There can be many causes of panic attacks (emotionally or physically related) that differ in each individual case. At the onset, it appears as if there is no cause, but the reasons for the attacks may have been on-going for years.
The attack could be situational induced. In my case, I was attacked in an elevator and was unable to walk into one without having an attack for years.
It may occur to someone crossing a bridge. A friend of mind used to take his 'little blue pill' known as Valium each time he had to drive over a bridge.
Dr. Daniel K. Hall-Flavin from the Mayo Clinic said that what causes panic attacks are not known. But factors such as genetics, stress and certain changes in the way parts of your brain work could be the underlying cause. He also says that a sleep disorder can cause panic-like signs and symptoms.
If the attacks are frequent preventing someone to have a normal life, then they are suffering from chronic panic attacks, and need treatment A.S.A.P.
It’s important to talk with your doctor about your symptoms to rule out any physical or mental conditions such as the ones listed below.
There could be medical reasons from certain conditions such as asthma and heart disease, or from medications such as steroids and asthma - meaning that the symptoms of panic attacks could be a side effect from certain medications that contain antibiotics and Ritalin.
There could be biological reasons such as symptoms from post traumatic disorder, obsessive and compulsive behavioral disorders, mitral valve prolapsed, Wilson’s disease, hypoglycemia and even labyrinthitis might be possible causes of panic attacks.
Nutritional Deficiencies can also lead to causes of panic attacks such as those from the Vitamin B group due to infections and unbalanced diets. (Zinc or magnesium deficiency may be risk factors for panic
disorder), and especially food additives such as aspartame, either taken alone or in combination with food dyes.
Hereditary Disorders: children of parents who have had panic attacks, emotional breakdowns are more prone to inheriting the symptoms themselves.
Childhood Environment: children from a stressful, abusive or overly protected environment are also more prone to panic attacks. Traumatic incidents from childhood can also manifest the experience through panic attacks.
Life Changes: Emotional distress from failed marriages, loss of jobs, sickness and deaths in the family can also bring about panic attacks.
Chemical Stimulants: Chemical stimulants such as nicotine, caffeine, marijuana and other drugs can also cause panic attacks.
It is important to realize that situations affect different individuals at different levels. Some people have only one stimulus to set off a panic attack while for others it may be a combination of several factors. People who are stronger emotionally may not be affected at all even when they are exposed to these conditions.
You also need to realize that some of the triggers that cause a panic attack may be symptomatic of other underlying medical health problems.
If you or a loved one is suffering from panic and anxiety attacks and there is no known medical reason, it is usually fear. Read my treatment for panic attacks.
Note: It is essential to find out for sure, from your doctor, the cause of your symptoms so that the right form of treatment can be administered.