Does Stress Cause Panic Attacks?

Last Editorial Review: 7/24/2017

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Does stress cause panic attacks?

Doctor's response

Panic attacks may occur alone of as part of a panic or anxiety disorder. In a panic attack, one experiences terror, fear, and a sense of loss of control. The symptoms may last for only a few seconds or for several minutes. Many people who have had panic attacks report a racing heartbeat, dizziness, shortness of breath, and a fear of impending death during the attacks. Panic attacks can follow upsetting or stressful situations, and stress does seem to be related to panic attacks in many people.

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Medically reviewed by Robert Bargar, MD; Board Certification in Public Health & General Preventive Medicine


"Panic disorder in adults: Epidemiology, pathogenesis, clinical manifestations, course, assessment, and diagnosis"