What causes anxiety disorders?

There are many causes of anxiety disorders. For example:
  •  Genetics. People whose parents had anxiety disorders are more likely to have an anxiety disorder themselves.
  • Trying to avoid natural anxiety. People are supposed to feel anxious. When they work so hard to avoid it, that can actually create the disorder. Some people try to avoid it through drugs and alcohol. They drink and they feel less anxious. They smoke, they use marijuana or other drugs, or they use anti-anxiety medications to diminish natural anxiety. This makes it so they can't handle any anxiety and it can actually create an anxiety disorder.
  • Life stressors. People have things that are wonderful that are very stressful in life: leaving home, going to college, joining the military, getting married -- any of those are huge changes in life. While they're a good change, they're extremely stressful. Those are things that can set off an anxiety disorder. Same thing with pregnancy and giving birth. A lot of women have post partum depression and a lot of women also have post partum anxiety.

Continue Learning about Anxiety



It's one thing to be nervous (adrenaline can even help you power through, say, an interview). It's another to suffer sweat-inducing, heart-pounding anxiety -- for no apparent reason -- that makes eating, sleeping, working or enjoy...

ing life difficult. In addition to generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), learn about panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and phobias.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.