What Causes Anxiety

what causes anxiety

Anxiety causes a great deal of distress and havoc in the lives of those it affects. Although there is no question that several anxiety disorders exist, it is not always entirely understood why those who suffer from these disorders experience them.

An anxiety disorder is a mental health condition that is commonly believed to be triggered by one or a combination of factors that may be psychological, biological, medical, or something else altogether. There may be a genetic link as well, with many sufferers having family members who also have some form of anxiety disorder.

In cases where psychological factors are involved, anxiety causes may be linked to a traumatizing life experience. For instance, a phobia that develops when a person believes that certain situations are more dangerous than they are in actuality, are often – but not always – connected to a past experience that was perceived as terrifying to the individual. For example, a child that was bitten by a dog may fear this will happen again and develop a phobia of dogs.

Likewise, post-traumatic stress disorder often occurs after a person has experienced a life-threatening event (i.e. car crash, witnessing a death, war, etc.) and develops an extreme, and sometimes paralyzing, fear of elements associated with that event.

That said, not all phobias evolve from real-life events. Some can occur without rational explanation. There are even Anxiety disorders that may be brought on by thoughts and/or behaviors that a person inherited or developed out of habit or through experience.

As for biological anxiety causes, researchers have found that brain chemistry problems are sometimes behind anxiety disorders. There are specific neurotransmitters in the brain that are directly linked to anxiety, such as norepinephrine, serotonin, and GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). These neurotransmitters can cause an anxiety response when a person is not in any real danger.

Medical condition anxiety causes can include thyroid problems, anemia, depression, and conditions that affect the lungs, brain, and heart. Hormonal changes are another factor that can lead to a spike in anxiety symptoms in women, especially when they are in their perimenopausal and menopausal stages of life.

Additionally, substance abuse and certain medications can heighten anxiety and make symptoms worse. Examples of some anxiety-causing substances include: caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, marijuana, amphetamines, cocaine, diet pills, decongestants, cold remedies, bronchodilators, thyroid medicines, ADHD medications, etc.

As you can see, there are several anxiety causes. Helping to pinpoint the origin of an anxiety disorder can result in better diagnosis and treatment of the condition.

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