The Roots of Anxiety: What Causes Anxiety Disorders?

It’s a normal part of life to go through occasional anxiety. However, if your anxiety is persistent, overwhelming, seemingly uncontrollable, and excessive, you may suffer from an anxiety disorder. Particularly if your anxiety interferes with daily life or you have an irrational dread of every-day situations, you may need help from a psychiatrist who may implement a protocol of therapy in combination with medication to manage symptoms.

Anxiety disorders include:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Panic disorders and panic attacks
  • Social anxiety disorders
  • Agoraphobia
  • Separation anxiety
  • Phobias

OCD, also known as obsessive-compulsive disorder, and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) are related to anxiety disorders and often times come with depression, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

Digging Deeper into the Cause

With 40 million people experiencing anxiety disorders in any given year, you may wonder where does all the anxiety comes from? There are many root causes, and most of the time, they have to do with our sense of self.

Perhaps you are anxious in the workplace because you don’t trust that you’ll succeed in your goals. Or maybe you’re worrying about final exams because you don’t think you’re capable of pulling off a good grade. Maybe you were raised to be independent and self-sufficient, so that when you encounter a problem at home, work or school, you feel you can’t ask for help. As a result, you try to do it all yourself, even if you’re crumbling inside.

Determining the root cause of anxiety isn’t easy because it’s not always obvious and it often can creep up on us, says PsychCentral. As a result, you may start to feel overwhelmed and exhausted, with an inability to focus or even get a good night’s sleep. You, therefore, begin to focus solely on the physical symptoms and sensations of your anxiety rather than exploring the psychological symptoms.

Questions to Ask Yourself

When you start to dig deeper into the matter, you may find yourself asking – and answering – questions for yourself:

  • How long have I been feeling different than I used to?
  • What has changed in my life in the last two months, six months, year?
  • Are there other times in my life where I felt the same way, albeit in a different situation?
  • Is there a common thread here?

Anxiety is complicated, often coming with layers upon layers to reveal before you get at the root cause, which could be anything from insecurity to hunger for control. There is a multitude of sources that could be triggering your anxiety, such as environmental factors like a job or personal relationship, medical conditions, traumatic past experiences – even genetics plays a role, points out Medical News Today.

Seeing a therapist is a good first step. You can’t do it all alone. It may be time to explore what lies beneath the sweaty palms, shakiness, butterfly-filled stomach, and tight shoulders. Getting to the root cause will not only help you diminish your anxiety, but you’ll also be better able to truly understand yourself along the way.

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