You hear about a plane crash on the radio and your heart starts pounding. You feel the sweat drip down your back. Before you now it, you’ve created an entire scenario where you or a loved one dies tragically in a plane crash. By the time you begin to visualize the funeral, you’re so filled with anxiety that you’ve entirely forgotten the next time you’re going to be on a plane probably won’t be for years.
Anxiety has several causes, not the least of which is environmental factors like in the situation described above. Other environmental factors include: work, school, money, natural disasters and relationships. No matter which category your stress-inducing event falls in to, it’s probably something out of your control. For people already prone to anxiety, this can just make a bad situation worse.
Think there might be an underlying problem? You might just be right if you’re anxiety is caused by a medical complication. Examples include medication side effects, lack of oxygen, an overactive thyroid or even something as simple as too much coffee. If your anxiety is caused by a medical complication it’s probably best to enlist a doctor’s help in dealing with it.
Medications aren’t the only substances that can cause or worsen anxiety. Estimates suggest that many individuals seeking help for panic or anxiety disorders do so because of substance abuse. Whatever your poison – alcohol, benzos, cocaine or heroin all cause users to becoming increasingly anxious.
As with several other conditions, it might not be a bad idea to check your genes. Are your parents anxious? Several research studies have suggested that a family history of anxiety increases the possibility that a person will feel anxious. As with all other questions in genetics, it’s important to note that a predisposition to anxiety isn’t a sentence, it’s merely a factor.
Hand in hand with genetics, is neurotransmitter levels. Scientists claim that people with abnormal levels of some neurotransmitters (such as GABA and serotonin) are much more likely to suffer from generalized anxiety disorders. Malfunctioning neurotransmitters leads to a breakdown of the internal network, which is never a good thing.