So either your doctor has diagnosed you with anxiety, or you have familiarised yourself with the signs and symptoms. But you’re unsure of why you feel this way. Well, this probably doesn’t help you very much when I say, there are usually many triggers, not just one. But let’s see if we can narrow them down. These are just some of the most common triggers of anxiety.
Suspect Number 1
The first trigger I will discuss is our genetic makeup.
Some people are naturally more likely to develop anxiety if there is a family history.
However just because a blood relative has anxiety, does not automatically mean you will develop it.
Some personality traits are more likely to become anxious – those people who may have low self-esteem, have high expectations of themselves, or those amongst us who are perfectionists or are shy can also develop anxiety or have periods where they feel anxious.
Suspect Number 2
Some medical conditions have anxiety as a symptom or anxiety is a comorbid condition, for example, some children with Autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are more likely to also have anxiety, and anxiety often co-exists with depression.
Anxiety can be a symptom of medical conditions including:
- Hyperthyroidism (or an overactive thyroid)
- Heart disease
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- Chronic pain
- Irritable bowel syndrome.
People can also experience anxiety as they withdraw from medications such as benzodiazepines, which are often used for insomnia.
Suspect Number 3
Other triggers of anxiety include stressful events such as a car accident, death of a loved one, or witnessing trauma on television.
It can happen to children too
Children who have been abused, been through a traumatic separation or who have witnessed a traumatic event are more likely to develop anxiety.
Parents are reminded to be particularly mindful of what children see on television, ensuring age-appropriate content.
Stress comes in many forms
The buildup of stress over time can also be a contributing factor – chronic work stress, financial pressure, relationship problems, worry about a sick child or your own health – can all become triggers of anxiety.
For a child, that could mean either self-imposed or parent-imposed expectation of high achievement in sport or school work, worry about parental relationships or school friendships, bullying at school, fear, or worry about a sick parent or grandparent.
Anxiety can be a symptom but it can also worsen other medical conditions. Anxiety can, for example, worsen insomnia and digestive disorders, suicide risk, substance dependence and ability to socialise.
Anxiety is not a life sentence
There are many ways that changing diet and lifestyle can help improve anxious symptoms, and there are many organisations with resources to help.
If you suffer from anxiety, or feel like you’ve tried everything to no avail, contact us today for an obligation-free appointment where we can discuss some options for you.