What causes anxiety?

While most of us experience anxiety on occasion, when it becomes severe or prolonged we may become concerned about its origin. Possible causes of anxiety include:

  • Genetic predisposition: Conditions such as panic disorder or generalized anxiety disorder seem to run in families.
  • Medical factors: Diabetes, hyperthyroidism, heart disease, asthma and other diseases can produce anxiety-like reactions.
  • Drug reactions: Withdrawal from alcohol or anti-anxiety medications, for example, can trigger symptoms. Other medications also cause anxiety. Talk to your pharmacist to see if you are taking any of them.
  • Personality or other mental disorders: Other conditions such as depression,
  • or traits such as pessimism (expecting the worst), may make you more prone to anxiety.

Anxiety can be treated effectively with psychotherapy and medication. When the underlying cause is a medical condition or drug reaction, treating that issue is often the first priority. If you don’t know what’s causing your anxiety, see your health care provider, who can help you find the right treatment.

— Eric Endlich, PhD

Posted in eMazine