It's not known what causes panic attacks or panic disorder, but these factors may play a role:

  • Genetics
  • Major stress
  • Temperament that is more susceptible to stress
  • Certain changes in the way parts of your brain function

Some research suggests that your body's natural fight-or-flight response to danger is involved in panic attacks. For example, if a grizzly bear came after you, your body would react instinctively. Your heart rate and breathing would speed up as your body prepared itself for a life-threatening situation. Many of the same reactions occur in a panic attack. But it's not known why a panic attack occurs when there's no obvious danger present.

May. 31, 2012

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