Mental Health Awareness

What causes anxiety disorders to develop in adults?

Are you feeling anxious? Want to know what can cause anxiety in a person? You may be surprised —watch out for these anxiety triggers.

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is the sense of uneasiness, distress, or dread you feel before a significant event. It’s a mind and body’s reaction to stressful, dangerous, or unfamiliar situations. A certain level of anxiety helps us stay alert and aware, but for those suffering from an anxiety disorder, it’s far from normal – completely wearing.

What could be the causes of anxiety:

Is that beyond the blue? Let’s talk about some common causes of anxiety.

Anxiety is a combination of physical, mental and emotional factors that may together make a person feel anxious. However, some past experiences, emotions or particular events worsen the anxiety, these elements are called ‘’triggers’’. Anxiety triggers can be different for each individual.

Anxiety triggers or A gun trigger!

Here are enlisted some common triggers which may worsen your anxiety state or an anxiety attack. Check out!

1. Physical health problem:

Chronic physical illness can also contribute to anxiety or make it worse. Common chronic conditions associated with anxiety conditions include:

  • Diabetes
  • asthma
  • hypertension and heart disease,
  • cancer
  • overactive thyroid issues

Physical health problem is a powerful trigger to worsen anxiety as it is directly linked to a person’s feelings. If you are having anxiety disorder let your doctor see if it is a symptom of another medical problem.

Are you physically fit?

2. Other Mental health problems:

Some people may experience an anxiety condition due to other mental health conditions such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), social or another phobia. Depression and anxiety conditions often exist together. Psychologists and neurologists have identified anxiety and mood disorders as disruptions to hormones and electrical signals in the brain. It’s also common to develop anxiety while living with other mental health problems. Therefore, it’s important to go-to professionals for a check-up and gets medical assistance for all those mental conditions that may be a source of anxiety.

3. Family history (genetics):

People who have family members with an anxiety disorder are more likely to have anxiety themselves. Some people who experience anxiety conditions may have a genetic history of anxiety and these conditions can sometimes run in a family.

4. Environmental factors:

Stressful events in life may be one of the triggers for anxiety attacks especially for those already struggling with anxiety. Here is a list of elements in the environment that may set off anxiety in an individual.

  • Stress on work, school or job change
  • Stress due to financial issues
  • Pregnancy and childbirth
  • Physical, verbal, sexual or emotional abuse or trauma
  • Family and relationship problems
  • Emotional shock following a traumatic or stressful event
  • Death or loss of a loved one.

5. Substance abuse:

Anxiety disorder can sometimes be a side effect or may be triggered by taking some medications such as 

  • Birth control pills
  • Cough and congestion medications
  • Weight loss medications
  • Benzodiazepines

Therefore, consult with your doctor before using any of these medications. Because these drugs make you feel and look for an alternative that doesn’t trigger your anxiety or worsen your symptoms.

6. Recreational drugs or alcohol:

Research studies have shown that people who use alcohol and recreational drugs are 2-3 times more prone to anxiety attacks than the general population.

So, keep a check on your young ones!

7. Caffeine:

Although caffeine is a stimulant and many people like to have a cup of coffee in the morning to get themselves out of bed, but it might actually trigger or worsen anxiety. According to research people with panic disorders, social anxiety disorder are especially sensitive to the anxiety-inducing effects of caffeine. Because caffeine’s creepy effects are alike to any frightening event thus it can make your anxiety worse.

Nevermind! noncaffeinated coffee and tea are the options.

8. Skipping meals – not a good idea!

Stomach growling? Hey, it’s time to eat!

When you haven’t eaten at the proper time your blood sugar may drop and you may feel agitated or anxious. This can lead to trembling hands and a rumbling tummy. Skipping your meals may lead to low blood sugar, feelings of nervousness or agitation, and anxiety. Remember, food can affect your mood and thus can cause stress and may worsen your anxiety.

What should you do now??

Here are some easy tips for identifying your triggers

Make a checklist and record what you think might have led to the trigger of your anxiety.

Do you find it difficult to identify the triggers? Consult a mental health specialist, he may help you and suggest the appropriate ways to deal with it.

Yes, Talk therapy, will make a way to arrest the culprit!

Be patient with yourself and be willing to explore the things in your past to identify how they may affect you today.

Identifying your anxiety triggers will help you to avoid, cope with them and so you will manage your anxiety attacks well.

Tayaba Sarfraz

Dr. Tayaba Sarfraz

Medical Doctor | Medical Educationist & Writer Mommy of 2 | Master chef | Health Enthusiast


  1. This article about causes of anxiety is extremely informative and really helps me to understand in depth, especially the Environmental factors that you mentioned in your article. Hoping to see more articles from you.


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