What Causes Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders are like other forms of mental illness. They dont come from personal weakness, character flaws or problems with upbringing. But researchers dont know exactly what causes anxiety disorders. They suspect a combination of factors plays a role:
- Chemical imbalance: Severe or long-lasting stress can change the chemical balance that controls your mood. 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. You may inherit them from one or both parents, like eye color.
What Else Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider
If you have an anxiety disorder, ask your provider:
- Whats the best treatment for me?
- Do I need medication? What type?
- How long should I take medication?
- What type of psychotherapy will work best?
- What else can I do to manage my symptoms?
- What other conditions am I at risk for?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
An anxiety disorder can make it difficult to get through your day. Anxiety disorder symptoms include feelings of nervousness, panic and fear. You may also have physical symptoms such as sweating and a rapid heartbeat. But you dont need to live like this. Several effective anxiety disorder treatments are available. Talk to your healthcare provider to figure out your diagnosis and the best treatment plan. Often, treatment combines medications and therapy. Anti-anxiety medications and antidepressants, together with CBT, can help you feel your best.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 12/17/2020.
Spending Time With Negative People
Human beings are social creatures, and as social creatures, we tend to pick up on the behaviors of others. So when you’re someone that really needs to feel happier and stress-free, one of the worst things you can do is spend time with people that bring stress and tension into your life.
If you spend a lot of your free time with negative people or people that want to create stress around them, that stress is often going to rub off on you. Ideally, spending time with happier people that bring positivity into your life is the best way to make an impact of your mental health.
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Try Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
CBT can help you recognize and combat some of your negative thinking patterns directly. For example, you might work on noticing what thoughts come up when you think about public speaking. It might be something like, I always mess things up. A CBT therapist will help you consider which of your thoughts arent so realistic and reframe them to be more productive.
One study found that CBTs effects on socially anxious people werent just a self-reported improvement in their feelings. Blood samples showed change at a cellular level after only nine weeks of therapy.
We recommend BetterHelp for online therapy, since they offer unlimited messaging and a weekly session, and is much cheaper than going to an actual therapist’s office. They are also cheaper than Talkspace for what you get. You can learn more about BetterHelp here.
What Is It Like To Have Gad
I was worried all the time and felt nervous. My family told me that there were no signs of problems, but I still felt upset. I dreaded going to work because I couldnt keep my mind focused. I was having trouble falling asleep at night and was irritated at my family all the time.
I saw my doctor and explained my constant worries. My doctor sent me to someone who knows about GAD. Now I am working with a counselor to cope better with my anxiety. I had to work hard, but I feel better. Im glad I made that first call to my doctor.
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Does Anxiety Get Worse With Menopause
Menopause is not often talked about, which makes it difficult for women who experience menopause symptoms. One of these symptoms is anxiety, with many women not realising there is a link between menopause and anxiety.
There are a lot of new experiences that happen when you go through menopause, for example, night sweats and hot flashes. It may become more difficult for you to sleep and a lack of sleep can trigger anxiety. Sometimes the menopause can cause women to experience panic attacks, especially those who have experienced anxiety in the past.
If you spot signs anxiety is getting worse then call on the management techniques that worked for you in the past or try some other strategies weve already talked about already, like square breathing, mindfulness and meditation. Other strategies could include writing a journal of your symptoms and keeping up with your healthy lifestyle to maintain your physical and mental health.
What To Do When Your Ptsd Starts Getting Worse
Healing from posttraumatic stress disorder is rarely a linear process. Just like any journey in life, recovering from PTSD has ups and downs. There will be times when things are good and times when things are bad. When PTSD starts getting worse, it can feel frustrating and scary. We know how to handle the good times in PTSD recovery, but what do you do when PTSD symptoms start increasing?
As someone who has had PTSD for around six-eight years, I’ve had my fair share of both bad and good times in my PTSD recovery. Getting through the rough patches isn’t easy, but it is possible.
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Myth #4 Just Wait It Outanxiety Always Gets Better With Time
This train of thought is not only misguided its also dangerous to your health. According to most experts, people with anxiety disorders put off seeking treatment for about 10 years.
Instead of being proactive in treating an anxiety disorder, they delay getting help in the hopes that things will get better at some point. Truth be told, anxiety generally worsens over time. It doesnt just dissipate and become a problem of yesteryears.
Another concern is that more than half of those diagnosed with an anxiety disorder are also struggling with some form of depressionboth of which need to be addressed.
more than half of those diagnosed with an anxiety disorder are also struggling with some form of depressionboth of which need to be addressed.
How Do You Stop Panic Attacks At Night
Unfortunately, you can’t always stop panic attacks, especially if it’s a nocturnal panic attack that can happen during sleep without warning. However, you can learn to stay relaxed and “talk yourself down” by controlling your breath, practicing positive self-talk, relaxing your muscles, and seeking support from a friend or family member.
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How Can I Best Cope With An Anxiety Disorder
There are several steps you can take to cope with anxiety disorder symptoms. These strategies can also make your treatment more effective:
- Explore stress management: Learn ways to manage stress, such as through meditation.
- Join support groups: These groups are available in-person and online. They encourage people with anxiety disorders to share their experiences and coping strategies.
- Get educated: Learn about the specific type of anxiety disorder you have so you feel more in control. Help friends and loved ones understand the disorder as well so they can support you.
- Limit or avoid caffeine: Many people with anxiety disorder find that caffeine can worsen their symptoms.
- Talk to your healthcare provider: Your provider is your partner in your care. If you feel like treatment isnt working or have questions about your medication, contact your provider. Together, you can figure out how to best move forward.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Gad
GAD develops slowly. It often starts during the teen years or young adulthood. People with GAD may:
- Worry very much about everyday things
- Have trouble controlling their worries or feelings of nervousness
- Know that they worry much more than they should
- Feel restless and have trouble relaxing
- Have a hard time concentrating
- Be easily startled
- The health and well-being of their children
- Being late
- Completing household chores and other responsibilities
Both children and adults with GAD may experience physical symptoms that make it hard to function and that interfere with daily life.
Symptoms may get better or worse at different times, and they are often worse during times of stress, such as with a physical illness, during exams at school, or during a family or relationship conflict.
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Anxiety Disorders Are Linked To Alcohol And Drugs
There is a strong link between alcohol and anxiety. Research shows that people with anxiety disorders are two to three times more likely to have problems with drugs and alcohol at some point in their lives than the general population. But that’s not all: Alcohol and drugs can often cause panic attacks, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America .
People with social anxiety, in particular, may turn to alcohol in order to lessen their symptoms, but alcohol can actually make anxiety worse. About 20 percent of people with social anxiety disorder also have an alcohol or substance abuse disorder, notes the ADAA. No matter which problem comes first, the combination of drugs, alcohol, and anxiety can become a vicious cycle.
What To Do If Your Social Anxiety Is Getting Worse
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My social anxiety is getting worse. I used to be able to talk to people, but since finishing school, I have found myself stuck in loneliness and isolation. At work, I just do what I need to do and go home. As I get older, it just seems to get worse. I panic even with small interactions. What can I do?
Many young adults feel that as the years go by, social interactions seem to get more complicated. Anxiety can cause a self-defeating cycle in which you isolate yourself. You dont go out because you dont have any friends, but you dont make any friends because you dont go out.
As time goes on, it may feel impossible to make new friends. Negative scenarios spiral in your mind. What will you say if they ask what you did over the weekend and you have to admit you did nothing?
Some people find that they develop physical symptoms like sweating in social situations as they get older or start having panic attacks. Others say that their social anxiety spills over to more situations and becomes more extreme. For example, their online life was an escape from loneliness in school, but as the years went by, they found themselves feeling anxious even about posting comments online.
If you identify with these situations of social anxiety getting worse over the years, this guide is for you.
Also Check: How Do I Stop An Anxiety Attack
What Happens If I Dont Get Treatment For My Child With An Anxiety Disorder
Getting your child help for an anxiety disorder can improve their development and self-esteem. But untreated anxiety disorders can harm:
- Family relationships.
- School performance.
- Social functioning.
Your child may also end up with more serious mental and physical health problems. Fortunately, there are several treatments for anxiety disorders. The right treatment can help your child manage their symptoms and feel their best.
Try Giving Up Caffeine
While caffeine use is so normalized that most people dont consider it a problem, it can increase anxiety without us even noticing. You might experience some withdrawal symptoms at first. Still, many people report a significant benefit to their anxiety levels after giving up coffee and other forms of caffeine like soda and chocolate. Instead, try drinking herbal tea, which can help reduce anxiety.
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You Have Higher Amounts Of Stress Hormones In The Morning
“There’s actually a physiological reason why some people experience anxiety in the mornings,” Dr. Saltz says. “For one, it’s when cortisol levels are naturally at their highest.” She explains that cortisol is often called “the stress hormone” because high levels of it can lead to feeling stressed.
“There’s nothing you can do from stopping cortisol from raising slightly in the morningthat’s biologically what happensbut there are steps you can take to lower your cortisol overall so that it doesn’t peak as high,” Dr. Saltz says.
2. Coffee can lead to feeling anxious.
What you eat or drink in the morning can also lead to increased feelings of anxiety, according to Dr. Saltz. “The first thing many people do in the morning is drink a cup of coffee. Caffeine, particularly for people who already have anxiety, can definitely worsen the symptoms of that.” She explains that caffeine can lead to feeling jittery and having an increased heart rate. “Then our brain tries to come up with a reason to explain why we feel that way: I’m feeling jittery. I must be worried about X.” Dr. Saltz says this happens so quickly that it can feel like we have the thought first and then the physiological reaction, but it’s actually the other way around.
3. Sugar is another culprit.
4. Morning anxiety could also be a sign of having general anxiety disorder.
5. You’re chronically stressed.
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.
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How Are Anxiety Disorders Diagnosed
If you have symptoms of an anxiety disorder, talk to your healthcare provider. Theyll start with a complete medical history and physical examination.
There are no lab tests or scans that can diagnose anxiety disorders. But your provider may run some of these tests to rule out physical conditions that may be causing symptoms.