Does Stress Cause Panic Attacks?

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Ask the experts

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.

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

REFERENCE:

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

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Reviewed on 7/24/2017
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