Who is at Risk for Developing Panic Disorder?

by Eileen Bailey Health Writer

Millions of people in the United States experience panic attacks each year. But who is more at risk of developing a panic disorder?

There are a number of different factors that increase the likelihood of developing this disorder:

Family History

All anxiety disorders seem to be hereditary and therefore genetics play a large part in the chance of developing panic disorder. The dynamics of the family as well as psychological factors can also contribute to the incidence of panic disorder.


Females are diagnosed with panic disorder twice as often as males. This may be because women feel more pressure in catering to the needs of everyone around them and often place their own needs at the lower end of their priorities.


Other anxiety disorders, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and separation anxiety often begin in childhood. Panic disorder, however, is frequently diagnosed during the teen years or in the mid-thirties.


Children that are shy or children that have been victimized by bullies have a higher risk of developing panic disorder as well as other types of anxiety. In addition, children that have a difficult time dealing with uncertainty or worry constantly may have a higher risk of suffering from panic disorder.


Not having social connections has been shown to be high in those with anxiety disorders. A good network and social relationships help to lower the risk of developing panic disorders.


Panic Disorders, Risk Factors, 2006, Reviewed by Harvey Simon, MD, A.D.A.M. Health Information

Panic Attacks and Panic Disorder, 2008, Mayo Clinic

Eileen Bailey
Meet Our Writer
Eileen Bailey

Eileen Bailey is an award-winning author of six books on health and parenting topics and freelance writer specializing in health topics including ADHD, Anxiety, Sexual Health, Skin Care, Psoriasis and Skin Cancer. Her wish is to provide readers with relevant and practical information on health conditions to help them make informed decisions regarding their health care.