What is the etiology of panic disorder?

Updated: Mar 27, 2019
  • Author: Nita V Bhatt, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: David Bienenfeld, MD  more...
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Panic disorder appears to be a genetically inherited neurochemical dysfunction that may involve autonomic imbalance; decreased GABA-ergic tone [10] ; allelic polymorphism of the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene; increased adenosine receptor function; increased cortisol [11] ; diminished benzodiazepine receptor function; and disturbances in serotonin, [12] serotonin transporter (5-HTTLPR) [13] and promoter (SLC6A4) genes, [14] norepinephrine, dopamine, cholecystokinin, and interleukin-1-beta. [15] Some theorize that panic disorder may represent a state of chronic hyperventilation and carbon dioxide receptor hypersensitivity. [16] Some epileptic patients have panic as a manifestation of their seizures. Genetic studies suggest that the chromosomal regions 13q, 14q, 22q, 4q31-q34, and probably 9q31 may be associated with the heritability of panic disorder phenotype. [17]

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