Experts have yet to determine what definitively causes panic attacks or panic disorder more generally. There may be a genetic predisposition, according to the American Psychological Association, or a certain biological marker, although one has yet to be found. Some psychologists believe that emotional factors may also contribute to the phenomenon.
“Factors like personality, biology and the issues underlying your anxiety are going to shape the experience you have,” clinical psychologist Chloe Carmichael told Mic. “Many times, we experience panic because we’re in denial about things that are bothering us. This disconnection keeps us from addressing the issues, and so the tension keeps building till it erupts in the form of panic that we can’t quite source.”
They’re not life-threatening, but should still be taken seriously.