What leads a person to develop an anxiety disorder is still not fully understood by the medical community. Traumatic events or life experiences may trigger anxiety disorders in those already prone to them, but inherited traits can also be a factor.
In some cases, the anxiety disorder may be linked to underlying health issues. In other cases, symptoms of anxiety can be the first indicators of another sort of medical condition.
Examples of other conditions sometimes linked to anxiety include:
- Heart disease
- Thyroid problems (for example, hyperthyroidism)
- Respiratory disorders like COPD or asthma
- Drug abuse or withdrawal
- Withdrawal from alcohol, benzodiazepines, or other medications
- Chronic pain
- Irritable bowel syndrome
It is also possible that your anxiety may be caused by an underlying medical condition if:
- You do not have any blood relatives with an anxiety disorder
- You did not have an anxiety disorder as a child
- You do not avoid certain things or situations because of anxiety
- You have a sudden occurrence of anxiety that seems unrelated to life events
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
Characterized by chronic anxiety and exaggerated worry and tension, even if there is little or nothing to provoke it.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Known for the intrusive thoughts (obsessions) that come along with this disorder, as well as repetitive behaviors (known as compulsions). These compulsions, or “rituals,” are developed as a way for someone with OCD to cope with the obsessive thoughts they experience. However, this typically only offers temporary relief, and can even make the anxiety worse over time.
Known for intense moments of fear that are made obvious through physical symptoms, like dizziness, stomach troubles, shortness of breath, chest pain, and/or heart palpitations.
Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)
Known for the intense fear brought on by social situations, like shopping, public speaking, playing a sport, or simply being around other people in small, controlled settings.
Known for the intense fear formed from certain situations or places. Causes the person to go out of their way to avoid the things that trigger their anxiety.
The following factors may increase your risk of developing an anxiety disorder:
- Trauma. Children or adults who experience traumatic events can go on to develop anxiety disorders
- Stress from an illness. A serious health condition can cause significant worry.
- Personality. Some specific personality types are more prone to anxiety disorders.
- Other mental health disorders. Other conditions like depression often go hand-in-hand with anxiety disorders.
- Family history of anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorders are often influenced by genetic heritage.
- Drug or alcohol abuse. Substance abuse has been shown to worsen symptoms of many mood disorders.
Research into IV ketamine infusions for the treatment of anxiety is still ongoing, but the current understanding is that ketamine can bind to receptors in the brain and increase the amount of glutamate, a neurotransmitter. This will set off a chain of reactions in the brain and impact emotional regulation.
To put this in layman’s terms, ketamine allows the brain to trigger hormones that create more positive emotions. One added benefit of ketamine infusion is that relief can occur within minutes rather than the weeks or months an antidepressant or therapy may take.