making any kind of change, for if you are not aware, then you can not change it.

What Is A Panic Attack?

A panic attack is a sudden flow of severe, overwhelming anxiety and fear. Your heart may pound or it becomes hard to breathe. You feel dizzy and sick to your stomach. You may even think like you're dying or going crazy. And the worst part of it is that they may occur any time, anyplace, without warning!

Panic is a Body-Mind Phenomenon

Although the exact causes of panic and panic disorders are not well known, both the mind and the body are involved in causing panic attacks.

Stressful life changes such as getting married, having children, getting a job, etc. may cause episodes. The death of a loved one, a divorce, or job loss can also initiate panic attacks.

They may have physical causes. Some research suggests the tendency may be partially genetic, and studies with twins have shown the possibility of inheriting the panic disorder.

There also appears to be a connection with coming down with major illnesses and having panic attacks. An increase in the rate of panic attacks has been seen in some women during pregnancy.

Possible Physical Causes of Panic Attacks

If you're noticing symptoms of panic, it's important to visit your doctor to rule out the following physiological conditions as potential causes:

  • Mitral valve prolapse, a minor cardiac problem that happens when one of the heart's valves does not close properly
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Stimulant use (amphetamines, cocaine, caffeine)
  • Medication withdrawal

Other Known Causes

The following non-exhaustive list is here for your reference.

  • Adjustment disorder
  • Agoraphobia
  • Amphetamine abuse
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Chemical poisoning – Jet Fuel-4
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Cocaine overdose
  • Ecstasy withdrawal
  • Hashimoto's Thyroiditis
  • Hyperventilation
  • Inborn amino acid metabolism disorder
  • Marijuana abuse
  • Marijuana overdose
  • Myoclonic dystonia
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Panic disorder with agoraphobia
  • Panic disorder without agoraphobia
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
  • Rett's syndrome
  • Separation anxiety disorder
  • Social phobia (affects over 10 million Americans)
  • Specific phobias
  • Stress
  • Substance-induced anxiety disorder

Medications and Drugs Known to Cause Panic Attacks

  • Cannabis
  • Catovit
  • Charas
  • Ecstasy
  • Hash
  • Marijuana
  • Mazindol
  • Prolintane
  • Sanorex

These causes affect over 1 million Americans:

  • Agoraphobia – panic attacks
  • Hashimoto's Thyroiditis – panic attacks
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Panic disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

In addition – if you have a panic disorder, without treatment, you may develop a fear of having panic attacks! This often actually causes a panic attack and the cycle begins. Often, the sufferer of panic will convince himself / herself so convincingly that they are dying that many feel the need to visit the emergency room!


There are many potential causes of your panic attacks, ranging from stress to life changes to substance abuse and side effects of medication. When they repeat, the sufferer may actually become afraid of having another attack This fear can actually cause one, creating a draining cycle.

By knowing the potential causes of your suffering, you can better control your situation and your state of mind, helping you head off the situations that cause panic in you.

This article can not, and should not, stand alone as the sole medical or psychological intervention for any disorder. Any individual with a medical or psychological problem should first consult a qualified health care provider for diagnosis and professional advice.

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