Peninsula Health Center

9 Causes of Anxiety and How to Manage It

Anxiety is a normal part of life. Without anxiety, we wouldn’t worry about calling our parents, going to work, or even finding food. However, anxiety can quickly spiral out of control and lead to the development of an anxiety disorder where that anxiety controls us and interferes with daily function. If you or someone close to you is experiencing signs of anxiety, it’s essential that you reach out for help.

Causes of Anxiety

Anxiety causes come in many forms, but below are the nine most common causes of anxiety:

  1. Stress

Stress is one of the most common anxiety causes, and this can start as something simple that builds up over time. However, excessive anxiety is usually the result of several stressful life situations:

  • Financial strain
  • Moving to a new town
  • Starting a new job
  • Getting a divorce
  • Experiencing a death in the family
  1. Trauma

Traumatic experiences in adulthood can lead to the development of anxiety disorders. Children who experience or witness traumatic events or abuse early in life are at a significantly higher risk of developing anxiety later in life.

  1. Genetics

Genetics plays a small role in the development of anxiety. Genetics are one of the more common anxiety causes, and if you have several family members with anxiety disorders, you are at a higher risk of developing one yourself.

  1. Personality

Tangentially, certain personality types might be at a higher risk of showing signs of anxiety than others. While this may not be the only cause, it can certainly be a significant risk factor.

  1. Illness

Severe health conditions can lead to high stress, fear, and anxiety levels. Something as simple as an injury can quickly spiral into chronic anxiety. 

For example:

You are helping a friend move. While picking up boxes, you injure your back. The injury is so severe that you can’t really move for the next few days. After some light physical therapy and medication, you are able to recover but now you have heightened anxiety associated with physical activity, particularly activity where you bend over and pick something up. 

This anxiety can worsen anytime you notice a slight sensation or tingling in your back, triggering the fear and anxiety associated with your initial injury. This can cause you to be even more careful and completely avoid any physical activity at all, which can lead to increased chronic pain from a sedentary lifestyle and increased anxiety about the risk of another injury.

  1. Chronic Pain

Individuals who experience chronic pain often experience co-occurring anxiety disorders. Chronic pain can inhibit physical and mental well-being, sleep, immune function, and cortisol regulation.

  1. Medication

If you are prescribed certain medications, it can lead to side effects, including anxiety. Recognizing signs of anxiety is important if that is a potential side effect of any medication you are using.

  1. Other Mental Health Disorders

The existence of other mental health disorders can coexist with anxiety disorders and cause changes to the brain that lead to the development of anxiety. One of the most common is depression.

  1. Substance Abuse

Substance abuse can increase signs of anxiety in a pre-existing condition but also contribute to the development of a new anxiety disorder. Drug and alcohol abuse influence the way the brain functions, and changes to the brain can result in higher levels of anxiety.

Signs of Anxiety

There are several types of anxiety disorders, and recognizing the signs of anxiety can help you determine when it’s time to get help. Common signs of anxiety include:

  • A feeling of impending doom
  • Increased heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Nervousness
  • Restlessness
  • Tension
  • Trembling
  • Feeling weak
  • Hyperventilating
  • Sleep issues
  • Problems controlling worry or stress
  • A desire to avoid anything that might trigger you
  • GI problems
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Problems concentrating on the present moment

You should consider getting treatment from a professional mental health facility if these symptoms start to interfere with your work performance, school obligations, relationships, or daily functions. If your anxiety is causing you significant distress or you’re finding it difficult to control, don’t be afraid to speak with a mental health professional. 

If you think your anxiety is leading to physical health problems, or you’re experiencing depression or reliance on drugs and alcohol for self-medication, you should seek treatment immediately. Symptoms can get worse if you don’t get the help you deserve.

Getting Help for Causes of Anxiety

If you or someone you love is showing signs of anxiety, getting help is essential. Don’t be afraid to reach out to our team to talk about potential causes of anxiety, what symptoms you might be experiencing, and whether treatment is a good solution.

At Peninsula Health, we offer several levels of care, including chronic pain management to reduce anxiety, dual diagnosis treatment for co-occurring anxiety and substance abuse, and several outpatient programs. 

Reach out to our team at 1-866-934-8228 to learn more about signs of anxiety and when you should seek professional treatment.