How anxious are you? Are you anxious often?
Are you often worried about being so anxious?
If anxiety is constantly sneaking up on you, ruining your sleep and assaulting your peace of mind, you may wonder how to manage your worrisome thoughts. The first course of action is take time to understand what causes anxiety. Then you may find it easier to get to the root of your anxious feelings.
To be clear, when anxiety behaves well, it’s a life preserver. It is the response that keeps you safe, flooding your body and brain with the adrenaline you need to fight, flee, or stand your ground.
When anxiety is out of control, mental and physical alarm bells ring inappropriately, worry and fear are blown out of proportion, and apprehensive thoughts and behavior take over.
So, what are the causes of anxiety? Let’s see:
Anxiety often enters from the outside. The following external factors often cause several types of anxiety:
Trauma. Certain events beyond your control such as natural disaster, abuse, sudden change, or the death of a loved one can lead to an overactive fight-or-flight response.
Stress. Chronic tension due to problems in personal relationships, finances, career, and more may increase anxiety. It is often accompanied by physical distress as well.
Environment. Lack of oxygen, as with high altitude locations, has been shown to increase anxiety in some people.
Anxiety might be medically related. Anxiety is sometimes attributed to certain medical factors. Stress induced by illness can lead to persistent worry. Anxiety is sometimes a symptom of anemia, respiratory conditions, heat stroke, hypoglycemia, heart conditions, and various infections as well.
Other medically-related factors include decreased oxygen from emphysema, or clots in the lung or anxiety symptoms (nervousness, heart palpitations, and insomnia) caused by an overactive thyroid gland. The side effects of medication have also been found to exacerbate or trigger anxious responses.
Anxiety can be induced by substance use and abuse. Statistics show that people suffering from chronic anxiety have substance abuse problems at nearly three times the rate of others. Problems with drugs, alcohol, and prescription medications actually become a vicious cycle of anxious feelings and substance use/abuse. This can become highly toxic to the body and mind, as you cycle between intoxication and withdrawal.
Note that certain everyday substances can contribute to anxiety too. If you are prone to anxiety, large amounts of caffeine or diet pills can stimulate a fight-or-flight reaction in your body, trigger an anxiety attack, or increase nervousness or moodiness.
Anxiety is sometimes inherited. Some researchers suggest that genetics play a role in some families. Studies indicate that certain genetic factors predispose family members toward suffering various anxiety disorders.
Anxiety may be produced by brain chemistry. Studies indicate that people with abnormal amounts of key brain neurotransmitters suffer from anxiety at a higher rate. Neurotransmitters maintain the brain’s communication system. When that network is compromised, the brain can act unpredictably, and perceive situations inappropriately. Anxiety may result.
Anxiety may be more that anxiety. It could be that your anxiety is caused by a more serious disorder. Phobias, panic, and generalised anxiety disorder require a closer look in therapy. If your anxiety persists and/or prevents you from enjoying your life, it is important to speak with a trained professional who can help you sift through your emotions, concerns, and symptoms to determine what is really going on.
A clear understanding of what is causing your own anxiety, or that of a loved one, is a good first step in seeking appropriate treatment and learning to manage how you feel.
For counselling for anxiety, call Neil Ward Counselling on 07970 860 711.