Environmental Causes of Anxiety: Your environment is everything around you, with which you may, or may not interact. That’s a very broad definition, because the environment is basically everything outside of you. It includes not just nature, and the biological, but the social as well. And all of it can cause stress and contribute to anxiety.
Anxiety and anxiety-based disorders are very similar in symptomology and in their function; they exist to help keep a person safe from harm and to manage the fight/flight/or freeze stress reaction. Anxiety disorders exist when the feeling and physical reaction are so severe or chronic that they interfere with day to day living.
Common Environmental Causes of Anxiety
The causes of anxiety and anxiety disorders can vary but will fall into either the genetic or environmental categories. Looking at the environmental causes, the biological are some of the most controllable. Psychotropic substances, or substances which affect an individual’s thought and emotional states, are some of the more common causes of anxiety. Of these substances, caffeine would be the most common.
Caffeine is a stimulant that speeds up the nervous system, and can cause racing thoughts, difficulty concentrating, rapid heartbeat and shallow breathing among other things. It is highly correlated with anxiety and can either cause anxious or nervous feelings and behaviors or exacerbate already existing anxiety problems. Other drugs can cause similar symptoms, with methamphetamines as one example.
Probably the most common environmental source of anxiety are events that happen in everyone’s life. Situations that involve loss, or sudden and unexpected change often bring about anxiety. For example, finding out your parents are getting a divorce can be shocking and a sudden change, that can elicit tremendous anxiety in children. Getting fired from work, as another example, will bring out vast amounts of stress and uncertainty about the future. The key here is that suddenly the future is uncertain, and what was thought was normal and planned out, is now a big unknown.
Traumas also cause a lot of damage, chief among this is anxiety. Trauma is known to create many different symptoms, mainly those that are anxiety-based. Post-traumatic stress disorder highlights this, with hyper-vigilance, intrusive thoughts, and general anxiety. It is like a wound in the mind, and it forces the person to keep going, acting like the attack or damage is going to come again and again. It is draining to keep going at that rate to say the least.
Anxiety comes from many different sources, but it looks very similar from each source. The key is that anxiety is treatable, no matter what causes it. A combination of medication, education, and talk therapy can be helpful in lessening the severity of it or eliminating it altogether. Help is out there from a variety of mental health professionals. Many individuals have found success with a counselor from an online therapy service. These services are much more convenient than face to face appointments, and can be much less expensive.