Common symptoms of a panic disorder include sweating, dizziness, shaking or trembling, difficulty breathing, nausea and a feeling of dread, according to WebMD. During a panic attack, which lasts approximately 10 minutes, individuals may also have chest pain, hot flashes, chills or tingling in the toes or fingers.
Many individuals with panic disorders may also experience an intense fear of dying soon or fear of the loss of control over their life and surroundings, explains WebMD. Prior to panic attacks, people with panic disorders often fear future panic attacks and may become withdrawn and isolated to avoid situations or environments that prompted previous panic attacks.
A variety of factors can cause panic disorders such as environmental influences and biological predispositions, notes WebMD. A family history of panic disorders can be passed on to children who may ultimately develop a panic disorder as a child, teenager or adult. Brain abnormalities can potentially cause a panic disorder. Stressful life transitions and events may trigger feelings of dread and panic, such as a breakup, divorce, death of a loved one, residential move or loss of a job. Drug and alcohol abuse can also contribute to the development and persistence of a panic disorder.