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									Anxiety Panic Disorder

  Stop Anxiety Panic Attacks - What Causes Anxiety Disorders?

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Anxiety Panic Disorder

What Causes Anxiety Disorders?

If you or someone close to you has been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder , you may
be wondering at what causes these anxiety disorders. The answer is there are many
factors that can contribute to or cause an anxiety disorder. Typically, a combination of a
few of these factors coming together, over an extended period of time, can cause
anxiety disorder in a person. It is unusual thought not rare for one factor alone to cause
such anxiety and distress as is associated with anxiety disorders. It is possible that a
single traumatic event may result in an anxiety disorder but typically it is believed to
arise as a result of the combination of many biological, social and psychological

Studies carried out so far have indicated that some factors play a major role in
contributing to anxiety disorders. These are:

   Neurological Factors
   Heredity or Genetic Factors
   An Overworked or Overstressed Lifestyle
   Childhood Experiences
   Personality Factors.

Let us try and understand how each one of these factors can contribute to heightening
a sense of anxiety in a person leading to anxiety disorder.

   1. Neurological Factors

       When we feel we are in danger or feel threatened, our body has an inbuilt
       defense mechanism that helps us fight or flee. This consists of both physical and
       psychological reactions that aid us in acting to protect ourselves.

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       The physical reactions include an increased heartbeat, fast breathing, muscle
       tension and so on. The adrenal gland pumps out more adrenalin and you may
       actually feel more energy inside of you. These are the ways in which the body
       hopes to help you resolve the situation that is causing you anxiety. In fact, in
       most cases, it does. When you are stressed or afraid of any situation, all the
       above reactions help you to focus more on the problem at hand and work on
       resolving it.

       For some people, however, these reactions tend to be of an extreme nature. Not
       only that, the mind starts perceiving everyday happenings and normal situations
       as life threatening. The body therefore is always in a heightened state of anxiety
       and continues to be in an equivalent physical state. The body continues to
       trigger responses similar to those when faced by danger even though no real
       danger exists.

       There are indications that this kind of overreaction is caused by a certain kind of
       chemical imbalance in the brain. Though it is still not clear what causes this
       imbalance, the fact that medications aided to restore the chemical balance have
       helped reduce the anxiety disorder , seems to suggest that it does play a role.
       There is ongoing research to determine whether the overreaction to situations
       causes the chemical imbalance or the imbalance brings about the extreme

       Many have found that as soon as their body starts exhibiting these physical
       symptoms, if they practice some relaxation techniques like deep breathing or
       meditation, it provides them with some relief and calms their system.

   2. Heredity or Genetic Factors

       If there is one factor that research is fairly clear about, it is that anxiety disorders

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       tend to be hereditary. In other words, they tend to run in families. If one member
       of the family is exhibiting anxiety disorder, chances are more members of the
       family are likely to have a predisposition to this disorder. In fact, research has
       shown that amongst identical twins, if one twin has an anxiety disorder, the other
       identical twin is more than likely to have it too. This is not always true in case of
       non-identical or fraternal twins, indicating that genetic factors too play an
       important role in the development of anxiety disorders. When these genetic or
       hereditary factors combine with other stressful life experiences, anxiety disorder
       may be triggered.

   3. An Overworked or Overstressed Lifestyle

       When you are under stress or feeling overworked, your body and mind trigger
       responses that will help you get through the stressful period. They believe your
       safety is being threatened and emotional as well as physical responses are
       triggered to help you overcome those conditions. Once the stressful period is
       passed, your body and mind need time to heal and get back to experiencing
       normal activities again.

       However, if you are constantly under stress and have poor lifestyle habits such
       as overworking, lack of rest and recreation, lack of adequate sleep, poor diet
       and lack of exercise, your body and mind are constantly at heightened anxiety
       levels. If they are not given time to relax and recover, your body and mind will be
       constantly under stress and will start reacting even to daily events as though
       they were real dangers.

       Let us consider the typical day in the life of a busy working person – say, a
       marketing executive like Doug, and how an overload of stress can contribute to
       an anxiety disorder. After working for about 65-70 hours every week, Doug
       hardly has any time to sleep, let alone take some time out for himself. He has

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       been going from one relationship to another and hardly spends any time at
       home. Doug has no time to exercise and to save time, he mainly survives on fast
       food. Over time, Doug’s body started viewing these continuing stressful factors
       as a constant threat to his survival. It started staying in a state of constant alert
       and even ordinary situations seemed life threatening to Doug. His physical and
       mental anxiety kept increasing til he started having repeated anxiety attacks.

       While it is not possible to completely eliminate stress from your life, it is certainly
       in your power to get rid of as many stressors as you possibly can. Some of these
       are simple to do like having a healthy diet, exercising regularly and getting
       enough sleep. Others may need some work – like working through stressful
       periods more calmly and taking time out to cool down. This way your body and
       mind will learn to wind down once the stressful period is over.

   4. Childhood Experiences

       Many underestimate the impact our childhood experiences have on us. Many
       unfortunately come from abusive homes where their childhood experiences
       would have left a scar on their young minds. Even as adults, the anxiety and fear
       that they would have felt as a child would have stayed with them. Combined with
       any other stressful event or period of extended anxiety, these feelings can
       quickly result in an anxiety disorder.

       Even when adults around you have meant well, their actions and thinking would
       have left a very deep mark on you. For example, you may have picked up some
       beliefs or habits that contribute to anxiety. You may have somehow been given
       the impression that only by being successful can you gain love and acceptance.
       You may have been constantly criticized or judged and not been allowed to
       express your opinions or your feelings freely. You may have watched adults in
       your family or close to you react to things in life with great anxiety.

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   5. Personality Factors

       The psychological make up of a person has a lot to do with how one copes with
       stress and anxiety. It has often been found that a person with low self-esteem
       and inadequate coping skills is more prone to an anxiety disorder. Such a
       person may have a lot of negative thought patterns and may find it difficult to
       come out of these moods.

       While everyone has negative thoughts occasionally, some are unable to keep
       these from overwhelming them completely and are also unable to find ways in
       which they can replace them with positive ones. If these people do not find ways
       of enhancing their self-esteem or find ways of coping with disappointments in
       life, they may find themselves having to deal with an anxiety disorder.

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