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Potential Causes of Anxiety Disorders

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Changes in Brain Function

Ascribed to being one of the potential effects of long-term exposure to stress, changes in the way our brain functions may conceivably contribute to the development of Anxiety Disorders. Strong emotions, possible changes in the function of brain circuits, and the way nerve cells transmit information could also affect the way we process emotions such as fear and anxiety.

Environmental Stress

Significant stressful events in our immediate environment can also contribute to the possible development of Anxiety Disorders. Major life changes, illnesses, loss, or trauma, for instance, could have us reaching too deeply into our well of emotions.


While this has yet to be proven, and the particular genetic markers identified, Anxiety Disorders do seem to run in families, thereby arguing strongly for what could be a biological basis. What this tells us is that there could be a greater likelihood for a person having an Anxiety Disorder if someone in their family also suffers from the same condition. Traumatic or stressful events or major life changes can offer trigger this condition if one has inherited a predisposition for anxiety.

Medical Causes

Sometimes, Anxiety Disorders can easily be traced to something medical or even physiological in nature – whether a different health issue or illness altogether, or as a side-effect of medication or drugs that are being taken. This is particularly true if a person’s life has not been characterized by anything excessively stressful or traumatic, there is no family history of anxiety, and you have never suffered from any bouts of anxiety before, whether during your childhood or throughout your life changes and events.

It is certainly possible that certain medications you may be taking can have the unintended side effect of anxiety or even depression. It is also possible that such emotions can be caused by another medical problem, for instance, heart disease, diabetes, respiratory problems, asthma, rare tumors, or dementia. In fact, some physical conditions can even mimic of be indistinguishable from the symptoms suffered during an anxiety attack – for instance, an overactive thyroid. On the other hand, anxiety can also take place together with other and separate mental disorders, such as depression. In this case, the more effective treatment should be targeted for both or all conditions being experienced, instead of one or the other exclusively.

Personality Type

It seems that certain personality types are more prone to developing Anxiety Disorders than others. Shyness or inhibition during childhood seems to put some people at higher risk of developing Anxiety Disorders when they grow older. This is also true for children who lack self-esteem, are controlling or perfectionists, and are timid or inhibited. Such personality traits sometimes seem to make it more likely that a person will suffer from an anxiety attack at some point in their lives.

Drugs or alcohol

Some people do turn to drugs or alcohol to “take the edge off” when suffering from frequent anxiety attacks. One of the more common but inappropriate advice that a person with Anxiety Disorder may hear is to “have a drink or two” to settle one’s nerves. The truth is that while some temporary relief might be derived from either alcohol or drugs, turning to these for “treatment” will only aggravate one’s condition in the long run. Once their effects wear off, the anxiety is still there, and perhaps stronger than ever.

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Potential Causes of Anxiety Disorders. (2020, April 30). GradesFixer. Retrieved November 29, 2021, from
“Potential Causes of Anxiety Disorders.” GradesFixer, 30 Apr. 2020,
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