It’s important to remember we are not all the same and we react to life differently. But for most individuals, an anxiety condition typically isn't developed or caused by a single factor but a combination of things.
A number of factors play a role in developing an anxiety disorder:
Family history of mental health conditions
Some people may have a genetic predisposition towards anxiety and these conditions can sometimes run in families. However, having a parent or close relative who has anxiety or other mental health conditions doesn't automatically mean you’ll develop anxiety.
Studies indicate individuals with certain personality traits are more likely to have anxiety. Children who are perfectionists, shy, inhibited, suffer from lack of self-esteem or need to control everything, may develop anxiety during childhood, adolescence or as adults.
Ongoing stressful events
Anxiety may develop because of one or more stressful life events. These can include:
- work stress
- job change
- pregnancy and giving birth
- family and relationship issues
- trauma or shock
- abuse including verbal, sexual, physical or emotional
- death or loss of a loved one.
Physical health problems
Chronic poor health can also contribute to anxiety conditions. Common chronic conditions associated with anxiety include:
- hypertension and heart disease
Other mental health conditions
Depression and anxiety often appear together. It's important to be assessed for and get help for all mental health conditions at the same time.
Some people who experience anxiety may turn to alcohol or other substances to help them manage. Sometimes this can also lead to a substance use problem. Alcohol and substance use can aggravate anxiety. If you’re being assessed for anxiety, it’s important to mention any substance abuse or overuse at the same time.