What causes panic attacks?

Watch this episode of "Panic Free TV" to discover the ULTIMATE cause of panic attacks...


Hannah asks “What causes my panic attacks and how can I make them stop? I wouldn’t wish them on my worst enemy”

Hi, I’m Michael Norman and welcome to another episode of “Panic Free TV” Q&A. This is where as a scientist and anxiety specialist, I answer your most pressing questions relating to panic attacks — so that we can help you finally get back to normal, panic-free life again.

Now, Hannah’s question is a very important question, because while panic attacks are one of the most terrifying experiences anyone could EVER go through… what can make them even scarier is not knowing what’s causing them, why we’re getting them, or what we need to do to make them stop.

That’s why in this episode, I’m going to share with you a simple, counterintuitive insight — one that I’ve never seen talked about before, outside scientific circles — that explains the ULTIMATE cause of panic attacks.

This insight is essential for you to know about, because it gives us an accurate foundation from which we can help you finally END your panic attacks for good.

Now before we get to this insight, though, I want to be clear...

There are several ways I could answer Hannah’s question:

  • I could explain the various types of life experiences that often precede the first panic attack…
  • I could explain the hidden universal triggers that “cause” every “out of the blue” panic attack…
  • I could explain why certain situations or places might give you panic attacks, while others don’t…
  • Or I could explain the biology behind panic attacks and how anxiety alone can “cause” of all the physical sensations and experiences that a panic attack can create.

Each of these are important topics where a little understanding can bring a lot of reassurance and comfort, all by itself.

Since I can’t cover everything in this short video though… and since I’ve comprehensively covered so much of this already inside my free “Panic Free TV” Foundation Series… if you want the full answers right now, please watch that series.

All you need to do is click the link on the screen or in the description below, register your details, and you’ll get immediate access.

Again, it’s all completely free, and I think you’ll agree after you’ve started watching it… that it makes a very real, important, difference in your life.

So what’s the ULTIMATE cause of panic attacks?

Well to explain it, I’m going to share a clip with you from my free “Panic Free TV” Foundation Series.

It’s just a few minutes long, and after you’ve watched finished watching it… I’ll come back and add a few more essential insights, because I really want to make sure that you understand this fully.

- Clip Starts -

The most scientifically backed explanation for why so many of us have had panic attacks… is what Professor Randolph Nesse from Arizona State University has called… The Smoke Detector Principle. And the best way to explain it, is for us to do a quick, simple thought-experiment…

Which of these two smoke alarms would you prefer to have protecting you in your home?

Would you prefer to have smoke alarm that sometimes FAILS to go off, and stays silent, even though there’s a deadly fire in your house?

Or… would you prefer to have a smoke alarm that never misses a real fire, but occasionally goes off when you burn the toast, even though there is no danger, and everything is actually fine?

Now of course, we’d all prefer to have a perfect smoke alarm system, that never make any mistakes — but the reality is, we live in complex and often ambiguous world.

And so if you had to choose between one of these two options, what would you chose?

An under-sensitive smoke alarm that could miss a real fire and kill you?

Or an over-sensitive smoke alarm that occasionally has unpleasant, noisy false alarms… but never misses a real fire, and always keeps you safe?

It’s a simple answer, isn’t it.

When it comes to our survival — to our LIFE — it’s better to have an alarm system that errs on the side of safety, even if that means, we sometimes get false alarms.

So what does this have to do with panic?

Well, panic attacks are nothing more than “false alarms” of our over-protective, life-saving fear systems.

And while it probably hasn’t felt that way for you in the past… the truth is that a panic attack is “JUST” a terrifying, overwhelming, over-protective MISTAKE.

It’s a mistake, that ironically… is motivated by your brain’s #1 priority in life — to keep you safe.

Panic attacks are our brain and body, following the same “better safe than sorry” philosophy… that every good smoke detector system uses — and it’s far healthier, in fact it’s optimal… to have a fear system that is biased to be over-sensitive and to occasionally give us false alarms, than it is to have an under-sensitive system, that could miss real danger, that could kill us.So a panic attack is JUST an over-protective mistake.

The only real problem, and it’s a big one, is that it’s a terrifying mistake.

It’s a mistake that can leave us feeling exposed, vulnerable, and unsafe.

Even though no one dies from a panic attack, and even though panic could never ever make anyone truly go crazy… the “false alarm” of a panic attack often creates a very powerful ILLUSION, that these things could happen.

And that’s why I really believe, that you are…

- Clip ends - (To watch the full episode, click here)

So the ultimate cause of panic attacks is that we all have brains that are biased to take a better safe than sorry approach.

This is a very important, healthy bias to have — because if we didn’t all have this bias, we literally wouldn’t be alive as a species.

The downside though, is that again, like every good smoke detector system… sometimes mistakes happen and we get false alarms.

And while it might still be a little hard to believe right now… again, a panic attack is just an innocent, very well-intended, OVER-PROTECTIVE mistake.

It’s a mistaken effort to protect you, from a danger that’s not there.

So why do some people get panic false alarms, while others don’t?

And why have you experienced so many false alarms?

Well this is where other factors come into play — and I cover these factors and a lot more… inside my free “Panic Free TV” foundation series.

In this series I help take away the mystery and confusion surrounding what you’ve been going through, I explain how panic and anxiety really work, and I give you the foundations you need, to start you on your journey back to a normal, panic free life.

Again… my foundation series is totally free, and you can watch the first episode in full, right now, right here.

I hope this video has been valuable to you.

I’m Michael Norman, and thanks so much for watching.

FREE FACT SHEET: Discover how The Smoke Detector Principle gives you an essential foundation for a normal, panic free life.