What causes anxiety?

What causes anxiety?

An anxiety condition isn’t developed or caused by a single factor but a combination of things.

A number of other factors play a role, including personality factors, difficult life experiences and physical health. 

Family history of mental health conditions

Some people who experience anxiety conditions may have a genetic predisposition towards anxiety and these conditions can sometimes run in a family. However, having a parent or close relative experience anxiety or other mental health condition doesn’t mean you’ll automatically develop anxiety.

Personality factors

Research suggests that people with certain personality traits are more likely to have anxiety. For example, children who are perfectionists, easily flustered, timid, inhibited, lack self-esteem or want to control everything, sometimes develop anxiety during childhood, adolescence or as adults.

Ongoing stressful events

Anxiety conditions may develop because of one or more stressful life events. Common triggers include:

  • work stress or job change
  • change in living arrangements
  • pregnancy and giving birth
  • family and relationship problems
  • major emotional shock following a stressful or traumatic event
  • verbal, sexual, physical or emotional abuse or trauma
  • death or loss of a loved one.

Physical health problems

Chronic physical illness can also contribute to anxiety conditions or impact on the treatment of either the anxiety or the physical illness itself. Common chronic conditions associated with anxiety conditions include:

  • diabetes
  • asthma
  • hypertension and heart disease

Some physical conditions can mimic anxiety conditions, like an overactive thyroid. It can be useful to see a doctor and be assessed to determine whether there may be a medical cause for your feelings of anxiety.

Other mental health conditions

While some people may experience an anxiety condition on its own, others may experience multiple anxiety conditions, or other mental health conditions. Depression and anxiety conditions often occur together. It’s important to check for and get assistance for all these conditions at the same time.

Substance use

Some people who experience anxiety may use alcohol or other drugs to help them manage their condition. In some cases, this may lead to people developing a substance use problem along with their anxiety condition. Alcohol and substance use can aggravate anxiety conditions particularly as the effects of the substance wear off. It’s important to check for and get assistance for any substance use conditions at the same time.

Remember …

Everyone’s different and it’s often a combination of factors that can contribute to developing an anxiety condition. It’s important to remember that you can’t always identify the cause of anxiety or change difficult circumstances. The most important thing is to recognise the signs and symptoms and seek advice and support.
Mental Health – Anxiety

Mental Health – Anxiety

Anxiety is more than just feeling stressed or worried. While stress and anxious feelings are a common response to a situation where we feel under pressure, they usually pass once the stressful situation has passed, or ‘stressor’ is removed.

Anxiety is when these anxious feelings don’t go away – when they’re ongoing and happen without any particular reason or cause.

It’s a serious condition that makes it hard to cope with daily life. Everyone feels anxious from time to time, but for someone experiencing anxiety, these feelings aren’t easily controlled.

Anxiety is the most common mental health condition in Australia. On average, one in four people – one in three women and one in five men – will experience anxiety at some stage in their life.1 In a 12-month period, over two million Australians experience anxiety.2

Anxiety is common, but the sooner people with anxiety get support, the more likely they are to recover.

Mental Health Awareness

Mental Health Awareness

Men are known for bottling things up. But when you’re feeling down, taking action to call in extra support is the responsible thing to do.

Trying to go it alone when you’re feeling down increases the risk of depression or anxiety going unrecognised and untreated. Depression is a high risk factor for suicide, and plays a contributing role to the big difference in suicide rates for men and women.

On average, one in eight men will experience depression and one in five men will experience anxiety at some stage of their lives.1

Blokes make up an average six out of every eight suicides every single day in Australia. The number of men who die by suicide in Australia every year is nearly double the national road toll.

Everyone’s mental health varies during their life, and can move back and forth along their own personal range between positive and healthy at one end through to severe symptoms or conditions that impact on everyday life at the other, in response to different stressors and experiences.

Effectively managing your mental health can give you significant improvements in your quality of life, increase your capacity to support your family and your mates, and let you perform at your best.