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What causes anxiety?

Anxiety can be caused by a number of things that present as risk factors contributing to the development of an anxiety condition. Such factors include a genetic predisposition, stress and lifestyle, chronic health conditions, substance abuse and mental health conditions just to name a few.

Everyone is different in how they experience anxiety and what might provoke the onset of anxiety or a panic attack, which is why it is important to recognise your individual signs and symptoms and seek professional help.

What is a genetic predisposition to anxiety?

Sometimes anxiety or other mental health problems run in the family therefore giving you a genetic predisposition to it. This is not to say you will definitely have an anxiety condition if your grandmother did but if you are experiencing the symptoms of anxiety and you know it runs in the family, it would be a good idea to speak to a professional about it. You may also consider your personality type as research shows certain personality types are at higher risk of developing an anxiety disorder. Perfectionists, people who like to be in control or those who lack self-esteem sometimes develop anxiety disorders at various stages of their life.

Can stress bring on anxiety?

Yes, ongoing stress, such as work related stress; marriage or relationship stress or traumatic life events may lead to the development of an anxiety condition.  It is important to recognise the stressor and manage the symptoms by talking to friends, family and a professional.

Can chronic health cause anxiety?

Chronic health like diabetes, heart disease, asthma and other major physical illnesses are challenged to face the reality of the disease and often feel anxiety as an effect of the disease. Faced with problems that the disease places on everyday living such as monitoring and self-treatment and the effect it can have on relationships. Poor sleep, lack of self-confidence and low self esteem as a result of the disease, can also contribute to anxiety.

How do drugs and alcohol effect anxiety?

Managing anxiety can be difficult and some anxiety sufferers turn to alcohol or drugs to manage the symptoms. Unfortunately, the immediate effect of the substance that may seem effective, they often lead to long term addiction or substance abuse and may also aggravate the condition.

The most important thing to remember is that anxiety conditions can be effectively managed. It’s important to recognise the signs and symptoms of anxiety and seek professional help. Our team of Clinical Psychologists at both Newmarket and Morningside are trained in the treatment of anxiety using a variety of therapies including cognitive behavioural therapy. To view our team of psychologists, visit the Psychologists page on our website.

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