What Causes Anxiety Disorders and Anxiety?

What Causes Anxiety Disorders and Anxiety?

Many people have asked what causes anxiety in the brain, and sadly, there is no clear-cut answer. There are several factors responsible for anxiety and anxiety disorders. Read about them here.

Table Of Contents

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a normal response to stress and changes in life. Everyone experiences anxiety at some point in their life. However, these anxious feelings usually pass once the situation changes and the stressor has been removed.

What Causes Anxiety?

Often, life events predispose you to anxiety. The common sources of anxiety are: 

  • Work stress
  • School stress
  • Change of environment
  • Financial situations
  • Unpredictable world events
  • Loss of a loved one

Medical Causes of Anxiety

There are also medical causes of anxiety, including stress from a life-threatening illness, side effects of a medication, and symptoms of certain diseases like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

What Does Anxiety Feel Like?

How do you know if you are suffering from anxiety? It’s pretty simple. You feel tense, worried, emotional, and out of sorts. Don’t think anxiety is always a bad thing; it can help you cope with the stressors in your life and boost energy to help you focus.

Also read – The Mind-Body Connection: How Your Emotions Affect Your Health

Common Anxiety Symptoms

Symptoms of anxiety include increased heart rate, dizziness, fear, nervousness, restlessness, sweating, trembling, trouble concentrating, etc. 

Anxiety Disorders: Types, Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

It is normal to feel anxious in certain conditions, but when does that anxiety start becoming an anxiety disorder? Well, anxiety disorders refer to a state of chronic anxiety that affects your ability to function, interact with others, and respond to situations.

Also read: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: How Does CBT Work?

What are the Five Major Types of Anxiety Disorders?

There are five major types of anxiety disorders, which we’ve listed below.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder     

People with generalized anxiety disorder feel pressured and worry a lot even when there is no real trigger for these feelings. Most days, it can seem like the anxiety is spilling over from health, school, relationship, work, etc. Common symptoms of GAD include difficulty focusing, restlessness, and insomnia.

Panic Disorder

Panic disorder is an anxiety disorder that opens you up to sudden and intense panic attacks. In most cases, the trigger is usually facing things that scare you. Panic attacks can be so intense that they resemble heart attacks, so we advise you to go to the ER to be safe.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, is characterized by repetitive behaviors performed to prevent certain thoughts or make them go away. Classic OCD behaviors include compulsive handwashing, cleaning, counting, and checking. 

Social Anxiety Disorder

People who suffer from social disorders worry a lot about everything that can go wrong when they are in social situations. The illogical fear causes them to shut off and avoid social situations completely.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

PTSD is an anxiety disorder that usually develops after a traumatic ordeal. Examples of PTSD triggers are war, accidents, violent assaults, and the death of a loved one. 

Anxiety Disorders: Types, Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

Causes of Anxiety Disorders

While the exact cause of anxiety disorders remains unknown, a strong link has been established between the disorders and mental health conditions. Several factors and experiences play a role in anxiety and anxiety disorders.

As stated, certain factors can give rise to feelings of anxiety. These risk factors for anxiety include: 

  • Personality Factors

People with certain personalities are more disposed to anxiety disorders. For example, kids who grow up shy, as perfectionists, wanting to control everything, and with low self-esteem often end up suffering from anxiety disorders as teens or adults.

  • Stress

Stress plays an immense role in triggering anxiety. It is common to develop anxiety disorders during stressful life events like changing or losing a job, the death of a loved one, pregnancy, abuse, and family issues.

  • Physical Health Conditions

Research has attributed chronic physical issues to developing anxiety disorders. Some of such conditions include asthma, diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.

  • History of Mental Health Conditions

It’s no secret that genetics plays a role in diseases and inheritance. So, having a relative with mental health conditions predisposes you to the risk of anxiety and anxiety disorders.

  •  Other Mental Health Conditions

Most times, people with other mental health conditions also experience anxiety disorders. It is common to see people with depression also having anxiety attacks. 

  • Substance Abuse

It is also common to find people suffering from substance abuse battling an anxiety disorder. This is because alcohol and substance use tend to aggravate anxiety. 

Take the Anxiety Quiz here

Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders

Common symptoms include nervousness, fear, sweating, rapid heartbeat, and blind panic. These anxiety symptoms can make it difficult to get through the day and have a normal life.

Diagnosis and Management of Anxiety Disorders

A doctor can diagnose an anxiety disorder by performing physical exams, blood tests, and referring to your symptoms. Once diagnosed, an anxiety disorder can then be managed by psychotherapy (a mix of therapy and psychological counseling). Of all the forms of psychotherapy, CBT therapy is by far the best for managing anxiety disorder symptoms.

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Final Thoughts

Anxiety is a common stress response; it is short-lived and goes away once the stressor is removed. On the other hand, an anxiety disorder is a more intense form of anxiety that spans a long time and requires treatment to manage. For more information on this, take our quiz today.

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Kimberly Tytyk is a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach (INHC) and a Certified International Health Coach (CIHC). Following decades of personal experience transforming her personal health and achieving remission of autoimmune thyroiditis and PCOS, Kimberly completed her formal coaching training in 2021 at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. Her passions include deep nutrition, holistic and balanced living practices, regeneration, community-building, and finding bliss — usually in a cuddle with her husband and dog.