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What Causes Anxiety? - the 7 main Causes

Gloria Goodwin's picture
What Causes Anxiety? - the 7 main Causes

The unpleasant feeling that you develop when you are apprehensive, worried or stressed out is referred to as anxiety. According to experts, anxiety is your response to stress in your life, physical or emotional. Often, anxiety is caused by external factors, but negative self-talk can also contribute to anxiety. Depending on the type of anxiety disorder, symptoms may vary. However, in general, the symptoms are panic, fear, uncontrollable and obsessive thoughts, sleeping problems, cold or sweaty hands and/or feet, palpitations, muscle tension, dizziness, etc. A number of factors can trigger anxiety in you.

Seven major factors that can cause anxiety in you are:

1. External and Environmental Factors

Everyone experiences stress every day, but at varying levels. Depending on your experiences in life, it can be healthy or unhealthy. If you are experiencing positive gains, you may feel a positive stress. Experts call this eustress. Typically, you experience eustress when you get a promotion in your job, buy a new or expensive product, etc. On the other hand, if your life experiences are not very positive, you experience unhealthy stress. Different types of anxiety are caused by environmental factors such as:

  • Victimization, abuse and a loved one's death.
  • Stress due to relationship issues, divorce, etc.
  • Stress at work.
  • Stress at school.
  • Stress caused by finances and money.
  • Stress caused by a natural disaster.
  • Oxygen deficiency at high altitude areas.

2. Trauma

Sometimes certain events that occur in your life can cause trauma. For example, a bad experience because of being in dark room alone for a long time, an accident, drowning or a fall from a tree, etc., is difficult to forget. Some of these events can leave an imprint in your mind and you may feel nervous when you recall them.

3. Medical factors

Anxiety has been associated with such medical factors as asthma, anemia, infections, and many heart conditions. Some of the medically-related causes that can contribute to anxiety include:

  • Stress experienced because of a serious medical illness.
  • Medication side effects.
  • Symptoms of a medical condition.
  • Lack of oxygen due to pulmonary embolism or emphysema.

4. Substance use/abuse, Withdrawal from Addiction

If you are addicted to drugs such as cocaine or amphetamines, alcohol, smoking or even Internet, you will experience anxiety when you are denied access to your object of obsession. According to estimates, half of the patients who undergo treatment for anxiety disorders like GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder), panic disorder, social phobia, etc., are those who are benzodiazepine dependent. Withdrawal from drugs like heroin and prescription medication like Vicodin, benzodiazepines or barbiturates can also cause anxiety disorders.

5. Abnormal Brain Chemistry

Research studies have shown that presence of abnormal levels of some neurotransmitters in your brain can cause GAD. The network of internal communications can break down if the neurotransmitters in your brain are not functioning properly. This can make the brain react in an inappropriate manner in certain situations, leading to anxiety.

6. Genetics

If you have a family history of anxiety disorders, the chances of you developing it are very high. This is to say that you are genetically predisposed to anxiety disorders if any of your family members have suffered or are known to suffer from this condition.

7. Fluctuations in Hormone Levels

If you are a female, you will experience hormonal changes every month during menstrual cycle from puberty to adulthood. You may feel restless during these days and may experience difficulty in handling the daily routine jobs. Even menopausal women experience anxiety because of a decline in the production of hormones. You need to take the help of a clinical psychologist, psychiatrist or a mental health professional to diagnose if you experience anxiety. A physician may take your personal and medical history, conduct a physical examination and ask you to get some laboratory tests done. There is no specific laboratory test to diagnose anxiety, but tests may provide some useful information. In order to be diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, you must have experienced anxiety that interferes with your daily living for at least a period of six months, found it difficult to handle your worries and have certain symptoms such as fatigue, restlessness, irritability, etc. Summarizing, all of these causes either in isolation or in combination can contribute to anxiety disorder. Even health challenges such as blindness, disability, overweight, malnutrition, allergic rhinitis, etc., can increase your stress levels and cause anxiety disorders. It is not possible to prevent anxiety. Therefore, you need to learn to manage the anxiety by learning to change your thinking.

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