What Causes Anxiety?

anxiety therapy

We’ve all experienced it before: the nervous feeling that comes with different life situations. Whether you’re about to go on stage for a presentation or take on your first day at a new job, you may notice some symptoms of anxiety. But what if these feelings have become consistent? What if you feel scared all the time? There are a few different types of anxiety with various sources, so let’s look at each to help you understand where those feelings are coming from.

Types of Anxiety Disorders

What differentiates uneasy feelings from a mental health disorder is often the duration of symptoms. An anxiety disorder creates consistent feelings of nervousness either regardless of the circumstance or in response to specific situations. Diagnosable anxiety disorders listed in the DSM-5 include:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Panic Disorder
  • Specific Phobias
  • Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Separation Anxiety

Each of these are linked to similar symptoms, like feeling restless, fidgeting, increased heart rate, and an impaired level of functioning. However, the causes of each condition can differ. 

What Causes Anxiety?

While there is not a current consensus on the causes of such conditions within the psychological research community, there are some sources or situations that we know can contribute to a diagnosis of an anxiety disorder. 

Life circumstances are often an indicator of anxiety. For example, a child who grows up in an unstable home might react to the lack of consistency by developing separation anxiety. In their need for security, they attempt to cling to sources of comfort and can exhibit symptoms when they are not around their chosen comfort source. Generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder can also develop as a result of life circumstances. Constant changes in a home can make someone more sensitive to differences in routine, resulting in feelings of distress.

Another influential factor for anxiety is a triggering life event. Phobias and social anxiety disorder can develop due to a negative experience a person has in a specific situation. For example, someone who was bitten by a spider and ended up in the hospital could develop arachnophobia: an overwhelming fear of spiders. Social anxiety disorder can develop if a person had an embarrassing moment in front of a group of people, which in turn brings on feelings of distress in social situations. 

Finally, researchers believe genetics can make a person more susceptible to developing an anxiety disorder. It’s not uncommon to see such conditions develop in multiple members of a family, and research has shown there is a genetic component to anxiety. That, in combination with environmental factors, can increase the likelihood that someone will develop an anxiety disorder. 

Mental Health Treatment in Orange County, CA

If you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety, regardless of the cause, PACE Recovery Center can help. Our treatment model, designed specifically for men, utilizes evidence-based practices to help determine the source of your anxiety and develop healthy coping skills to alleviate symptoms. We offer outpatient treatment to fit with your schedule or residential treatment for a higher level of support. Contact us today to learn more about our services.

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