Anxiety disorders affect millions of people all around the world. There are many causes of anxiety, and the most common ones are as follows: panic disorder, social phobia, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and others.
Anxiety disorders are characterized by excessive worry, fear, and/or nervousness that interferes with daily life. And this article will help you identify your triggers to improving your relationships and manage your emotional wellbeing.
So if you are struggling to cope with anxiety and/or depression? Have no fear – this hands-on guide on causes of anxiety focuses on helping you pinpoint the root of your problems and find relief from your symptoms in a detailed, step-by-step manner.
With concise, eye-opening exercises, you’ll understand the causes of stress and how to assess your current situation, remove the roadblocks to change, face your fears, and improve your view of yourself and the world around you. You’ll also see how to take direct action to alter negative or distorted thinking, lift your moods, and adopt positive habits that will lead you toward a more joyful, meaningful, and connected life!
Table of Contents
What you can expect from this article:
- How to improve the way you feel about yourself and some quizzes to identify your disorder?
- Skills to face and overcome what makes you anxious or depressed
- How to determine whether medication is an option for you
- Practical ways to prepare for and deal with setbacks
What Is Anxiety and what are the causes of anxiety?
Do you worry too much? Are you often sad or down in the dumps? Do you have to drag yourself out of bed in the morning? Or maybe you avoid people more than you should. If so, you’re probably dealing with some type of anxiety or depression. Depression and anxiety are serious problems — they darken vision and distort thinking while draining joy and pleasure from life.
Everyone feels sad or worried from time to time. Unpleasant feelings are a normal part of life. But when depression or anxiety interferes with your work, play, and/or relationships, it’s time to take action.
Good news! You can conquer these problems. And for that, this article on causes of anxiety will help. You can use this platform on its own or as a supplement to counseling. In either case, numerous studies show that self-help efforts work.
Experts estimate that almost a quarter of the people in the world will experience signiﬁcant problems with anxiety at some point in their lives. And between 15 and 20 percent will succumb to the ravages of depression at one point or another.
Unfortunately, many people suffer from both of these maladies. Over the years, we’ve known many clients, friends, and family members who have anguished over anxiety or depression, but most of them have found signiﬁcant relief.
So if have severe anxiety triggers or causes of anxiety, or if you struggle with anxiety, depression, or both, you’re not alone. We join you in your battle by giving you research-based strategies and plenty of practice opportunities to help you defeat depression and overcome various causes of anxiety.
Sorting Out Causes of Anxiety and Depression
Everyone feels sad or worried from time to time. Such emotions are both natural and unavoidable. People worry about their children, bills, aging parents, jobs, and health. And most people have shed a tear or two watching a sad movie or a news story about a poignant tragedy. That’s normal. A little bit of anxiety and depression is part of everyday life.
But when sadness ﬁlls most of your days or worries saturate your mind, that’s not so normal. You may be experiencing a real problem with depression or anxiety. Anxiety and depression can affect how you think, behave, feel, and relate to others. The discussion and quizzes in this article will help you ﬁgure out how depression and anxiety affect your life and what are the various causes of anxiety. When you understand what’s going on, you can start doing something about it.
Don’t freak out if the quizzes in this article reveal that you have a few symptoms of anxiety or depression. Most people do. We let you know if you should be concerned.
If your symptoms are numerous and severe or your life seems out of control, you should consult your primary care physician or mental health professional. These quizzes aren’t meant to replace trained mental health professionals — they’re the only people who can diagnose your problem.
The Negative Thinking Quiz
If you were able to listen in on the thoughts that reverberate through a depressed person’s head, you might hear “I’m a failure,” “My future looks bleak,” “Things just keep on getting worse,” or “I regret so many things in my life.”
On the other hand, the thoughts of an anxious person might sound like “I’m going to make a fool out of myself when I give that speech,” “I never know what to say at parties,” or “The freeway scares me to death,” “I know that the odds of a plane crash are small, but ﬂying scares me,” or “I’m going have a nervous breakdown if my editor doesn’t like what I write.”
Thoughts inﬂuence the way you feel. The very darkest thoughts usually lead to depression, whereas anxiety usually stems from thoughts about being judged or hurt. And, of course, people often have both types of thoughts.
Do your thoughts dwell on the dark, dismal, or scary aspects of life? Take the quiz mentioned down below to determine if your thoughts reﬂect a problem with anxiety or depression. Put a checkmark next to an item if you feel the statement applies to you.
The Negative Thinking Quiz
1. Things are getting worse and worse for me.
2. I worry all the time.
3. I think I’m worthless.
4. I never know what to say.
5. No one would miss me if I were dead.
6. I’m afraid that I’ll get sick.
7. I think I’m a failure.
8. My thoughts race and I obsess about things.
9. I don’t look forward to much of anything.
10. I get nervous around people I don’t know.
11. The world would be better off without me.
12. Thoughts about past trauma keep rolling through my mind.
13. I ﬁnd it impossible to make decisions.
14. I can’t stand it when I’m the center of attention.
15. My life is full of regrets.
16. I can’t stand making mistakes.
17. I don’t see things getting any better in the future.
18. I worry about my health all the time.
19. I’m deeply ashamed of myself.
20. I over-prepare for everything.
Although these thoughts can occur to someone who’s either depressed or anxious (or both), the odd-numbered items are most indicative of depression, and the even-numbered items reﬂect anxious thinking. There’s no pass or fail mark on this quiz.
However, the more items you endorse, the more you have cause for concern; speciﬁcally, if you check more than eight or ten items, you should think seriously about addressing your condition. At the same time, if you very strongly believe in any of these items, you just may have too much anxiety or depression.
If you have any thoughts of suicide or utter hopelessness, you should consult your primary care physician or a mental health professional immediately.
Sangath is a not-for-profit organization working in Goa, India for 24 years to make mental health services accessible for everyone.
- Helpline: 011-41198666
- Time: 10 AM -6 PM
- Languages: Hindi, English, Marathi, Konkani
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: https://sangath.in/
Mitram Foundation is a suicide prevention helpline that aims to offer emotional support to those going through a crisis in their lives.
- Helpline: 080 2572 2573, +91 901 9708133
- Time: 10:00 AM – 02:00 PM | All days of the Week (10:00 AM – 04:00 PM from September 10, 2021)
- Languages: English, हिंदी
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: https://www.mitramfoundation.org/
The Distraught Behavior Quiz
If you were to follow a depressed or anxious person around, you might see some behavioral signs of their emotional turmoil. That’s because depression and anxiety on the inside affect what people do on the outside. For example, a depressed person may look tired, move slowly, or withdraw from friends and family; an anxious person may avoid socializing or have a trembling voice.
Take the quiz mentioned down below to see if your behavior indicates a problem with anxiety and/or depression. Check off each statement that applies to you.
The Distraught Behavior Quiz
1. I’ve been crying for no clear reason.
2. I pace around when I’m worried.
3. Sometimes I can’t make myself get out of bed.
4. I avoid going into crowded areas.
5. I can’t seem to make myself exercise.
6. I avoid risks because I’m afraid of failure.
7. I don’t do things for fun lately.
8. I always play things on the safe side.
9. I’ve been missing work lately because I just don’t have the motivation.
10. I’m ﬁdgety.
11. I’ve been doing everything at a much slower pace for no good reason.
12. I avoid people or places that remind me of a bad experience.
13. I don’t care what I look like anymore.
14. I spend too much time making sure I look okay.
15. I don’t laugh anymore.
16. My hands shake when I’m nervous.
17. I’ve been letting things go that I need to attend to.
18. I feel compelled to repeat actions (such as hand washing, checking locks, arranging things in a certain way, and so on).
Again, there’s no pass or fail on this quiz. The more items you check, the greater the problem. Even-numbered items are most consistent with anxiety, and odd-numbered items largely indicate depression. And, of course, like many people, you may have symptoms of both types of problems.
Depression and anxiety inevitably produce physical symptoms. Some people primarily suffer from changes in appetite, sleep, energy, or pain while reporting few problematic thoughts or behaviors. These symptoms directly affect your body, but they’re not as easily observed by other people as the behavioral signs covered in the preceding section.
Take The Sad, Stressed Sensations Quiz mentioned down below to see if your body is trying to tell you something about your emotional state.
The Sad, Stressed Sensations Quiz
1. I have no appetite.
2. My palms sweat all the time.
3. I wake up too early each morning and can’t go back to sleep.
4. I’ve been experiencing a lot of nausea and diarrhea.
5. I’ve been sleeping a lot more than usual.
6. I feel shaky all over.
7. I’ve been having lots of aches and pains for no good reason.
8. When I’m nervous, my chest feels tight.
9. I have had no energy lately.
10. My heart races when I’m tense.
11. I’ve been constipated a lot more often than usual.
12. I feel like I can’t catch my breath.
13. I’m eating all the time lately.
14. My hands are often cold and clammy.
15. I’ve lost my sex drive.
16. Sometimes I hyperventilate.
17. Every move I make takes more effort lately.
18. I get dizzy easily.
The symptoms in this quiz can also result from various physical illnesses, drugs in your medicine cabinet, or even your three-cup coffee ﬁx in the morning. Be sure to consult your primary care physician if you’re experiencing any of the symptoms in The Sad, Stressed Sensations Quiz. It’s always a good idea to have a check-up once a year and more frequently if you experience noticeable changes in your body.
Although physical sensations overlap in anxiety and depression, even-numbered items in the quiz above are most consistent with anxiety, and the odd-numbered items usually plague those with depression. There’s no cut-off point for indicating a problem. The more statements you check off, though, the worse your problem.
Reflecting upon Relationships
When you’re feeling down or distressed for any length of time, odds are that your relationships with those around you will take a hit. Although you may think that your depression or anxiety affects only you, it impacts your friends, family, lovers, co-workers, and acquaintances.
Take the quiz mentioned down below to see if your emotions are causing trouble with your relationships. Check off any statements that apply to you.
The Conﬂicted Connections Quiz
1. I don’t feel like being with anybody.
2. I get very nervous when I meet new people.
3. I don’t feel like talking to anyone.
4. I’m overly sensitive when anyone criticizes me most slightly.
5. I’m more irritable with others than usual.
6. I worry about saying the wrong thing.
7. I don’t feel connected to anyone.
8. I worry about people leaving me.
9. I don’t feel like going out with anyone anymore.
10. I’m plagued by visions of people I care about getting hurt.
11. I’ve withdrawn from everyone.
12. I feel uptight in crowds, so I stay at home.
13. I feel numb around people.
14. I always feel uncomfortable in the spotlight.
15. I feel unworthy of friendship and love.
16. Compliments make me feel uneasy.
You guessed it; there’s no cut-off score here to tell you deﬁnitively whether or not you’re anxious or depressed. But the more items you check off, the more your relationships are suffering from your anxiety, depression, or both. Odd-numbered items usually indicate problems with depression, and even-numbered items particularly accompany anxious feelings.
Many people are a little shy or introverted. You may feel somewhat anxious meeting new people and maybe uncomfortable in the spotlight — these feelings aren’t necessarily anything to be concerned about. However, such issues become problematic when you ﬁnd yourself avoiding social activities or meeting new people because of your shyness.
Choosing Your Challenge
The next four parts of this article cover the areas of thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and relationships. One obvious way of deciding which area to begin in is to choose the one that causes you the most problems. Or, you can work through them in order. Wherever you choose to start, you should know that all these areas interact with each other. For example, if you have anxious thoughts about being judged, you’re likely to avoid (behavior) the spotlight. And you could very well experience butterﬂies (feelings). Furthermore, you may be overly sensitive to criticism from others (relationships).
Nevertheless, we ﬁnd that many people like to start by tackling the problem area that best ﬁts their styles. In other words, some folks are doers, and others are thinkers; still, others are feelers, and some are relaters. Use the Personal Style Questionnaire mentioned down below to pinpoint and understand your preferred style.
Personal Style Questionnaire
- I like facts and numbers.
- I tend to be a very logical person.
- I’m a planner.
- I like to think through problems.
- I carefully weigh costs and beneﬁts before I act.
- I can’t stand sitting around and thinking.
- I like to take action on problems.
- Or, I like accomplishing things each day.
- I like plowing through obstacles.
- I act ﬁrst and think later.
- I’m a very sensuous person.
- I pay a lot of attention to how I feel.
- I love massages and hot baths.
- Music and art are very important to me.
- I’m very in touch with my feelings.
- I’m a people person.
- I’d rather be with people than anything else.
- I care deeply about other people’s feelings.
- I’m very empathetic.
- Relationships are more important to me than accomplishments.
Know more about Anxiety Management: Mindfulness Exercises for Mental Health
Knowing When to Get More Help
Self-help tools beneﬁt almost everyone who puts in the effort. Many people ﬁnd they can overcome minor to moderate emotional problems by working with an article/guide like this one. Nevertheless, some difﬁculties require professional help, perhaps because your anxiety or depression is especially serious or because your problems are simply too complex to be addressed by self-help methods.
Work through The Serious Symptom Checklist mentioned down below to ﬁnd out if you should seriously consider seeking treatment from a mental health professional.
Checking off any one item from the list means that you should strongly consider a professional consultation. Furthermore, please realize that no such list can be all-inclusive. If you’re not sure if you need help, see a mental health professional for an assessment.
The Serious Symptom Checklist
- I have thoughts about killing myself.
- I feel hopeless.
- My sleep has been seriously disturbed for more than two weeks (including sleeping too little or too much).
- I’ve gained or lost more than a few pounds without trying to do so.
- I’m ignoring major responsibilities in my life such as going to work or paying bills.
- I’m hearing voices.
- Or, I’m seeing things that aren’t there.
- My drug use and/or drinking are interfering with my life.
- My thoughts race, and I can’t slow them down.
- Someone I trust and care about has said I need help.
- I’ve been getting into numerous ﬁghts or arguments.
- I’ve been making really poor decisions lately (such as making outlandish purchases or getting involved in questionable business schemes).
- Lately, I’ve felt that people are out to get me.
- I haven’t been able to get myself to leave the house except for absolute essentials.
- I’m taking risks that I never did before.
- Suddenly I feel like I’m a special person who’s capable of extraordinary things.
- I’m spending considerably more time every day than I should repeat actions such as hand washing, arranging things, and checking and rechecking things (appliances, locks, and so on).
- I have highly disturbing ﬂashbacks or nightmares about past trauma that I can’t seem to forget about.
If you checked one or more of the statements above and you’re beginning to think that perhaps you need help, where should you go? Many people start with their family physicians, which is a pretty good idea because your doctor can also determine if your problems have a physical cause. If physical problems have been ruled out or treated and you still need help, you can:
- Check with your state’s psychology, counseling, social work, or psychiatric association.
- Call your insurance company for recommendations.
- Ask trusted friends or family for recommendations.
- Contact your local university department of psychology, social work, counseling, or psychiatry for a referral.
Either before or during your ﬁrst session, talk to the mental health professional and ask if you’ll receive a scientiﬁcally validated treatment for anxiety or depression. Unfortunately, some practitioners lack the necessary training in therapies that have shown effectiveness in scientiﬁc studies. And make sure whomever you see is a licensed mental health practitioner.
At this point, you should pat yourself on the back! Whether this is the first article (on Mental Health) you’ve read or not, you’ve made a good start. Every minute you spend on this platform is likely to improve your mood.
Discover ways to cope with anxiety
There are many different treatments available for anxiety disorders. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one of the most effective therapies for treating anxiety. CBT teaches patients to identify thoughts and behaviors that lead to feelings of anxiety and then replace them with more helpful ones. It also helps patients learn new skills to manage their symptoms.
Take control of your life.
If you feel anxious, there’s no need to let it rule your life. Instead, take charge of your situation by learning ways to cope with anxiety.
- Start by identifying the triggers that cause you to feel anxious.
- Then, try to avoid these situations as much as possible.
- Next, find support groups where you can share experiences with others who understand what you’re going through.
- Finally, talk to your doctor about medication options.
Learn about the different kinds of anxiety.
There are two main categories of anxiety disorders: Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD).
GAD affects people of a wide range of ages, while SAD tends to affect young adults. Both disorders involve excessive worry about everyday things. However, GAD often involves more intense feelings of fear and panic than SAD.
Understand why people get anxious.
People with anxiety disorders tend to feel worried about something happening in the future. They also tend to think about these worries constantly, even when there’s nothing to worry about. This makes them feel anxious.
Know when to seek help.
If you’re feeling anxious, talk to your doctor. They will ask questions about your symptoms and medical history. Then, he or she will recommend treatment options accordingly based on your current situation and symptoms.
How to Cope with Anxiety and Stop Worrying About It
You’re not alone if you struggle with anxiety. One out of four people suffers from some form of anxiety disorder. But there are ways to manage it. Read on to learn more about anxiety and how to cope with it.
Anxiety disorders affect millions of Americans every year. They include panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and social phobia. Anxiety disorders often cause physical symptoms that interfere with daily life.
For example, someone with OCD might experience obsessions and compulsions that prevent them from sleeping or eating properly. Someone with PTSD might avoid places where they were traumatized because they fear they will relive those experiences.
Know The Signs of Anxiety.
If you notice any of these signs, talk to your doctor right away. He or she can help you figure out what’s causing your anxiety and give you treatment options.
Signs of Anxiety:
- Feeling nervous
- Feeling helpless
- A sense of impending panic, danger, or doom
- Increased heart rate
- Obsessively thinking about the panic trigger
Take Care of Yourself.
People who suffer from anxiety often feel overwhelmed by their symptoms. They worry about everything from whether they’ll make it through an exam to whether they’ll be able to handle a difficult conversation.
Seek Help from Family and Friends.
If you find yourself worrying too much, talk to family members, and friends. Ask them what they think will help you deal with your worries. Sometimes just talking things out helps. Other times, you might need professional help.
Find Ways to Manage Stress.
There are several different kinds of stress, and each has its symptoms.
- Physical stress includes feeling tired, irritable, or having headaches.
- Emotional stress includes feeling anxious, angry, or sad.
- Cognitive stress involves thinking too much about something.
- Social stress occurs when you feel isolated or lonely.
- Financial stress happens when you worry about money.
Learn More About Anxiety Disorders.
If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed by anxiety, you know what I’m talking about. It’s hard to focus on anything else when you’re constantly worried about whether you’ll make it through the day without freaking out. While there’s no cure for anxiety disorders, there are things you can do to help yourself feel better.
Here are 11 tips for coping with an anxiety disorder:
Keep physically active.
Develop a routine, so that you’re physically active most days of the week. Exercise is a powerful stress reducer. It can improve your mood and help you stay healthy. Start slowly, and gradually increase the amount and intensity of your activities.
Avoid alcohol and recreational drugs.
These substances can cause or worsen anxiety. If you can’t quit on your own, see your health care provider or find a support group to help you.
Quit smoking, and cut back or quit drinking caffeinated beverages.
Nicotine and caffeine can worsen anxiety.
Use stress management and relaxation techniques.
Visualization techniques, meditation, and yoga are examples of relaxation techniques that can ease anxiety.
Make sleep a priority.
Do what you can to make sure you’re getting enough sleep to feel rested. If you aren’t sleeping well, talk with your health care provider.
Eat healthy foods.
A healthy diet that incorporates vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and fish may be linked to reduced anxiety, but more research is needed.
Learn about your disorder.
Talk to your health care provider to find out what might be causing your specific condition and what treatments might be best for you. Involve your family and friends, and ask for their support.
Stick to your treatment plan.
Take medications as directed. Keep therapy appointments and complete any assignments your therapist gives. Consistency can make a big difference, especially when it comes to taking your medication.
Learn what situations or actions cause you to stress or increase your anxiety. Practice the strategies you developed with your mental health provider, so you’re ready to deal with anxious feelings in these situations.
Keep a journal.
Keeping track of your personal life can help you and your mental health provider identify what’s causing you stress and what seems to help you feel better.
Don’t let worries isolate you from loved ones or activities.
Your worries may not go away on their own, and they may worsen over time if you don’t seek help. See your health care provider or a mental health provider before your anxiety worsens. It’s easier to treat if you get help early.
Also Read: Overeating Is a Deadly Disease