What causes anxiety?

What causes anxiety? This is a question I have found myself asking over and over again in the last few years. When I first realised that I suffer from Anxiety I started questioning what really caused it to be so bad?

The NHS defines Anxiety as 'a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear that can be mild or severe' and goes on to say that everyone has feelings of anxiety at some point in their life, however some people find it hard to control and that the feeling is more constant, even often affecting their daily life. Anxiety its self is more likely to be the main symptom of another condition, such as PTSD, social anxiety disorder or even panic disorder. 

Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is the most common conditions that can cause the symptom of anxiety attacks. There is no proven cause of GAD and many people are affected by it for no apparent reason, however there can be some factors that play a role, that includes;

  • Overactivity in the areas of your brain that are involved in emotions and behaviour
  • An imbalance of chemicals in your brain, such as serotonin and noradrenaline that help to control and regulate your mood. 
  • If you have a history of stressful or traumatic experiences such as abuse
  • If you have a painful long term health condition such as arthritis
  • A history of drug or alcohol abuse.
You are also more likely to develop GAD if you have a close relative such as a parent who has the condition. 

Research shows that GAD affects up to 5% of the population in the UK and affects more women than men.

Symptoms of GAD include;

  • Feelings of restlessness or feeling worried
  • finding that you have trouble sleeping
  • having trouble concentrating
  • feeling dizzy or weak
  • heart palpitations
Typical treatments for GAD are;

  1. Psychological therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
  2. Antidepressants or other medications
Other things you can try to help with the symptoms of GAD are, exercising, stopping smoking, cutting down on alcohol, mental health apps. 

The most important thing I want people to get out of this post is that if you are suffering, you are not alone. Anxiety is a hard thing to live with but having support is a huge help for me. Please feel free to reach out if you are struggling

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