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panic attack article

There are several common situations that often trigger a panic attack:

Phobias

When a person has a phobia, they are more likely to suffer a panic attack when faced with the object of their fear. An example would be someone who has a fear of snakes encountering one in their front yard.

Social Events

People who are faced with an extremely intimidating public situation, such as a party where they don’t know anyone or being asked to speak in front of an audience, they might have a panic attack. This is especially true of those with social anxiety disorder.

Crowds

Large crowds, especially in tight spaces, can cause a person to have a panic attack. A person might feel smothered by being surrounded by a large number of people, or they may fear that the crowd will get in their way if they need to escape.

Enclosed Spaces

Riding in an elevator, walking down a tight hallway, or driving through a tunnel may trigger a panic attack because the person may feel trapped and unable to get away if any danger arises.

Substance Abuse

Drugs and alcohol, especially stimulants such as cocaine or methamphetamines, can cause stress on the body as well as the mind. They can also cause irrational thoughts to seem real, making the user sensitive to perceived danger whether real or imagined.

Other Issues

A person coping with anxiety, depression, or schizophrenia might experience a panic attack in relation to their feelings about their disorder. They also might be in a more sensitive emotional state because of their condition, which will make them more likely to suffer a panic attack in stressful situations.

Once a person has experienced a panic attack, they may develop panic disorder out of fear of another attack. Certain people may be more likely to suffer a panic attack than others. Some factors that might influence a person’s sensitivity to panic attacks and panic disorder include:

Major Life Events

Going through an event such as the loss of a family member, moving across country, or a divorce can make a person sensitive to suffering a panic attack if the right trigger presents itself.

Anxiety

Someone who is already predisposed toward being overanxious is more likely to look at certain situations with a sense of panic. This heightened awareness of anxiety can make them more vulnerable to panic attacks.

Heredity

While stressful events, dangerous situations, and phobias are what inevitably trigger panic attacks, some people may be genetically predisposed to suffer panic attacks in those situations. Studies suggest that a person with a family history of panic attacks and anxiety disorders is more likely to experience panic attacks and panic disorder than someone without a family history of these issues.

Related Reading:

Am I at Risk for Panic Disorder?

The Anatomy of a Panic Attack

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