If you’re worried about an upcoming big event or something that has major consequences attached to it, that’s a normal thing. But when those worries become part of your daily life, you might have an anxiety disorder.
Your body naturally responds to stress by increasing your awareness of anxiety. It’s actually a good thing, and it can keep you safe from dangers as part of your fight-or-flight response.
When is Your Body’s Stress Protector Going Too Far?
Feelings of anxiety that stay with you throughout the day and stop you from living an enjoyable life are extreme. If your fears are so intense that you can’t seem to stop them, you probably are one of the many people who have an anxiety disorder.
These disorders are found in more than 40 million adults in America. And it’s not treated, your anxiety will probably get worse.
Figuring Out the Problem With Your Anxiety
At its core, this disorder is because your fight-or-flight protector was trained to be extra cautious. Something (or things) triggered it to stick with that “fear” mode. You have to be aware of those triggers so you can avoid them.
While your own triggers are unique to you, you might not even realize what is setting your protector mode off. These five triggers are some of the most commonly found in patients by psychologists.
Any kind of stimulant, from caffeine to an amphetamine, can be an anxiety trigger. Alcohol, although technically a depressant, also has anxiety-inducing properties.
Cannabis is often recommended to help reduce anxiety symptoms, even though it’s occasionally classified as a stimulant. In fact, it’s a mix of a stimulant, a depressant, and a hallucinogenic, depending on the strain. You can read all about that here.
2. Health Issues
Not only can your body’s chronic health conditions be triggering your anxiety, but so can the medications you’re taking for them. Problems like cardiovascular issues, low blood sugar, and overactive thyroid can all increase your feelings of anxiousness.
Some prescription and OTC meds can also be a trigger. Read the labels or talk to your doctor if you feel like your anxiety has increased since you started medication, even if it’s just for colds.
3. Life Issues
We all have them, but some people respond to life’s stress differently than others. When those stresses become chronic and seem to pile on top of each other, everyone breaks at some point.
People with anxiety might notice that any kind of conflict with someone they’re close to can set off their symptoms. Big events, like a divorce or the death of a close friend, are harder to handle. Don’t be surprised if any life-changing event, whether it’s good or bad, sets off your anxiety.
4. Unknown Changes
There’s a saying that says something like, “Fear of the known is better than fear of the unknown.”
For a lot of people, especially those with anxiety, change is hard to cope with. The thought of what could happen is greater than the change itself, and anxious people have a long list of possible things that could go wrong.
Some people embrace change. But if you notice your anxiety symptoms have increased more than usual, take a step back and think about your life. Are there any changes on the horizon that have you worried? That could be the trigger.
5. Financial Situations
Money, either too much or not enough, is stress for almost everyone. People with too much money tend to find themselves in over their heads with responsibilities and expectations. Not enough money often puts one in situations where important bills can’t get paid.
You might be worried about how your family is going to eat that week. Or it may be something as far in the future as to how you’ll save for retirement.
No matter what the reason for your stress is, financial problems are a very normal trigger of anxiety.
Once you’re able to pinpoint where your anxiety is coming from, you can begin retraining your brain. Yes, that fight-or-flight complex can be gradually taught to stop overreacting.
Work with your doctor or therapist to get strategies to reduce your anxiety. They may recommend mental techniques, CBD oil, or prescription medication as you begin to learn how to handle anxiety disorder.