Anxiety is often caused by a combination of factors, including genetic predisposition, life experiences, and certain medications.
9 potential causes of anxiety
1. Genetic predisposition
Anxiety disorders can sometimes run in families, and some people who experience them may have a hereditary propensity to develop them. However, having a parent or other close family member who has anxiety or another mental health disorder does not guarantee that you will have it.
2. Brain chemistry
According to several studies, dysfunctional brain circuits that regulate emotions and fear may be responsible for anxiety disorders.
Stress can trigger anxiety, whether it is due to work, a divorce, or the death of a loved one. Although stress can come and go, it can lead to anxiety if it manifests as excessive worry even when there is no external stressor.
Children who experience abuse and trauma are more likely to develop anxiety disorders later in life. Anxiety disorders can also emerge in adults who experience traumatic events.
5. Low self-esteem
Social anxiety disorder and generalized anxiety disorder are both associated with low self-esteem. If you are prone to having a negative self-image, you may be more likely to develop an anxiety disorder.
Studies have suggested that certain personality traits are associated with a higher risk of anxiety. For instance, anxiety can occasionally arise in those who are perfectionists, easily agitated, shy, and inhibited.
7. Substance use
Some people who experience anxiety may turn to alcohol or other medications to help them cope with their feelings. In some cases, this can cause people to also develop substance use and anxiety disorders. Use of alcohol and other drugs, especially after the effects wear off, can worsen anxiety symptoms.
8. Caffeine intake
9. Certain medical conditions
A chronic physical condition can exacerbate an anxiety disorder or have an effect on how the anxiety or the physical condition is treated. The following are examples of common chronic disorders linked to anxiety:
Some physical conditions, such as an overactive thyroid, may cause symptoms that resemble those of anxiety disorders. To determine whether there may be a medical reason for your symptoms of anxiety, it can be helpful to visit a doctor and be evaluated.
What are anxiety disorders?
Anxiety disorders are often characterized by recurrent bouts of acute anxiety, fear, or terror that peak in a matter of minutes (panic attacks). The effects of these sensations of anxiety and panic can be severe, difficult to regulate, out of proportion to the real threat, and last a long period of time. Symptoms may start during childhood or adolescence, and can then last until adulthood.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Top What Are the Causes of Anxiety Related Articles
Anxiety and Panic Disorders: Conditions That Look Like AnxietyIs it anxiety or something else? Click through to learn which conditions share symptoms.
Anxiety & Panic Disorders: Risk Factors for AnxietyDo you feel anxious? Many things could make it more likely. Learn more, including what you can do if you feel anxious.
Anxiety, Stress, and WorryWhat is the definition of anxiety, stress, and worry? Find treatments to relieve stress, eliminate worry, and combat anxiety as you discover how stress affects your body. Learn whether stress fights colds or encourages them, why some stress is bad and some is good, and why exercise and diet can be relaxing.
How Does a Person With Anxiety Feel?What are symptoms of anxiety? A person with anxiety may experience feelings of nervousness, restlessness, inability to concentrate, stomach problems, and more.
Anxiety & Panic Disorders: Physical Symptoms of AnxietyA fluttering heart, knots in your stomach, clammy hands -- are you just nervous about something? Talk to your doctor if it doesn't go away because it could be anxiety and you might need treatment.
What Does Anxiety Do to Your Body?It increases a person’s chances of suffering from other medical conditions, such as heart diseases, raised blood pressure, high cholesterol obesity, depression and diabetes. In short term, anxiety may cause sleep disturbances and poor work performance.
What Happens During an Anxiety Attack?Anxiety can occur during everyday life, it could be fleeting or it could persist and build. But if you have an anxiety disorder, you may feel your anxiety or panic overwhelm you with intense anxiety and fear.
What Is the Main Cause of Anxiety?Anxiety is usually caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors that may include stress, trauma, family history, and underlying health conditions.
What Triggers Social Anxiety?Social anxiety disorder, also known as social phobia, is a mental health condition that is characterized by extreme anxiety and fear of social settings. People with social anxiety disorder have a constant, intense, persistent fear of being watched, judged, negatively evaluated, or rejected in a social situation.