Feeling anxious in the face of imminent danger is fundamental for survival. Many individuals feel substantial distress even when there is no apparent reason - at this point, the anxiety has reached the point of being classed as a psychological disorder. Symptoms can include a chronic feeling of unease or dread, and the causes often involve a range of psychological, genetic, and environmental factors. Keep reading to find out why you might be having anxiety episodes.
Brain Chemistry Imbalance
Research has shown that those suffering from anxiety episodes often have issues with several compounds in their brain, including serotonin, norepinephrine, and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). These three chemicals play a primary role in sleep, mood, and emotional stability, leading to some of the emotional and sleep issues commonly associated with anxiety episodes. It is known that altering their levels, either through therapy or medication, does have some curative effect on the condition.
Unfortunately, some people are more genetically susceptible to developing anxiety episodes than others. A person with parents who suffer from anxiety episodes is more likely to develop it themselves, although this is not inevitable. While there is a behavioral aspect to this - as children will tend to copy their parents' behaviors and attitudes - a genetic component is also involved. In those who could be more vulnerable to developing anxiety, it is particularly important to reduce stress.
This is one of the most common reasons for anxiety episodes, especially when it is chronic. Different people react to stress in different ways, and these coping mechanisms seem to have some effect on development an anxiety disorder. Healthy coping strategies, such as relaxation exercises, physical activity, and a balanced diet, all reduce the chances of the stress causing anxiety episodes.
Upbringing, every social interaction you have in life, and watching as a child how parents react to stress or fear are all possible contributors to anxiety. The countless experiences that you had in your youth have all gone some way to making you the person you are today. Anxiety episodes can occur due to bullying during school days, one or more bad social interactions, or seeing parents react negatively to situations. Part of fighting anxiety is talk therapy, which can help people pinpoint the underlying causes of their anxiety, and then find ways to psychologically deal with the problems.
The causes of anxiety episodes are complex and often interact with one another. This list describes some of the known causes of anxiety, but there are many others. If you find yourself suffering from anxiety episodes, it is important to talk to your doctor, who will be able to recommend appropriate treatments to suit you and also direct you to local services. Anxiety can be cured and does not have to affect your life, no matter what the cause is.
- National Health Service UK. (2014). Generalised anxiety disorder. Retrieved September 1, 2014, from http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/anxiety/pages/introduction.aspx
- National Institutes of Health. (2014). Anxiety. Retrieved September 1, 2014, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/anxiety.html