Understanding Causes and Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorder is one of the most common forms of mental illness, affecting nearly 40 million American adults every year. Occasional anxiety is normal and can even be helpful since it enables the body to respond to danger. However, anxiety disorders lead to excessive and constant worry and fear that is often disproportionate to the level of risk. These can be crippling, hindering you from participating in daily life activities.

Understanding Causes and Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders

Types of Anxiety Disorders

  • General anxiety – excessive fear and worry with no justifiable reason
  • Social anxiety – fear of being embarrassed, humiliated, or rejected during social interactions
  • Agoraphobia – fear and avoidance of places that could make you feel trapped and helpless, such as an elevator or public transportation
  • Specific phobias – fear and avoidance of particular objects or situations, such as fear of heights or spiders
  • Separation anxiety – fear of being separated from a parent or loved one
  • Substance-induced anxiety – intense worry and fear resulting from substance misuse or withdrawal
  • Panic disorder – sudden intense worry and fear that peaks into a panic attack

What Causes Anxiety Disorders?

It is not clear what causes anxiety disorders. But researchers believe it is a cocktail of genetic, environmental, and developmental factors. The following factors could cause or trigger anxiety disorders.

  • Genetic predisposition – anxiety disorder can run in the family.
  • Trauma –  kids who witnessed or experienced traumatic events are at a higher risk.
  •  Personality – particular personality types are more susceptible to anxiety disorders.
  • Medical condition – diseases like heart disease and diabetes can cause anxiety disorder symptoms.
  • Alcohol and drugs – misuse or withdrawal from drugs and alcohol can cause or aggravate anxiety disorders.
  • Stress – stress build-up due to work, family, or finances can cause anxiety.
  • Other mental illnesses – people with other mental illnesses are at a higher risk of being affected

Symptoms of Anxiety disorders

Excessive fear and worry is the most common symptom of anxiety. You can also experience any of the following, depending on the type of anxiety disorder.

  • Feeling tense and restless
  • Sense of looming danger
  • Uncontrollable worry
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Insomnia
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart palpitations
  • Trembling
  • Excessive sweating
  • Tiredness


Managing anxiety disorders is crucial, especially if they interfere with daily life. Treatment involves a combination of medication and psychotherapy. Medication does not cure anxiety disorders but can help manage the symptoms. On the other hand, psychotherapy trains you to respond better to the illness emotionally.

At Pandora’s House Psychiatry, we treat our patients professionally with understanding and sensitivity. Contact us today to book an appointment if you or your loved one is experiencing symptoms of Anxiety disorders.