A Answers (7)
Mehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology, answeredDeep inside our brains is an almond-shaped structure called the amygdala, which acts as our fear and anxiety center. When we experience a potential worry, the amygdala sends warning messages to the cortex, the rational part of our brain, which can assess whether that worry is of true concern. As the rational cortex is flooded with more and more warning signals from the amygdala, however, it is unable to process them all, leading to worry loops or anxiety.
Michael Mufson, MD, Psychiatry, answeredWe live in anxious times. Merely turning on the news or talking with friends can unleash a barrage of new concerns -- large-scale natural and man-made disasters, local fallout from a sagging economy, international conflicts, and global warming, to name a few. Personal issues, too, provoke anxiety about your health, your job and financial security, and your relationships with family and friends. Even everyday annoyances, such as getting stuck in traffic, dealing with a computer problem, or preparing for a work presentation, can stir up anxiety in vulnerable people.
Brain chemistry: Studies suggest that an imbalance of the brain's neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) such as serotonin, gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA), epinephrine, and norepinephrine may contribute to anxiety disorders. Abnormalities in the stress hormone cortisol, produced by the adrenal glands, have also been found. Most medications prescribed for anxiety disorders aim to readjust the brain's chemical balance.
Trauma: An anxiety disorder may develop in response to a traumatic event, such as a car accident or a marital separation. Anxiety may also have its roots in early life abuse or developmental trauma. Trauma in infancy and early childhood can be particularly damaging, leaving a pervasive and lasting sense of helplessness that can develop into anxiety or depression in later life.
Medications: Some prescription and non-prescription medications may cause symptoms of anxiety, including caffeine and other stimulants, drugs such as heroin, cocaine, and amphetamines, over-the-counter medications such as decongestants, steroids such as cortisone and prednisone, inhalers and other respiratory medications, some herbal supplements such as ephedra (no longer available on the U.S. market), Citrus aurantium, yerba mate tea, and guarana, weight loss products, high blood pressure medications, withdrawal from alcohol, ADHD medications (Ritalin®, Adderall®, Dexedrine®), withdrawal from benzodiazepines (Xanax®, Valium®), and hormones such as birth control pills and thyroid medications.
Medical conditions: Many medical conditions can cause or mimic symptoms of anxiety disorders. They include thyroid disorders, diabetes, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), asthma, sleep disorders, adrenal disorders, epilepsy (seizures), heart conditions including arrhythmias (irregular heart beat), migraine headaches, certain psychiatric illnesses, such as bipolar disorder (characterized by mania and depression) and depression.
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Michael T Murray, Naturopathic Medicine, answered
Anxiety can be the result of both physical and psychological factors. For example, extreme stress can definitely trigger anxiety, but so can certain stimulants, such as caffeine. Anxiety can also be triggered by elevations in blood lactic acid level. Lactic acid is the final product in the breakdown of blood sugar (glucose) when there is a lack of oxygen.
Kelly Traver, Internal Medicine, answeredAnxiety is more common than you may realize. It affects 40 million Americans, 18 percent of the population of the United States. Some people are born with physiology that makes it harder for them to feel calm. For example, in some people who are born with slightly altered gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors, the calming, Valium-like chemical (which everyone's brain naturally produces) does not bind very well. At other times, traumatic events in a person's life cause the amygdala to develop a quick trigger and even a small amount of stress stimulates a big stress response.
Jacob Teitelbaum, Integrative Medicine, answeredAnxiety can be caused by either physical or psychological reasons.
Physical causes can include:
- An overactive thyroid, especially if you have experienced weight loss, racing heart/palpitations or sweating.
- Low progesterone and estrogen. This can be seen in woman approaching menopause, and can occur 5-12 years before periods stop and tests for menopause become positive (called peri-menopause).
- Low testosterone (men), especially beginning in, or after, one's late 40's.
- Adrenal (stress handler) gland fatigue. Suspect this if you get irritable when hungry or if you crave sugar.
- Nutritional deficiencies, especially B vitamins and magnesium.
Helpful? 1 person found this helpful.
- Suppressing feelings. When anger or fear is buried, so that you're not aware of it, it will often come out as hyperventilation. This is often associated with panic attacks with intermittent inability to take a deep enough breath, numbness and tingling around your lips and in your fingers, and feeling like you're going to die. Though scary, it is not dangerous.
Michelle Cleere - Sharecare Fitness Expert, PhD, Psychology, answered
Anxiety is situational and can be caused from fear. Some people are born with a higher level of anxiety (trait anxiety) which means in anxiety producing situations (state anxiety) they will start with a higher level of anxiety than people who are born with a lower level of anxiety. If you feel anxious much of the time then you were probably born with a higher level of anxiety and in certain situations that provoke fear you will have an even higher level of anxiety. For example, you may experience low levels of anxiety while driving around in your car but get more anxious when someone else is driving because you are afraid of being out of control.
A common reason for anxiety in exercisers is a lack of self efficacy. Self efficacy is when you don't believe you can meet the demands of the situation. This is common for exercisers and athletes. For example, when an exerciser starts exercising regardless of the activity there generally a lack of self efficacy hence fear leading to anxiety. For athletes, particularly in a competition, self efficacy can be low which is often tied to fear of losing.Helpful? 2 people found this helpful.