What Causes Anxiety?

It can do nothing but make you scared and anxious. Why? Because anxiety causes you to overreact, feel more anxious, and suffer from the resulting emotions. It’s the worst, yet most commonly ignored symptom of this common anxiety disorder. Here’s what you can do now to avoid experiencing it and the consequences that might go hand-in-hand with it, as well as some other common symptoms.

Anxiety is a feeling of discomfort or unease. It is a condition that occurs when our stress-response system is overwhelmed, typically when we experience a frightening event or situation. It is a fear response. A fear response occurs when your brain sends a flood of electrical impulses to your muscles, nerves, breathing, heart, lungs and more to react to a specific stimulus (your fear of being in a particular place or encountering a specific person). These fear responses are the brain’s response to perceived threats or danger. Anxiety is often accompanied by physical symptoms such as trembling, shortness of breath and stomach cramps. Some people will have a combination of muscle spasms, heart rate changes and dizziness.

Anxiety causes us to feel a range of emotions, from mild discomfort to extreme fear.  Most of these affect your personality, emotions and thoughts.

Feelings of concern and worry:

Anxiety is what a person is worried about.  A person in anxiety disorder may worry about a lot of the things we usually worry about! For example, if a person is worried about staying in their seat, then they may worry about how long they need to sit to feel comfortable. If a person is worried that she will make a mistake, then they are likely to worry about how others in the crowd might react if they were to make a mistake. If a person worries about what people will say about her, then they might worry about how they will react to what people will say about them. These feelings of worry affect a person’s mood and make them more anxious.

There are several ways people can experience anxiety and these include:

Sleeping:  Anxiety often leads to insomnia and that is where most of us are most likely to be in this state of anxiety.  While some people have difficulty falling asleep, a lack of sleep is frequently a reason people report having a difficult time getting out of bed. For this reason, staying awake (especially when experiencing anxiety) can cause the body to feel more anxious.

Physical symptoms like:

Crouching or standing up too quickly

Dizziness or lightheadedness

Nausea or vomiting

Pins and needles:

Other physical symptoms may include pinching your skin, shaking, and sweating . Some people will experience tingling or numbness in different areas (such as palms and toes or arms and legs). These symptoms are called autonomic responses.  When our nervous system is overloaded and our bodies are forced to react to situations in ways that are outside of our minds, then these physical responses can be the result.  When we over react, the resulting stress may cause physical symptoms. For example, our fingertips, fingers and knuckles may tingle or feel cold. These symptoms are referred to as tactile hypersensitivity.

Other physical symptoms like:

Hearing rapid blood-flow changes in your ears, tongue, face, or throat causing a metallic, buzzing or ringing sound – called tinnitus.

Tingling, pinched skin

Mental Symptoms

One of the main manifestations of anxiety disorder is depression and the stress that accompanies this type of anxiety.  Depression is similar in many ways to anxiety.  Stress can cause depression and sometimes panic disorder may occur as a natural follow-up to anxiety. The main difference with depression is the negative thoughts that are often present.  While depression can occur after a few bad experiences, most of the time it develops gradually over time. With panic disorder, the symptoms that are common are: 

Hallucinations:  An individual may experience hallucinations that are vivid, realistic or not clear.  Examples are seeing things like people around the corner of a darkened room being in a dreamlike state or walking through walls.

Social withdrawal:  A person might notice that social events or interactions are less fulfilling for them.