What are the Psychosocial Causes of Anxiety and What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a sense of fear and apprehension of a future event. It is in our nature to be anxious; however, to be in a constant state of anxiety is unhealthy. According to the National Institute for Mental Health, more than 40 million people in the U.S. have an anxiety disorder in some form. Anxiety is the third most common disorder behind alcoholism and depression. It is thought to be a combination of genetics, environment, and upbringing. People can have recurring anxiety that develops over time. Painful or traumatic experiences can also lead to anxiety related problems. Here are some of the psychosocial causes of anxiety:
1. Learned Behavior
Beyond genetics, if a parent suffers from anxiety, they can teach their children to be anxious as well. Anxiety can be a learned behavior. It is also likely that chemical imbalances can also make people more susceptible to anxiety.
Upbringing also plays a role in long-term anxiety problems. If a child has a lack of social interactions, for any reason, this can cause them to be more nervous and anxious in social situations. Also, if a child is brought up in an overly controlling or abusive environment that too can cause anxiety, this occurs because the child is brought up with a sense of fear at all times.
A traumatic event in life is a moment that stays with the psyche for a long time, maybe even forever. It does not have to be a significant moment, like witnessing a tragic death or surviving an accident. Instead, it could be a minor childhood moment, such as a scolding, where the person develops a negative core belief, where automatic thoughts of self-deprecation come in. A person may only be able to see their shortcomings and have an obsession with monitoring their symptoms of anxiety. Children who are bullied or teased can also experience anxiety down the road. When they grow up in their teen years, the buildup of anxiety could lead to other disorders such as self-harm, eating disorders, and depression.
The good news with anxiety is that it is very treatable through medication, therapy, and meditation. The goal is to override negative thoughts with positive ones. Medicine may seem to be the easy way out because of the effects it has on the body, but using that along with other interventions can be effective. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is considered the best option for treating anxiety. CBT is made to conquer one’s guilt and negative feelings from the past and tackle self-doubt a low self-esteem. Anxiety is common, and it is not as hard as people think to handle.
A Note from the Editor:
There is no shame or judgment here! Knowing the psychosocial causes of anxiety can help you learn how to handle your anxiety. If you are suffering from anxiety and need support, do not hesitate to reach out to someone you trust. You can overcome your anxiety starting today.
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