What causes and triggers anxiety?

Explore the possible common causes and triggers of anxiety and panic attacks.

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What Triggers Anxiety?

Anxiety affects each person uniquely, making it challenging to pinpoint the exact causes of anxiety issues. Likely, multiple factors contribute to its onset.

Below, we explore some factors that may increase the likelihood of experiencing anxiety problems:

Past experiences or childhood

Experiences from your past, especially in childhood, can significantly influence anxiety. These might include:
  • Experiencing physical or emotional abuse
  • Neglect or loss of a parent
  • Bullying, social exclusion, or racism
  • Overprotective or emotionally distant parenting

Significant life changes, including the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, can also trigger anxiety.

Your current life situation

Your current situation can also be a source of anxiety. Common triggers include:

  • Stress accumulation or exhaustion
  • Changes or uncertainties in life
  • Pressures from work or studies
  • Financial or housing issues
  • Environmental concerns (like climate anxiety)
  • Grief or loneliness
  • Experiencing abuse, bullying, or racism

Drugs and medication

Anxiety can sometimes emerge as a side effect of:

  • Certain psychiatric medications.
  • Some medications prescribed for physical health conditions.
  • Use of recreational drugs and alcohol.

If you experience side effects from medication, it’s important to report them on the government’s Yellow Card website.

Frequently Asked Questions

While there’s evidence of anxiety running in families, it’s unclear whether this is due to genetic factors or learned behaviours.

Identifying stressors and seeking support through therapy, lifestyle adjustments, and possibly medication can help manage anxiety.

Yes, certain foods and drinks, like those high in sugar and caffeine, can trigger or worsen anxiety symptoms.

Get support

Talk with a trained professional about your thoughts and feelings with out free counselling and private counselling service for people over the age of 18.

Counselling Private Counselling