Question: What Causes Anxiety Disorders To Develop
Experiencing a lot of stress over a long period can lead to an anxiety disorder. Environmental factors: Experiencing a trauma might trigger an anxiety disorder, especially in someone who has inherited a higher risk to start. Heredity: Anxiety disorders tend to run in families.
How Does Medication Treat Anxiety Disorders
Medications cant cure an anxiety disorder. But they can improve symptoms and help you function better. Medications for anxiety disorders often include:
- Anti-anxiety medications, such as benzodiazepines, may decrease your anxiety, panic and worry. They work quickly, but you can build up a tolerance to them. That makes them less effective over time. Your healthcare provider may prescribe an anti-anxiety medication for the short-term, then taper you off or the provider may add an antidepressant to the mix.
- Antidepressants can also help with anxiety disorders. They tweak how your brain uses certain chemicals to improve mood and reduce stress. Antidepressants may take some time to work, so be patient. If you feel like youre ready to stop taking antidepressants, talk to your provider first.
- Beta-blockers, usually used for high blood pressure, can help reduce some of the physical symptoms of anxiety disorders. They can relieve rapid heartbeat, shaking and trembling.
Your healthcare provider will work with you to find the right medication combination and dosage. Dont change the dose without consulting your provider. Theyll monitor you to make sure the medicines are working without causing negative side effects.
Anger Is The Same Way Many Parents Disapprove Of Or Forbid The Expression Of Anger
This creates a habit of repressing and not resolving it. Repressed anger builds up over time and the fear that it may explode into inappropriate behavior generates terrible anxiety. Therefore it is so important for parents to recognize, accept, validate, reflect, process and resolve their children’s angry feelings. Don’t fear that recognizing it will make the anger worse because the opposite is true, recognizing it will resolve it.
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Outlook For Social Anxiety Disorder
According to the ADAA, about 36 percent of people with social anxiety dont speak to a healthcare provider until they have had symptoms for at least 10 years.
People with social phobia may rely on drugs and alcohol to cope with anxiety triggered by social interaction. Left untreated, social phobia can lead to other high-risk behaviors, including:
- alcohol and drug abuse
Caffeine And Anxiety Make You Feel Jittery And Nervous
Caffeine is a stimulant and that can be bad news for someone with anxiety. Caffeine’s jittery effects on your body are similar to those of a frightening event. That’s because caffeine stimulates your fight or flight response, and research has shown that this can make anxiety worse and can even trigger an anxiety attack.
Other research suggests that while caffeine can increase alertness, attention, and cognitive function, overdoing it can increase anxiety, particularly in people with panic disorder and social anxiety disorder. And as with the symptoms of anxiety, one too many cups of joe may leave you feeling nervous and moody, and can keep you up at night.
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Prevention And Coping With Anxiety
All human beings experience anxiety. In many cases, anxiety can have some beneficial and adaptive qualities such as pushing one to study for an upcoming difficult exam or propelling a person to flee from danger. Although experiencing some anxiety with life stressors and worries is normal, sometimes it can be difficult to manage and can feel overwhelming. Below we provide a list of tips and strategies to help individuals prevent anxiety from reaching a diagnosable level. Even though not everyone will struggle with a diagnosable anxiety disorder, learning strategies to aid in relief from anxiety and to manage the “normal” anxiety experienced in everyday life can help you live the life you desire.
Learning Relaxation Strategies
Mindfulness, Meditation, and Yoga
Exercise, Healthy Diet, and Rest
Awareness and Identifying Triggers
- It could be helpful to have a journal that you use to track your stressors, mood, thoughts, and behaviors that are impacted by anxiety. This will further help you identify the cause of your anxiety and notice when you may be engaging in unhelpful thoughts that only increase your anxiety.
Supportive Friendships & Family/ Contact a Therapist
Medical Genetic Neurochemical Factors And More
Various medical conditions can present with symptoms of anxiety, as can the side-effects of certain medications. Its also more common for anxiety to develop in those who have a family history of anxiety or other mental disorders. Theres a complex set of risk factors that contribute to the genetic likelihood of facing such disorders, including brain chemistry, personality, and exposure to traumatic life events at an early age.
From a biochemical perspective, those with anxiety have imbalanced levels of serotonin, norepinephrine, and GABA. These are key neurotransmitters that help regulate mood and feelings of calm. Research has also discovered different brain activity in those who have anxiety vs. those who do not. Its difficult, however, to determine if this is the cause or the result of the condition. There have also been studies that show an abnormal blood flow and brain metabolism in those who have an anxiety disorder, as well as structural differences in other regions of the brain. The good news is that with treatment, these changes in the brain are only temporary. With treatment, the brain can return to a normal, healthy state of homeostasis. Unfortunately, nearly 2/3 of people with an anxiety disorder do not seek treatment.
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Common Risk Factors For Anxiety
When it comes to anxiety, knowing your risk factors can help in a couple of ways.
First, this knowledge can give you some background on what may be adding to or worsening your anxiety. It can also help you learn more about anxiety by showing when and where it tends to occur.
For instance, women are as men to have an anxiety disorder.
Why Are Anxiety And Depression Often Co
Its a cycle, says Sally R. Connolly, LCSW and therapist. When you get anxious, you tend to have this pervasive thinking about some worry or some problem. You feel bad about it. Then you feel like youve failed. You move to depression.
These two disorders anxiety and depression have a complicated relationship:
- The chance of acquiring depression is much higher when an anxiety disorder already exists. Nearly half of those with major depression also suffer from severe and persistent anxiety.
- People who are depressed often feel anxious and worried. One can easily trigger the other, with anxiety often preceding depression.
- People with post-traumatic stress disorder are especially prone to developing depression.
- A biological predisposition for both of these conditions if often at the root of an individuals battle. This seems to be true with anxiety disorders even more than with depression. Connolly explains, Some people are just worriers and pass it down.
People with an anxiety disorder should speak with a psychiatrist, therapist or other healthcare professional about their symptoms. Treatment for an anxiety disorder should not be delayed. If not caught in time, depression may find the door wide open for moving in and setting up house in those individuals.2
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Biological Causes Of Anxiety Disorders
Genetics and biology play a role in the creation of anxiety disorders. Not only does anxiety appear to run in families – if you take two people with similar experiences, one may have an anxiety disorder, one may not, and the only difference between them may be genetic, or at least influenced by the body more than the mind. Biological causes include:
Are There Risk Factors For Anxiety
There are multiple factors that create vulnerability to anxiety under stressful circumstances. On a purely psychological level is the ability to manage negative emotions. People lacking emotion regulation skills are at heightened risk of both anxiety and depression. Having a history of adverse life experiences during childhood, such as intense maltreatment or bouts of serious illness, also predisposes people to anxiety. It doesnt change the makeup of genes but it can permanently alter their level of activity so that that the brain is constantly on the lookout for and perceiving potential threats. Perhaps the strongest risk factor for anxiety is having the personality trait of neuroticism. It denotes the degree to which the negative affect system is readily activated. People high in trait neuroticism are dispositionally inclined to find experiences distressing and to worry.
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Psychological Causes Of Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders are also commonly associated with other psychiatric disorders like depression, as well as the medication used to treat some mental health conditions.
There are several psychological theories on the causes of anxiety disorders however, each theory tends to only explain a portion of the symptoms of an anxiety disorder. Likely, some people are more susceptible to these psychological anxiety disorder causes due to genetics. Psychological theories about the cause of anxiety disorders include:
- Anxiety disorders as a manifestation of interpersonal conflict
- Anxiety disorders as a conditioned response learned over time
- Existence of dysfunctional thought patterns for example, the overestimation of the amount of danger in a given situation
What Are The Different Types Of Anxiety Disorder
This section provides an overview of the most common types of anxiety disorders.
- Generalised anxiety disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
Generalised anxiety disorder
GAD is common. The main symptom of GAD is over worrying about different activities and events. This may feel out of your control. You feel anxious a lot of the time if you have GAD. You might feel on edge and alert to your surroundings.
This can affect your day-to-day life. You might find that it affects your ability to work, travel places or leave the house. You might also get tired easily or have trouble sleeping or concentrating. You might have physical symptoms, such as muscle tension and sweating.
It is common to have other conditions such as depression or other anxiety disorders if you have GAD.
GAD can be difficult to diagnose because it does not have some of the unique symptoms of other anxiety disorders. Your doctor is likely to say you have GAD if you have felt anxious for most days over six months and it has had a bad impact on areas of your life.
You will have regular panic attacks with no particular trigger if you have panic disorder. They can happen suddenly and feel intense and frightening. You may also worry about having another panic attack.
Panic disorder symptoms can include the following.
You may also dissociate during a panic attack. Such as feeling detached from yourself.
Social anxiety disorder
Some common situations where you may experience anxiety are the following.
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What Is Separation Anxiety Disorder
This condition mostly happens to children or teens, who may worry about being away from their parents. Children with separation anxiety disorder may fear that their parents will be hurt in some way or not come back as promised. It happens a lot in preschoolers. But older children and adults who experience a stressful event may have separation anxiety disorder as well.
Projecting An Anxious Attitude And Example
Children are like sponges and mirrors, they absorb everything we give to them, and reflect everything we display towards them. The fact is, many parents of anxious children are themselves anxious or more importantly, display or express anxiety in front of their child. For example the parent might often be in a rush or expressing worry about things, such as, Hurry or were going to be late! and Oh no, look what happened, what are we going to do now! and Im so worried something bad might happen to you! Comments such as these dont seem like a big deal to us adults, because we have the wisdom and maturity to put them into perspective, but children cannot do so! They are totally overwhelmed and stressed out by such off-hand comments. They think, Oh no, my parent, who is my rock and security source, is worried and not confident. This is really scary! If she cant handle the situation well, where does that leave me? Her anxiety tells me that something is terribly wrong right now and I should be anxious as well! We have to remember how small, powerless and vulnerable children are and feel! Even minor stressors such as expressed anxiety totally overwhelms them.
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What Causes Generalised Anxiety Disorder
The exact cause of GAD is not fully understood, although it’s likely that a combination of several factors plays a role.
Research has suggested that these may include:
- overactivity in areas of the brain involved in emotions and behaviour
- an imbalance of the brain chemicals serotonin and noradrenaline, which are involved in the control and regulation of mood
- the genes you inherit from your parents you’re estimated to be 5 times more likely to develop GAD if you have a close relative with the condition
- having a history of stressful or traumatic experiences, such as domestic violence, child abuse or bullying
- having a painful long-term health condition, such as arthritis
- having a history of drug or alcohol misuse
But many people develop GAD for no apparent reason.
Genetic Causes Of Anxiety Disorders
While an exact gene hasn’t been pinpointed, it’s thought that genetics play a role in causing anxiety disorders, or at least for increasing the risk of getting an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders and genetics have been shown to be linked through chromosomal irregularities, among other things. These findings are confirmed by studies using twins.
The link between anxiety disorders and genetics is better understood for specific disorders. For example, in panic disorder, a gene mutation that leads to dysfunction in the chemical systems of the brain has been identified. Additional likely genetic links include:
- An abnormal increased function in some brain receptors an abnormal decreased function in others
- An imbalance of chemicals, like cortisol, linked to feelings of stress
- Impaired carbon dioxide receptors, leading to a state of chronic hyperventilation
Obsessive-compulsive disorder has shown a strong genetic link with a genetic influence of 45% – 65% in children and 27% – 47% in adults.
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What Is The Root Cause Of Depression And Anxiety
Research suggests that depression doesnt spring from simply having too much or too little of certain brain chemicals. Rather, there are many possible causes of depression, including faulty mood regulation by the brain, genetic vulnerability, stressful life events, medications, and medical problems.
What Can I Do To Manage My Symptoms
You can learn to manage your symptoms by looking after yourself. Selfcare is how you take care of your diet, sleep, exercise, daily routine, relationships and how you are feeling.
Making small lifestyle changes can improve your wellbeing and can help your recovery.
Routine helps many people with their mental wellbeing. It will help to give a structure to your day and may give you a sense of purpose. This could be a simple routine such as eating at the same time each day, going to bed at the same time each day and buying food once per week.
Breathing exercises can help to calm you when you are feeling anxious. Or having a panic attack. You will get the most benefit if you do them regularly, as part of your daily routine.
There is more information about breathing exercises in the further reading section at the bottom of this page.
You could join a support group. A support group is where people come together to share information, experiences and give each other support.
You might be able to find a local group by searching online. The charity Bipolar UK have an online support group. They also have face to face support groups in some areas of the country. Their contact details are in the useful contacts at the bottom of this page.
Rethink Mental Illness have support groups in some areas. You can find out what is available in your area if you follow this link: