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What Causes Anxiety?

Posted by Shannon Serpette on

What Causes Anxiety?

If you’ve ever felt worked up because of a work deadline you’re not sure you’re going to meet or a doctor’s appointment you’ve been worried about, you’re familiar with what anxiety is and how it feels. Why do people get anxiety? It’s a short term normal reaction to stress or fear.


But what does anxiety mean? It’s not always bad and even can be good for us in some cases. 


Think back to when you were in high school. Do you remember that feeling you’d get when you had a big test coming up? It served a purpose -- it spurred you to study harder than you would have if you weren’t anxious. So if you’re wondering what can trigger anxiety -- all kinds of things can, even a specific object or situation. 


But when you start to feel excessive worry much of the time, even when there isn’t a clear-cut reason for it, you may be experiencing a generalized anxiety disorder.


This condition can negatively impact a person’s life. It can feel like all they do is worry. They can’t help it, even when they know it is annoying the people in their life. That’s one of the things to remember if you love a person with anxiety. Their worries are very real to them, even if you think they are ridiculous.


Why Do People Get Anxiety?


Getting to the root of anxiety isn’t always easy. Since there are many sources of anxiety, it can be hard to determine exactly what is causing those panic attacks. But there are some known triggers.


Can stress cause anxiety? Yes, this can be a major contributing cause of nervousness. The stress might be about health problems, money troubles, family drama, or many other things. But that’s not the only cause of anxiety disorders. In addition to stress, here are some other common reasons:


  • Genetics: With some people, angst and panic attacks run in the family. 
  • Fear of rejection: This can lead to social anxiety. 
  • Medication: Some medications can cause restlessness and disturbance.
  • Relationships: Everyone needs relationships in their lives, but that doesn’t always mean they are easy.
  • Personality: Some personality types are more prone to excessive worry. 
  • Past experiences: Trauma, like serving in the military during a war or being a victim of violence, can increase your chances of a panic disorder.
  • Phobias: Specific phobias can lead to anxiety too.

You might wonder whether you have anxiety or the regular, everyday worries that most people have. To help you figure that out, you need the answers to this question:

What are the symptoms of anxiety?


The symptoms can include chest pain, panic, fear, sleep issues, tingling in hands or feet, shortness of breath, nausea, and dizziness. Often these symptoms can make you think you have an underlying medical condition. For instance, if you experience a lot of chest pain when feeling anxious, you might think you have heart disease.


Can anxiety kill you? In a way, you can scratch that off your list of worries. But long-term stress can lead to premature death, so finding how to reduce anxiety is important. Make sure to stay away from habits that make anxiety worse.


What Can Trigger Anxiety?


You may have some of the risk factors for developing anxiety. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll end up with an anxiety disorder. How is anxiety caused? Certain things may trigger different types of unease. Let’s look at some of the triggers that might influence whether you’ll experience it. 


What causes anxiety? Sometimes it isn’t a smoking gun -- there may be multiple factors working together to cause it. Let’s say your parents were both anxious people. That may give you the predisposition toward it too -- your brain chemistry may put you at risk. But you might not develop anxiety until there is a trigger in your life. You might be the victim of violence, feel bullied by another person, go on a certain medication, or face a series of stresses impacting your health, finances, or relationships. 


That trigger might happen early in life, such as when someone is in grade school. But it’s possible your anxiety won’t severely impact your life until you’ve reached adulthood. Once it is triggered it can be hard to shake.

How To Stay Away From Anxiety


If you’ve been suffering from anxiety or someone in your family has had a long struggle with it, it’s natural to want to find ways to keep it from affecting you.


Let’s say a panic attack has already hit you. One way to improve it is by seeking cognitive behavioral therapy. With this therapy, you team up with a mental health counselor for some sessions in which you identify and work on your particular challenges or issues. 


You might want to look into other methods of alleviating your issues, such as getting a heavy blanket for anxiety. The weight these blankets provide can be comforting, soothing, and can help you get a better night’s sleep. They’re good for anxiety issues but also work for medical conditions, such as Restless Leg Syndrome and autism.


When trying to deal with your issues, keep in mind what your triggers are and try to avoid them whenever possible. Here are some other tips to help you do that:


  • Don’t think too much about the future -- stay in the moment.
  • Take deep, calming, slow breaths when you feel anxious.
  • Remind yourself how unrealistic your worst-case scenarios that you’ve dreamed up actually are.
  • Exercise -- it can calm your mind.
  • Find a reason to laugh, whether that’s watching a sitcom on television or spending time with your best friend.
  • Stay away from caffeine and sugar if you find it makes you anxious.

Keep Working on Yourself


Everyone has issues they’d like to correct, whether they are physical, emotional, or mental. Keep trying to find a solution for your anxiety and remember that if you keep doing the work, it will get better with time. 


In the meantime, give yourself a break. Just because you’re struggling with anxiety doesn’t mean you’ve failed or that you’re damaged. You’re incredibly brave to keep trying to fix what’s wrong instead of letting it overtake you. 

Anxiety Blog Post Mental Health

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