What Causes Anxiety? The Top Causes Of Anxiety Disorders Explained

What Causes Anxiety? The Top Causes Of Anxiety Disorders Explained

What Causes Anxiety? The Top Causes Of Anxiety Disorders Explained

The exact causes of anxiety disorders are unknown, however, research suggests that a combination of genetic and environmental factors may play a role in developing the condition. Brain chemistry is also actively being studied as a potential cause, as the areas in the brain that are responsible for your fear response may be involved.

Anxiety disorders can often occur in tandem with other mental health conditions, such as major depression and substance abuse. While some try to ease the symptoms of anxiety and depression by abusing alcohol or drugs, the relief these substances may provide is fleeting, can often make the symptoms worse, and can even lead to worse mental health issues along the way.

If you're wondering what causes bad anxiety, Some substances that can worsen an anxiety disorder include:

  • Alcohol
  • Nicotine
  • Caffeine
  • Other drugs

If you want to get scientific and are wondering what gene causes anxiety, studies suggest that the RBFOX1 gene may be involved in the development of anxiety-related conditions, such as generalised anxiety disorder - with this research suggesting that both genetic and non-genetic factors play a part in its development.

Certain parts of the brain are also being studied for the development of anxiety disorders, such as the amygdala which process threats and alerts the rest of your brain to signs of danger, and the hippocampus which is responsible for storing memories of threatening events - which can make anxiety appear in people who have experienced abuse or suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Does Magnesium Help With Anxiety?

Magnesium is one of the most abundant minerals in your body, and the mineral plays an important role in a range of bodily and brain functions - ensuring your body is working at optimal levels.

What causes depression and anxiety in the brain? While an exact cause is not known by experts, a deficit of magnesium in the body can impede brain functions which can lead to anxiety and depression.

Magnesium can help you fall asleep, as well as aid with important functions in the body, research from a 2010 review of natural anxiety treatments explains that magnesium could be helpful as a natural remedy and treatment to anxiety. Further research in 2017 backs up this claim, discovering that magnesium does help to reduce anxiety.

These studies examined several types of anxiety which includes mild anxiety, premenstrual syndrome anxiety, postpartum anxiety, and generalised anxiety. The studies above explained that magnesium may aid in reducing the effects of anxiety by improving brain function.

  • 2018 research shows that magnesium does play a crucial role in neurological health - helping to regulate the brain’s levels of neurotransmitters, brain cells and brain chemicals which efficiently send messages throughout your brain and the body.
  • 2012 research found that magnesium also helps with brain functions that work to reduce stress and anxiety and keep it low. This suggests that magnesium affects the hypothalamus, a small but important area in the centre of the brain which regulates the pituitary and adrenal glands, both of which are responsible for how you respond to stress and stressful stimuli.

In order to get the most from magnesium, we at OHMG trust in the power getting your daily recommended intake of magnesium can do for your body and mind. With 56mg of magnesium per can of OHMG, which is as much as an avocado, you can increase your intake in a delicious way for that extra bit of help

Make OHMG a part of your magnesium journey today

What Can Cause Anxiety?

There are certain factors that can increase your risk of developing an anxiety disorder. From genetic to environmental factors, variables that could cause anxiety include the following:


Whilst stress is just a natural part of life, excessive or unresolved stress can actually increase your chances of developing symptoms of chronic anxiety.

A 2019 review examined neurobiological links between stress and anxiety from multiple different studies, concluding that neural features in specific parts of the brain may help explain how stress can contribute to anxiety. These parts included the amygdala which plays a role in processing fearful and threatening stimuli.


If a close relative in your family suffers from an anxiety disorder, then you may be at a greater risk of developing one too. While social and economic factors play a role, evidence from a 2019 study suggests that genetic features also contribute.

This study looked at links between genetic features, anxiety, and stress-related disorders. The conclusion was that specific genetic features, which could be hereditary, can make you more susceptible to developing anxiety.


Certain personality traits can also affect your susceptibility to developing anxiety-related disorders.

A study of 489 students over a six-year period found that those who were hypocritical of themselves had difficulty with criticism, or experienced negative thoughts and feelings as young adults were also more likely to develop panic disorder, agoraphobia, generalised anxiety disorder, and major depressive disorder over time.


What situations cause anxiety? A recent or past traumatic experience, such as abuse or combat, can increase the risk of developing anxiety. It can also occur if you are close to someone who has been the victim of or witnessed, something traumatic.

Research suggests that anxiety disorders typically start within 3 months of a traumatic event, as these can also be symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Symptoms include:

  • Flashbacks
  • Bad dreams
  • Feelings of anxiety or are constantly on edge
  • Insomnia
  • Outbursts of anger
  • Avoiding places or preventing situations that could trigger symptoms


Those who are subjected to racial discrimination are also at a higher risk of developing anxiety disorders. A 2021 study concluded that discrimination is a risk factor for anxiety, with the authors calling for greater awareness of how racism and other forms of discrimination affect people’s mental health.


Studies suggest that females are at a substantially higher risk of developing anxiety compared to males, although this may depend to some extent on the disorder.

It is also found that males and females are equally prone to social anxiety disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. These are also the most likely anxiety orders to affect the male population.

Gender Dysphoria

For people with gender dysphoria, where the gender assigned to them at birth does not match with the gender they identify with, this can lead to turmoil and anxiety.

Statistics show that many people who suffer from gender dysphoria are also at risk of:

  • Anxiety and related disorders
  • Depression & major depression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Substance use, and abuse

Medical Causes

There are multiple ways that your health can contribute to stress, and developing anxiety disorders. These include, but are not limited to:

  • A chronic illness that poses challenges to your daily life
  • Having a disease that causes very challenging symptoms to daily living
  • Conditions where anxiety is a symptom - ie hormonal imbalance

Life Events

As with trauma, life events can also increase the risks of stress and anxiety. Some examples of this include:

  • The loss of a loved one
  • Going through divorce proceedings or a separation
  • Spending time dealing with the law Injury or illness
  • Loss of employment leading to financial pressures
  • Major life changes like moving house, or marriage


Certain drugs can also lead to anxiety as a side-effect - or they may even cause symptoms that feel anxiety-like. Examples of this include:

  • Drugs containing caffeine
  • Drugs that are used to treat ADHD
  • Corticosteroids
  • Some asthma medications
  • Anti-seizure medications
  • Some drugs used to treat Parkinson's

What Causes Anxiety Attacks?

Anxiety is a different experience for everyone who suffers from it, and there are certain triggers that can set off an anxiety attack in some people, but not in others. Different anxiety disorders, and different causes for an individual’s anxiety, will also have different triggers. However, there are some common things that can cause anxiety attacks in some people.

The most common triggers for anxiety attacks include:

  • Health issues
  • The use, or overuse, of certain substances like drugs
  • Caffeine
  • Lifestyle factors, such as worries about money or relationships
  • Being alone
  • Being in a room with a lot of people
  • Conflict, arguments, difficult conversations
  • Reminders of past trauma

When Should you See a Doctor for Anxiety?

While anxiety does impact everyone from time to time, and at different points in our lives, you may need to seek medical attention if you find that your symptoms of anxiety do not go away. If these symptoms are affecting you severely and impacting your daily life, this is a sign that it is time to seek some help rather than letting the problem get worse.

Some signs that will signal that it is a good idea to see a doctor include:

  • Your anxiety is affecting your work, studies, seeing friends, or other aspects of your daily life.
  • You feel trapped in a loop, worrying about your anxiety symptoms or levels and becoming more anxious as a result.
  • You find that you’re using substances, such as alcohol or illegal drugs, to manage anxiety.
  • You feel that there may be an underlying health condition or mental health problem.
  • Your anxiety is causing you to have thoughts of suicide.
  • You have been for treatment for anxiety before, but it has returned.

What Causes Anxiety? What You Should Know

Unfortunately, there is no answer to the question “what is the main cause for anxiety?” because experts do not know the exact root cause of anxiety disorders. While this may be the case, it is known that certain variables can contribute to the development of anxiety disorders over time, such as genetics, environmental and situational variables, and personal history with traumatic events.

If you are currently suffering from symptoms of anxiety, and you are worried that they are not going away, it is highly recommended to make an appointment with your GP for advice, diagnosis or treatment in order to get the problem solved.

Taking these first steps does take a lot of courage, and we completely understand that it can actually make you feel more anxious. So take it at your own pace, but you should know that medical professionals can help to provide medical advice and diagnosis of your symptoms of anxiety and create a treatment plan to address your symptoms so that you can start to get better.

A treatment plan can include many things, such as lifestyle changes, counselling or therapy, medications, and other recommendations that could help the situation at hand.

It may be the case that some medical conditions and medications can produce symptoms that are similar, or linked, to anxiety. If this ends up being the case, your doctor will help to treat your underlying condition in order to resolve the root cause.

Photo by Caleb George on Unsplash

Older Post Newer Post

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

Trust Pilot

"They are so nice and I ca feel a real benefit From them"

Melissa Noton

"It's super refreshing and the flavours are spot on."


"Fabulous tasting drinks with amazing benefits"

Elizabeth Kemp