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Panic Disorders: Situations and Causes of Panic Attacks

Abstract: Panic attacks mostly occur at home, rather than in the special situations which the person fears.

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Panic Disorders: Situations and Causes of Panic Attacks

Intelligent natural language question-answering in the area of psychology and psychiatry. Ask a simple question  Local help Info

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Written by: Martin Winkler
First version: 22 Jul 2008.
Latest revision: 22 Jul 2008.

In which situations do I have to be prepared for the occurrence of a new panic attack?
Where do panic attacks occur more frequently?
Is it more safe to stay at home if I want to avoid having panic attacks?


The occurrence of panic attacks is connected to specific fears and/or experiences of the patient, particularly if an avoidance behavior and/or a Agoraphobia/Claustrophobia is developed. It is however quite interesting that contrary to (distorted) expectations by patients the panic attacks usually do not occur in the particular fear situations. Rather the opposite: While most patients in fear of having panic attacks remain at home, over 45% of the panic attacks occur at home. On public transportation (buses, trains aso), which many patients with panic disorders are avoiding, only 3% of all panic attacks occur. Further typical situations where panic attacks might occur: Department stores (13%), on the road (9%), driving a car (11%), work (5%), in the homes of friends (8%), in restaurants (6%).

There is also no real evidence that people would develop Agoraphobia/Claustrophobia from bad or traumatic experiences in particular places (e.g. being stuck in the elevator). However such a situation could lead to renewed anxiety symptoms if no adequate therapy (exposure and/or confrontation therapy) is set in.

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