Does having a panic attack mean I have a mental illness?

Not everyone who has a panic attack has a mental illness. You may have had a one-off panic attack caused by something specific, like stress, injury, exhaustion, or drugs. Anything that causes your body and/or mind to be stressed or run down can cause a panic attack. Here’s a more comprehensive article about what can cause panic attacks.

While many mental illnesses can increase your chance of having panic attacks, and some mental illnesses are characterized by panic attacks and accompanying anxiety, one panic attack is not enough for a diagnosis.

If you are worried that you may have a larger constellation of symptoms, please see a mental health professional. If you are concerned that your panic attack may be part of a larger health issue, definitely see a medical professional.

Even if you can pinpoint the cause of your panic attack and believe it was a one-off caused by external circumstances, it can still be helpful to talk to a doctor after a panic attack to understand what happened and how to keep yourself healthy.

This article is part of the “So You Had A Panic Attack” resource guide. Go back to the SYHAPA index page