Everyone feels anxious now and then. We respond to life stresses with a certain amount of anxiety. However, when those stressors are no longer current and anxiety remains, then we can say that a person has an anxiety disorder. An anxiety disorder exists without there being any cause for the anxiety. This is the case for depression as well.
What causes anxiety?
There is no single cause for anxiety conditions. There are a number of risk factors that can lead to the condition. These are the following:
- Family history of mental health conditions
If a person has a close relative with an anxiety disorder, then they may have a genetic predisposition towards the illness. Anxiety conditions run in families like some other psychiatric disorders, such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
Certain personalities are more likely to experience anxiety than others. Research suggests that people who are perfectionists, easily flustered, timid, inhibited, or lack self-esteem are predisposed to anxiety conditions.
- Ongoing stressful events
Anxiety conditions can occur because of one or more stressful life events. These can include:
- Stress from work or a change in job
- Change in living arrangements
- Pregnancy and giving birth
- Family and relationship problems
- Emotional shock that follows a stressful or traumatic event
- Verbal, sexual, physical, or emotional abuse
- Death or loss of a loved one
Any stressful life event can cause anxiety. The above are examples of stressors.
- Health problems
Chronic physical illness can also contribute to anxiety conditions. Common chronic conditions that can result in an anxiety condition are:
- Hypertension and heart disease
Certain conditions can mimic anxiety conditions. This is the case with a hyperactive thyroid. A person should always be examined by their physician if there is an anxiety condition present. The cause may be a physical condition.
- Other mental health conditions
Some people may experience an anxiety condition on its own. Others might have multiple anxiety conditions or other mental health problems along with the anxiety condition. Depression many times comes along with an anxiety disorder. You must be treated by a mental health professional for all of these conditions at the same time.
- Substance abuse
People who suffer from anxiety conditions may abuse alcohol or other drugs to help them cope with the condition. This can lead to developing a substance abuse problem in addition to the anxiety condition itself. Alcohol and drugs can make anxiety conditions worse. This is particularly the case when the effects of the substance subside.
Symptoms of anxiety
Normal anxiety that people experience comes and goes with a particular stressful situation. In an anxiety disorder, the anxiety takes on a life of its own. There may be anxiety with no current stressor. Also, the anxiety affects the person’s ability to function.
The typical symptoms of an anxiety disorder include:
- Physical – panic attacks, hot and cold flashes, racing heart, increased respiration, restlessness. feeling tense, wound up and edgy.
- Psychological – excessive fear, worry, or obsessive thinking.
- Behavioral – avoidance of stressful situations
Treatment for anxiety
When a person has mild symptoms of anxiety, then they can make certain lifestyle changes to deal with the situation. This can include getting regular exercise and reducing stress levels.
Where symptoms of anxiety are more severe, psychological and medical treatments may be needed. There are medications available that can deal with anxiety symptoms.
If need be, a person can spend some time in a rehab for depression and anxiety. A rehab for anxiety works on the person as a whole to overcome the problem.