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Are Panic Attacks Hereditary?

Panic attacks and panic and anxiety disorders have been under scrutiny for quite some time. Scientists have studied them in a number of cases and studies and to date have not found conclusive evidence to what causes panic attacks in certain individuals. Nor do they know why some people have anxiety disorders while others do not. However, we can take a look at the many theories about panic attacks and why they occur.


First, let’s look at heredity. Most scientists and doctors believe heredity plays a role in panic attacks and panic disorder. While they don’t believe panic disorders themselves are hereditary they do believe some of the factors that cause a person to have an anxiety disorder may be genetic.

If your grandmother for example had a panic disorder, then you may not have it. There isn’t a specific gene that is passed along. However, if you inherit several of the same genes that control brain chemistry and your body’s physical reaction to chemicals in your brain, then you may develop a panic disorder.
So heredity may predispose you to have a panic disorder.

Depression is also something that may or may not be hereditary, though there seems to be a definite genetic link. And depression and panic disorders often go hand in hand.


There are significant studies that have linked a person’s environment to developing a panic disorder. When you’re young, if you’re around people who are fearful, you may adopt those habits and behaviors. If a child isn’t encouraged to try their best and to feel confident, they may develop a panic disorder. As an adult, if you’re in a high stress environment, you can develop a panic disorder.

Stress can eat away at your body’s ability to manage anxiety and a panic disorder can develop.

Well Being

There are many theories that connect how well you take care of yourself physically and emotionally to panic disorders. This is due to the fact that many people who suffer from panic disorders are low in magnesium. And brain chemistry is directly connected to what you eat and exercise or physical movement. Someone who eats nutrient rich foods and takes good care of their body is less likely to suffer panic attacks.

And because many studies have shown a direct connection to brain chemistry and panic attacks, it makes sense that taking care of your health can make a difference.

Brain Chemistry

There are many unknowns when it comes to brain chemistry. What causes it to change? How does it affect your body? How does it contribute to panic attacks? What scientists do know is that the chemical and hormonal changes in your brain can impact panic disorders and panic attacks.

While there are many potential causes for panic disorders, one thing is certain – panic and anxiety disorders are treatable. If you believe you have a panic or anxiety disorder, visit your physician and get help.

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