Although doctors know how to diagnose and treat anxiety disorder, it is very difficult for them to explain why some people develop a mental health problem and others do not. However, there are a number of factors which are known to raise the risk of the disorder. You may feel that one or more of these applies to your situation, but there are many people for whom there is no obvious cause.
When it comes to mental health issues, it is impossible to discount the possibility that genetics plays a part in what causes anxiety disorder. Your personality is shaped partly by nature and partly by nurture, and there is no escaping the fact that some people are simply less fortunate when it comes to coping with stress and anxiety.
Having a close relative with anxiety can raise the chances of developing the disorder yourself by up to forty percent. However, other mental health issues within the family can also increase the odds of anxiety. For instance, you are up to a third more likely to be diagnosed with anxiety if a sibling has depression. Similarly, you may be more prone to anxiety if you have previously had a depressive episode yourself.
Genetics can raise the risk of being diagnosed with anxiety disorder and the symptoms can occur spontaneously, but many sufferers will be able to trace their original symptoms back to a trigger. This might include:
- A period of financial hardship
- Pressure at home (for example, marital issues)
- Work or study related stress
- The death or illness of a family member
It is normal for difficult everyday situations to cause stress, worry or depression and is not necessarily a sign of a mental health disorder. However, if the symptoms persist long after the original stressor has passed then it is likely that something is amiss and medical advice should be sought.
Sometimes the response to the trigger is delayed, with the symptoms first appearing weeks, months or even years after the event. Traumatic childhood events are a common example of this. For example people who lost a parent to illness as a child are more likely to develop health-centric anxiety disorders as an adult.
Diet And Lifestyle
There is a lot of scientific evidence which links what you eat to your mood. Some people seem to be more sensitive to “bad” foods than others, and in some cases diet might be at the root of an anxiety disorder. Commonly, the dietary trigger will be either sugar or caffeine. However, some people seem to be more at risk simply from eating a less than optimum diet. Therefore it can be worth cutting out processed food and increasing your intake of fruit and vegetables to see if your symptoms improve.
What causes anxiety will vary between individuals. Although some sufferers will never find a satisfying explanation for their disorder, most people will find that genetics, life events or diet will account for why they feel anxious. Understanding the trigger can often help on the road to recovery.