Surprisingly Common Anxiety Triggers
9 Surprisingly Common Anxiety Triggers
In a world of growing mental health awareness, it comes as no surprise that anxiety is one of the leading diagnoses. While it’s perfectly normal to have some anxiety on a fleeting basis, it’s not normal for it to wreak havoc on your day-to-day life. What triggers one person’s anxiety may not even register on the radar for another, so it’s important to learn and take stock of what may or may not provoke your anxiety.
Topping the list, caffeine can do many things, including inducing anxiety. It can be great in small doses, though tolerance levels will vary from person to person. In some people, too much caffeine can be a trigger that worsens existing anxiety. Fortunately, it’s also an easier trigger to control. For example, some people may find their anxiety improved simply by cutting back from three to two cups of coffee.
2. A Messy Home Environment
3. Self Neglect
Self-neglect and self-care are often tough pills to swallow, but yet still surprisingly common in the world of anxiety. Neglecting yourself and not taking care of your personal needs can be an anxiety trigger. Whether you’re not showering regularly, skipping meals, staying up too late or not going to the doctor, it’s important to evaluate these behaviors and work to take better care of yourself. If you are struggling with getting these tasks done, there may be more at play, such as depression, which can sometimes go hand-in-hand with anxiety.
Adolescence And The Use Of Parental Worry
I have never seen a single case of this in over 40 years that could not be better explained by another diagnosis. The judgment that a rage response is “out of proportion” to an environmental stimulus is usually based on the evaluator’s lack of knowledge about a patient’s prior experiences which determine why the patient finds something upsetting.
To summarize, for panic disorder, as opposed to the occasional panic attack, the conventional psychiatric wisdom is that they occur âout of the blueâ rather than as responses to environmental threats. If they only occur in the presence of one or more specific environmental threats, say snakes, then the person is diagnosed with a specific phobia instead of panic disorder â a snake phobia in this case.
Panic disorder might be considered a prime example of something that would pit “biological” psychiatrists against psychotherapists. In people who suffer from panic disorder, the attacks do seem to come out of nowhere. Sufferers can be sitting quietly in their house doing almost nothing when one comes on. They can even be jolted awake from them in the middle of the night, without having had a nightmare. A tendency to have panic attacks tends to run in families, so clearly some people are more genetically prone to get them than others.
So does this mean that panic disorder is purely and entirely a brain disease? Is its classification as an anxiety disorder incorrect? Does it have nothing to do with chronic stressors?
Why We Need To Make Sure People Understand The Difference
While conducting research for this article, we encountered more than a dozen mental health professionals who mistakenly believed the terms anxiety attack and panic attack were synonymous. They were licensed professionals, but none of them had a specialty in anxiety. Because anxiety attack is not a clinical term, they assumed it was a synonym for panic attack. This caused them to use the terms interchangeably, which can often confuse the issue even more.
People who deal with anxiety attacks or panic attacks often make similar mistakes. Some suffer from panic attacks but use the term anxiety attack to describe their symptoms and vice versa.
This confusion is why potential therapy clients and other anxiety sufferers need to educate themselves more on the topic or work with an anxiety specialist who really understands the differences. If you dont understand the terms and their differences, you might end up treating a panic disorder that you dont actually have. In the worst case scenario, you could even become dependent on a medication you dont need. Thats why its vital to seek out information about your specific condition and work with someone who is knowledgeable about the challenges that your unique condition presents. With luck, this article has been helpful in shedding some light on the differences between these similar terms!
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What’s The Difference Between Anxiety And An Anxiety Disorder
If anxiety is just part of being human, how can it also be an illness? The difference is in what causes the anxiety to occur and the extent that it impacts your quality of life. Feeling anxious before you write an exam may not feel good, but its manageable and you feel better when the test is over. Normal anxiety is:
A response to a specific situation or event
Proportional to the situation of eventa minor issue causes a little bit of worry while a larger problem might cause a lot of anxiety
Realisticworries or fears are a response to something that could happen
Time-limitedanxiety starts to fade away as the situation or event is resolved or passes
Problematic anxiety is much stronger, lasts longer, and is harder to control than normal anxiety. It can be a real barrier in people’s lives and prevent them from pursuing their usual activities. When people experience anxiety disorder, anxiety:
Feels like it comes up for no reason or comes up when you aren’t in danger
Is much stronger than you’d expectfor example, you feel a lot of anxiety over a very small issue
Is unrealisticyour worries or fears focus on situations or outcomes that are unlikely to ever come true
Is a lasting patternthe same things or situations bring up a lot of anxiety every time, or you feel anxious most the time
Anxiety Is Not Uncommon
Anxiety is scary. It gnaws at you wherever you go, sapping the joy out of life. You could be safe at home with your family and still feel it a constant worry buzzing in the back of your mind that can grow into panic. It can make your most important tasks feel impossible. Who can work, drive a car, or care for children when they can only focus on their intense feelings of fear? Its even worse when you have no idea why youre anxious. If you cant understand it, how can you explain it to your family, friends, or co-workers? Anxiety can make you feel isolated, and no one should have to go through a scary time alone.
If youre experiencing anxiety, youve got company. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illnesses in our country, afflicting about 40 million adults a year. And although effective treatment is available, only 36.9% of sufferers are treated. People may feel embarrassed about admitting that theyre anxious. They may be dismissive of their anxiety. Or, they may not be aware that frequent anxiety is a mental health problem. But awareness of your anxiety is the first step in getting treatment for itand in understanding its causes.
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What If I Am Not Happy With My Treatment
If you are not happy with your treatment you can:
- talk to your doctor about your treatment options,
- ask for a second opinion,
- get an advocate to help you speak to your doctor,
- contact Patient Advice and Liaison Service and see whether they can help, or
- make a complaint.
There is more information about these options below.
You should first speak to your doctor about your treatment. Explain why you are not happy with it. You could ask what other treatments you could try.
Tell your doctor if there is a type of treatment that you would like to try. Doctors should listen to your preference. If you are not given this treatment, ask your doctor to explain why it is not suitable for you.
A second opinion means that you would like a different doctor to give their opinion about what treatment you should have. You can also ask for a second opinion if you disagree with your diagnosis. You dont have a right to a second opinion. But your doctor should listen to your reason for wanting a second opinion.
An advocate is independent from the mental health service. They are free to use. They can be useful if you find it difficult to get your views heard. There are different types of advocates available. Community advocates can support you to get a health professional to listen to your concerns. And help you to get the treatment that you would like.
The Patient Advice and Liaison Service
You can find your local PALS details through this website link:
You May Feel Fine Just Before It
If youre having a subtle panic attack, it may feel like it is coming out of nowhere. This sensation may be because more serious panic attacks tend to occur when your body is already under significant stress.
Things like hunger, anger, loneliness, feeling tired or stressed can make the panic sensations more difficult to control, Dr. Sarangasays. If youre having a subtle panic attack, then, it may be because your system is feeling stronger in the moment.
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What Is Anxiety And What Are The Symptoms
Lets start with the basics. What does anxiety mean?
Here are some words to describe it: apprehension, fear, dread, trepidation, nervousness, butterflies in your stomach.
There are three anxiety disorders: panic disorder, social anxiety disorder and generalised anxiety disorder.
Were going to be dealing with the latter, but just in case you also suffer from panic disorder, be sure to read my article on how to stop panic attacks in their tracks.
How Can I Calm My Anxiety Fast
Medication is an option for long-term anxiety. But, they are not always an instant fix. Anti-anxiety medications, such as Ativan, Klonopin, or Xanax, can work quicklywithin minutes or hours. Antidepressant medications, sometimes used to treat anxiety, can take a few weeks to reach maximum effectiveness. As Heathman explains, Medication can take much longer to work as medication must be ingested, digested, absorbed, and then transferred in the bloodstream.
If youre experiencing anxiety for the first time or youre having an unexpected spike of anxiety, there are some techniques you can employ in the moment to help with your developing symptoms. Sudden onset anxiety is best controlled with relaxation techniques, Heathman says, which can work instantly after being employed. Some calming strategies include:
All of these techniques work by changing your brains focus, so that anxiety symptoms can pass. One of the keys to calming anxiety is also recognizing when and why it is happening. If you can sense that it is spiking, Saxena explains, then you can challenge yourself to use the same thought pattern to understand that it is a passing feeling.
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How To Handle Anxiety With Self
Now that you have learned to identify the symptoms and causes of anxiety, you can begin to develop techniques to combat it.
Practice Diaphragmatic Breathing
One of the most common symptoms of anxiety is difficulty breathing. Shallow breathing can limit airflow and increase feelings of stress and anxiety. Diaphragmatic breathing taps into the full capacity of the lungs while restoring a state of calm.
To practice diaphragmatic breathing:
Begin by placing one hand on the belly and the other on the chest. Attempt to send the breath into the lowest part of the lungs. You should feel your belly expanding on the inhale and contracting on the exhale.
If you notice your chest rises more than your stomach, attempt this lying down. If you still have difficulties, try breathing into a paper bag. Alternatively, you can slowly inhale through the nose and fully exhale through the mouth.
Diaphragmatic breathing takes practice. Its ok if it doesnt work on the first attempt. It is also important to practice when you feel calm.
Develop a Mindfulness Practice
Mindfulness simply means present-moment awareness. Mindfulness practices have been shown to decrease symptoms of depression and anxiety. Mindfulness practices have also been linked with increased quality of life.
Try this grounding activity:
- Notice 5 things you can see
- Notice 4 things you can touch
- Notice 3 things you can hear
- Notice 2 things you can smell
- Notice 1 thing you can taste
Avoid Stimulants and Smoking
How To Get A Sudden Spike In Anxiety Under Control
Whether you live with an anxiety disorder or have found the events of 2020 affecting your mood, managing your mental health is more important than ever. Experiencing a sudden spike in anxiety is a common issueone thats being experienced by more and more people.
Tonya Crombie, Ph.D., author of Stop Worrying About Your Anxious Child, points to a poll released by the American Psychiatric Association that reveals that 62% of Americans feel more anxious than they did at this time last year. That marks a sizable increase over APA polls of the past three years, in which the number has ranged between 32% and 39%.
When you consider the significant stressors brought on by a global pandemic, economic uncertainty, social unrest, bitter political divisions, and a contested presidential election, Crombie says, it is completely understandable why so many more people are feeling more anxious than ever before.
Here, learn what causes a sudden onset of anxiety, and how can it be managed.
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Alternative Anxiety Attack Definition
Earlier we mentioned that “anxiety attack” is not a medical term, but rather a descriptive term for intense moments of anxiety. Most people, including some medical professionals, refer to panic attacks as anxiety attacks simply because it is easier for people to understand. When you say panic, people tend to think of someone running away from Godzilla. When you term them anxiety attacks, people tend to understand it better.
But because anxiety attack is not a medical term, not everyone uses it the same way. Some people use anxiety attack as a way of describing severe symptoms of other anxiety disorders. For example, those with obsessive-compulsive disorder may have an “anxiety attack” when they encounter a trigger of extreme anxiety that forces them deep into their compulsions. Those with an upcoming test in school may call their significant worry about the test an anxiety attack even though theyre really just talking about being very nervous.
Keep this in mind when people describe anxiety attack, as the term may lead to a bit of miscommunication. For the purposes of this article, however, were talking about panic attacks, because panic attacks are a very real, very common anxiety problem that most people are referring to when they say they have these attacks.