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What Causes Anxiety

By Mosh
Treat Mental Health
5 min read
Medically reviewed by:

Key Takeaways

Anxiety is a common mental health issue and can be caused by a combination of factors such as behavioural, personality, trauma, health problems, addiction, family history and ongoing stressful events. If you feel like you may have anxiety, it is important to speak to a doctor for proper assessment and diagnosis of your symptoms.

Anxiety is a very common mental health issue – around 13 per cent of Australians have anxiety-related conditions.[1] It can take many forms, and what causes anxiety can vary for each person. It might be something you’re feeling right now or something you’ve felt in the past.

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What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is the body’s natural response to the stress of a new experience, usually one that threatens our body’s well-being.[2] The effects of anxiety and what causes it are different for each person, but everyone experiences varying degrees of anxiety on a daily basis. Anxiety can develop into a mental disorder when the effects become excessive and recur regularly, with or without triggers. 

Treating anxiety can be a difficult and long process when it comes to alleviating the symptoms and resolving the unique causes of a person’s anxiety. That’s why Mosh is here. We want to understand what you’re going through, and we want to support you through it. 

Learn how to catch the signs and symptoms of anxiety as well as learn what causes anxiety with Mosh. 

What are some common causes of anxiety?

Everyone is unique and has their own personal experiences, so determining what causes anxiety can be different for various people. Moreover, one cause of anxiety could impact each person differently, so every case of anxiety should be carefully considered. Some typical causes of anxiety may include, but are not limited to:

Behavioural

Research shows anxiety may be a learned behaviour from childhood - if a child witnesses anxiety among their primary caretaker, such as their parents, they are likely to mirror that behaviour later in life.

Personality

Research shows specific personality traits tend to have a high prevalence of anxiety, such as personalities that tend to be perfectionists, shy, and have low self-esteem.

Trauma

Since trauma is typically an extreme, short-lived shock, it can contribute to anxiety disorders.

Health problems

Certain chronic illnesses tend to increase a person's likelihood to be diagnosed with anxiety and depression, such as cardiovascular disease.

Addiction to substances

While the use of alcohol and other substances may initially begin as a coping mechanism for stress, anxiety, and other mental disorders. It can quickly become addictive due to its calming effect when intoxicated, but once it wears off, it can make you feel more anxious or exacerbate your health issues.

Family history of mental health conditions

Some people may have a genetic predisposition towards developing anxiety and depression.

Ongoing stressful events

Prolonged experience and exposure to difficult or stressful life events may trigger anxiety in some people. Common stressful events may include:

  • work or school-related issues
  • sudden changes in lifestyle or living conditions
  • pregnancy and giving birth
  • family and relationship problems
  • verbal, sexual, physical or emotional abuse
  • death of a loved one.

It is important to remember that everyone may have their own unique cause for their anxiety, and that anxiety doesn't necessarily need one specific cause. Anxiety can be caused by a combination of factors or an accumulation of multiple factors that each result in a different case of anxiety.

If you ever feel like you may have anxiety or are just unsure of what causes anxiety besides these common causes, then we encourage you to speak to your doctor at your earliest convenience.

With Mosh, we can connect you with an AHPRA-registered doctor who can understand what you're going through and help where they can. If necessary, your Mosh doctor could also refer you to a therapist for more specialised care or prescribe medication if suitable. If you have other mental health concerns, you can also ask your Mosh doctor about topics like stress management and symptoms of depression.

When should I seek help for anxiety symptoms?

Feeling anxious is normal and natural, but if your anxiety is starting to negatively impact your daily life, you may need medical help.[9] The first step in seeking help for anxiety symptoms is to consult your doctor to properly assess and diagnose your symptoms.[10]

Similar to how anxiety can be caused or triggered by different factors, it can also present itself differently for each person. Typically, there are three main categories of anxiety symptoms: physical, psychological, and behavioural.[11]

Physical anxiety symptoms may take the form of a panic attack, with symptoms such as:

  • profuse sweating
  • uncontrolled trembling
  • nausea and dizziness
  • heart palpitations, and difficulty sleeping.

Psychological anxiety symptoms typically include:

  • memory recall issues
  • negative thoughts about the situation or oneself
  • feeling overly conscious
  • feeling overwhelmed or having 'impending dread.'

Behavioural anxiety symptoms may include

  • avoiding social activities or gatherings
  • self-isolating behaviour
  • hesitance to speak aloud around people
  • inability to meet responsibilities at home, work, or school.[12]

It is important to note that you should not self-diagnose yourself with any sort of mental disorder. Instead, seek professional help from your doctor. A short online questionnaire is available to help determine what is going on in your life and how to provide effective service. A network of doctors is also available to connect with via text, call, or video to get the help you need. Treatment may include therapy, medication, or both if necessary based on your condition, symptoms, and history.

It is important to catch the symptoms of anxiety early and seek support. Ignoring and leaving anxiety untreated for a long time can further impact your life and relationships and may worsen over time.

How is anxiety treated?

How anxiety is treated and what treatments will work for you depend on what causes anxiety for you, what type of anxiety you have, and its severity.[13]

While mild anxiety can be alleviated with general lifestyle changes, more severe cases could require specific treatment plans and medication. Moreover, it’s important to seek ample support from your family, friends, or even doctors as you learn to manage anxiety.

It is possible to recover from anxiety and other anxiety-induced issues with the right care. Steps for this may usually include: 

  • learning about anxiety and informing yourself about the things that trigger you; 
  • learning relaxation techniques in response to anxiety-inducing situations;
  • undergoing cognitive therapy;
  • undergoing behaviour therapy;
  • undergoing counselling;
  • making dietary adjustments;
  • increasing exercise and physical activity;
  • taking medications if prescribed; and 
  • joining support groups and advocacies.[14] 

Some treatment methods may take a long time to effectively manage anxiety disorders, while others may provide temporary relief. No matter what treatment may be recommended to you by your doctor in treating your unique case of anxiety, it is essential to have sufficient support structures so that you can stay committed and engaged in achieving the results that you deserve.

Mosh has high-quality services that support you throughout your difficult moments. If you are recommended therapy by our doctors, you can book one-on-one, confidential, and online therapy sessions with us to support you in every step of your recovery. 

If you are prescribed medications with Mosh, your treatment will be delivered to you at your earliest convenience. Afterwards, you will need to check in with your Mosh doctor after the first, third, and sixth months, as well as every six months after that.

Mosh is here to help you and give you peace of mind.

Anxiety is a treatable mental health disorder with proper care. While it may take time and effort to get better, it's all a part of overcoming your anxiety.

At Mosh, we are committed to helping you through your difficult moments. Instead of just wishing for improvement, you can take conscious steps towards managing your anxiety. We are here to help you achieve the results you desire with individualized treatment.

For example, if you believe you have symptoms of social anxiety, you can talk to our doctors about treatments that are suitable for you and learn about the different types of anxiety. You may also discuss with them how to manage stress or discover what causes depression.

Talk to a Mosh doctor about anxiety whenever you're ready.


14 References

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Mental health

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