What Causes Anxiety Disorder?

Mental health is complicated, and for those struggling with it, it’s only natural that they want answers. For those with anxiety disorders, which occur when someone feels disproportionate levels of distress, worry, or fear, knowing what causes anxiety can be a big concern. Doctors don’t know exactly what causes anxiety, and often there is a complicated network of causes, but here are the most common causes.


If you have recently been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder your doctor will likely ask about your family’s medical history. People who have family members with anxiety disorders are more likely to develop on themselves. The younger anxiety starts, the more likely there is a genetic component to it.

Medical Conditions

Many people are surprised to learn that other none mental health medical issues can cause anxiety. Dealing with serious medical conditions, especially chronic ones can result in a lot of stress and worry. In addition, medications to treat these conditions can also trigger anxiety.

Environmental Factors

Elements in an individual’s life can play a role in anxiety. Stress from work, family, relationships, or school can contribute. Major life changes such as marriage, death, moving, divorce, birth, and others can also play a role. Environmental factors would also include the family dynamics a person grew up with and the environment.

Brain Chemistry

Did you know that mental disorders actually alter our brain function and structure? Environmental and genetic factors can actually alter the brain, which can trigger anxiety. That’s why many anxiety medications focus on fixing brain chemistry!

Substance Abuse

Substance abuse and mental disorders such as anxiety have an interesting relationship. Many people with anxiety try to self medicate or relieve stress by turning to alcohol or drugs. Similarly, people who are struggling with drug addiction or are withdrawing may feel intense anxiety.

Final Thoughts

Pinpointing the exact cause of anxiety isn’t always possible or helpful. While knowing what’s causing your anxiety disorder can help in treatment, often there is a combination of factors. Anxiety disorders can also develop with any external stimuli, seemingly to develop out of the blue.

What Causes Anxiety Disorder? | Delray Center for Healing

Still wondering if knowing what causes anxiety in your life could help you to manage it better? If you or someone you know is struggling with an anxiety disorder and is looking for treatment help, contact us today!