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There are major causes of panic disorder, which include psychological, medical, and substance abuse.

To begin, psychological factors that contribute to panic disorder include the belief that it runs in families, suggesting that inheritance plays a significant role in diagnosing and treating the disorder.

Panic disorder may co-exist with bipolar disorder. Psychological factors tend to exaggerate normal bodily reaction to life events. There is evidence that suggests that hyperthyroidism, hypoglycemia, and related respiratory conditions can cause and/or aggravate a panic disorder.

There is strong evidence that links panic disorder to smoking, caffeine, and alcohol and sedatives. Cigarette smoking increases the risk of panic disorder and panic attacks.

Clinical studies suggest that there is a positive association between caffeine ingestion and panic disorder.

Lastly, although alcohol has been found to ease panic disorder symptoms, long-term use could actually cause panic disorder, which could worsen during alcohol intoxication.