CAUSES OF ANXIETY DISORDERS
The main causes of anxiety disorders
The chemical makeup of the brain is also implicated as a causative factor. The particular area of the brain involved is that which regulates a person’s response to fear.
Anxiety disorders mostly occur in association with other mental health disorders. The symptoms of anxiety disorder have been reduced by some people who take substances like alcohol or drugs but this relief is transient as the symptoms come back, not long. The drugs of abuse e.g. alcohol, nicotine, caffeine further exacerbate anxiety disorder.
CURRENT RESEARCH ON ANXIETY DISORDER
Scientists are still looking into the condition in a bid to determine its cause. Highly skilled people on the subject matter believe that the cause is multidimensional, incorporating one’s genetic makeup, diet and even stress.
Twin studies have shown that genetics may play a role. A particular study published in PloS ONE shows that the gene RBFOX1 may play a role in the generation of anxiety-linked conditions such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). The researchers believed that both genetic and non-genetic factors may play a role.
The brain segments including the amygdala and hippocampus are under extensive studies. The amygdala is a minute structure located in the interior of the brain that manages threat. When there are danger signs, it notifies the other brain parts. It can stimulate a response of fear or anxiety. It has a role to play in anxiety conditions that cause specific fears such as fear of drowning or fear of some animals.
The hippocampus isn’t left out in the etiology of anxiety disorders. It is a brain part that saves memories of frightful events. It tends to be reduced in size in those who experience domestic violence such as child abuse or those who went to war.
Despite the fact that the particular cause of anxiety disorders are unknown, risk factors have been detected by skilled people in the field. The likelihood of having anxiety disorder is more if you:
- Are depressed
- Have irritable bowel syndrome
- Have a prior history of substance abuse
- Have had a type of anxiety disorder
Other contributing factors include:
Stress: this is a general life situation as almost everyone experiences stress. It is only problematic when this stress becomes too much or when it is not being attended to. Excessive stress increases your chance of getting an anxiety disorder.
Genetics: as genes are being identified as likely risk factors, you stand a higher chance of getting anxiety disorder if a family member has it. The chances are further increased when a first degree relative has it e.g. your parents
Personality type: Those with type A personalities especially those who are often busy, and high strung people are much more likely to get an anxiety disorder. This is because we are different and the fact that one has something does not mean another person will.
Trauma: being severely traumatized especially in the case of child abuse or being in a war front increases the likelihood of anxiety disorder. You don’t necessarily have to be the direct victim of trauma for your chance of developing anxiety disorder to increase. You may just be close to the victim or you got to witness a traumatic event whether accidental or not.
Gender: the chances of developing anxiety disorders and anxiety-related conditions are higher in females than males with a ratio of 2:1.
IMPORTANT MESSAGE TO TAKE WITH YOU
Even the experts cannot seem to find the particular causes of anxiety disorders. Personal life, genetics, and environmental influences are noted in this disorder. If you feel you have an anxiety disorder, go see a doctor. They can diagnose and further treat the condition. The approaches they may use for treatment include counseling (psychotherapy), medications or recommendation of lifestyle changes.
Some symptoms seen in anxiety disorders may be caused by some medical diseases and drugs. For this scenario, the doctor focuses on modifying the treatment regimen or treats the medical condition.
Tonika Bruce, MSN, RN, MBA. is an accomplished nurse leader, published author, and personal development expert passionate about advancing healthcare management and quality patient outcomes.
She taps into the years of experience in healthcare management to produce credible and easy-to-understand health and leadership content. Her exceptional work has been featured in reputable publications, including Forbes, Recruiter, Inc, and the Color of Wellness magazine.