Alternate Names : Panic Attacks, Acute Panic Attacks
A panic disorder is characterized by repeated panic attacks, or episodes of intense fear that strike without warning.
What is going on in the body?
The body has a natural "fight or flight" response to danger. When a person perceives some threat or danger, the autonomic nervous system is stimulated. This helps a person escape from danger. During a panic attack, the body's automatic nervous system is triggered for no apparent reason.
What are the causes and risks of the condition?
While the exact cause of panic disorder is unknown, genetics and social factors may play a part. Caffeine, cocaine, and alcohol also may cause the disorder. Panic attacks can be triggered by severe or prolonged stress. This disorder occurs more often in women than men.