What Causes Anxiety ?

What Causes the Anxiety symptoms and disorder?

What Causes Anxiety? If you or a loved one suffers from anxiety you probably wondered what causes anxiety. While scientists and doctors are still unsure about what the causes are, there is a general consensus about the certain factors in people’s lives that may make them prone to anxiety attacks. Rest assured, however, as there are effective anxiety cures that will help you with this disorder.


While panic and anxiety disorders themselves are not hereditary, it’s thought that a person can be predisposed to an anxiety based on genetic factors. For instance, my mother used to suffer from panic attacks on a regular basis. These were usually brought on by stressful situations in the workplace or at home. I did not realize this until I started experiencing attacks in my late 20’s, and she was able to help me through an attack due to her experience.

Genetics play a role in some of the factors that determine brain chemistry. If someone has genetic markers that make their brain more susceptible to an anxiety disorder and they are immersed in a stressful environment, they may suffer from panic attacks. However, the same brain chemistry markers in a different environment may never experience an anxiety attack in their life.


Stress, of course, can also play a large factor in the development of anxiety disorder. Panic attacks often emerge at times of great change such as getting married, starting a family, moving homes, financial problems, starting school or a new job. Sudden changes that are out of your control such as the death of someone close to you, a divorce or unemployment can also trigger panic attacks, particularly if numerous stressful situations build up at the same time. Stress can really wear your system down. While stress is hard to avoid, it can be managed through lifestyle changes and relaxation techniques. I just started doing Yoga recently and I’ve found that it has really helped me feel calm and focused.

Brain Chemistry

Our brains are complex organs. They are constantly checking and rechecking to make sure we have all the reactions and chemicals we need to live our lives. When you feel an anxiety attack coming on, that is your body trying to look after you while dealing with fear or stress. While the brain may think something in your environment is life threatening, our bodies work using intuition and feeling, manifesting our fear as physical symptoms.

Alcohol, nutrition, caffeine, genetics and exercise all play a role in brain chemistry. With the right combination of events, coupled with primed brain chemistry, a panic attack can be provoked. They can come right out of nowhere and cripple you with fear. When panic attacks were happening frequently in my life I decided to stop drinking coffee and alcohol. This greatly reduced the number of attacks I experienced. Since nutrition and diet are easier to control than genetics, I made sure to watch what I was eating and drinking. I also adopted a regular exercise routine which helped produce endorphins that helped me to have a happy and positive outlook.

Medication and natural remedies can also help with controlling your brain chemistry.

Health & Nutrition Problems

There are a number of nutrient deficiencies and health conditions that can cause anxiety and panic attacks including:

  • Mitral valve prolapse
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Stimulants like caffeine
  • Medication withdrawal
  • Depression
  • Fatigue

When you suffer from anxiety and panic attacks, it is important to be aware of what you are putting into your body. You must also learn what healthy foods to incorporate into your diet. For example, some researchers have found a link between magnesium deficiency and anxiety disorders. And we know that vitamin D plays an important role in emotion and mood.

What Causes Anxiety? Here are some examples of foods that can be increasing your onset of anxiety and panic attacks:

  • MSG: This is usually found in Chinese food. MSG must be avoided as it can have negative effect on your nervous system as well as cause the following: headaches, tingling, numbness and chest pains.
  • Salt: Salt depletes the body of potassium, a mineral important to the proper functioning of your nervous system. Salt also raises blood pressure which puts a strain on your heart and arteries. Please keep your salt intake to a minimum and do not excess 1gm of salt per day.
  • Chemical Additives: Due to commercial food processing, there are thousands of chemical additives that are found in our foods. This can have a negative effect on our bodies as well as our minds. Try changing your diet to incorporate more fresh vegetables and fruit that are grown by a local organic farmer that does not use pesticides.
  • Hormones in Meats: Commercially manufactured forms of meat are often fed hormones to promote fast weight gain and growth in animals. One of the hormones used is called Diethylstilbestrol . It has been linked to such ailments as tumors and breast cancer. When treating your anxiety, replace red meat with pork, poultry or fish.
  • Sweet Refined Foods: Keep your sugar intake to a minimum as they can negatively affect your blood sugar and brain function, leading to anxiety, mood swings and depression.

Bad Habits

Negative self talk and an overactive imagination can turn into anxiety disorder. Fear starts to overtake your life as you start to imagine the worst case scenarios. Your body starts to react to this imagined fear and starts to manifest s itself physically with such panic symptoms as increased heartbeat and difficulty breathing.

When you find your mind starting to go off “spinning,” you must always remind yourself that these fears are only an illusion. You are imagining scenarios that haven’t even happened yet. Take a deep breath, relax, and choose to think about positive experiences, silver linings and best case scenarios. I found this made a big difference in my life, whenever I found myself getting trapped into negative thinking, I just ‘flip-switched” my thoughts to something that made me feel happy such as the beach or my pets.

The causes of a person’s anxiety can vary from person to person. It is important to talk with a professional about a treatment that works for you and your lifestyle. There are many forms of behavioral therapy and/or psychotherapy that have helped people overcome anxiety and panic attacks. I had a very positive experience with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I was able to learn effective ways to deal with irrational thinking and have a more positive outlook. There are good many good books on the subject which are also very helpful.

Sometimes all it takes is a few lifestyle changes and a few learned coping mechanisms to live the life you deserve and find freedom from panic and anxiety.