The study of anxiety disorders began around the turn of the 20th century. Since that time, studies have compiled four major contributors for anxiety disorder causes. There is conjecture on other possible causes, but these remain the basis for most prognoses.
* Brain chemistry – Both clinical and animal studies highly indicate a relationship between difficulty in maintaining balance and anxiety disorders. The belief is that a malfunction causes signals to be confused within the medial temporal lobes of the brain. The exact area is in the amygdalae, which deal with memory of emotional reactions. Simply put, the person cannot balance a reaction to match a cause, resulting in fear of events that may not be fearful at all.
* Life experiences – Chronic physical illness or worries associated with finances, relationships, or work situations can lead to anxiety disorders. Between 4% and 10% of older adults are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. This doesn’t take into consideration the many who do not seek help because they don’t want anyone to know.
* Heredity – Everyone receives genes from their parents and grandparents. Almost everyone who has an anxiety disorder has a parent, grandparent, or other relative with anxiety syndromes of some type. In cases where the child becomes separated from the parent at an early age, certain characteristics will surface that are like those of the parent. This indicates that the disorders are not solely based on life experiences as some have though. Clinical studies substantiate the pass-down-system of anxiety.
* Personality – People who have low self esteem and the inability to cope with life situations are more prone to become depressed and then develop anxiety disorders. The relationships between emotions in these cases are difficult to understand because the person with low self-esteem may be that way because of an anxiety at an earlier age. The origin of the anxiety is not always clearly understood.
Another contributor to depression and anxiety is alcohol abuse. Moderate and sustained alcohol use may increase the levels of depression and anxiety in some people. The good news is that the majority of these anxiety cases can be reversed with prolonged abstinence. Dependency on alcohol or benzodiazepine can lead to panic disorder or social phobias.
Most sufferers of anxiety disorders have combinations of these causes. The ability to treat a syndrome of anxiety is only possible by removing as many of these causes as possible and then focusing on treating what is left. Unfortunately, the human is a complex and diverse being with no set standard to allow a structured common treatment. It is the task of the professional to probe and assess each person individually. In this way, he/she can devise a plan of attack that works.
Anxiety disorder causes are much easier to identify than they are to rectify. Few suffers are able to help themselves, and must be cajoled to seek medical attention.