Symptoms of Panic Attacks
- Difficulty breathing
- Pounding heart or chest pain
- Intense feeling of dread
- Shortness of breath
- Sensation of choking or smothering
- Dizziness or feeling faint
- Trembling or shaking
- Nausea or stomachache
- Tingling or numbness in the fingers and toes
- Chills or hot flashes
- A fear that you are losing control or are about to die
What Causes Panic Disorder?
Although the exact cause of panic disorder is not fully understood, studies have shown that a combination of factors, including biological and environmental, may be involved. These factors include.
- Family history. Panic disorder has been shown to sometimes run in families. It may sometimes be passed on to people by one or both parents much like the risk for other complex diseases such as cancer or heart disease.
- Abnormalities in the brain. Panic disorder may be caused by problems in regulating brain areas that control the "fight or flight" response.
- Substance abuse. Abuse of drugs and alcohol can contribute to panic disorder.
- Major life stress. Stressful events and major life transitions, such as the death of a loved one, can sometimes trigger panic attacks, which can potentially recur and go on to become panic disorder.