Anxiety is something most people experience at some point or another in their lives. Whether it’s financial worries, relationship problems, a death in the family, looming work projects, or public speaking, there are a number of challenging situations or traumatic events which could lead to feeling anxious for a period of time.
Although occasional anxiety is considered normal and arguably somewhat healthy, what if you’re experiencing excessive worry and fear under seemingly normal, everyday circumstances? When those feelings are especially intense or persistent, you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder. It’s more common than you might think; around 40 million adults in the U.S. have an anxiety disorder, accounting for about 18% of the total population.
Anxiety disorders often have very different types of triggers compared to the occasional anxiety brought on by major life events. In fact, you may be surprised at some of the things that can cause these worrisome feelings to spike. Check out these 10 things that can be anxiety provoking.
Caffeine is a part of many people’s daily routine, whether it’s in the form of a cup of coffee, an energy drink, or a can of soda. While it may make you feel a bit perkier, caffeine is still a stimulant, which means it can also increase blood pressure. In addition, caffeine can boost your body’s production of so-called fight-or-flight hormones, including cortisol and epinephrine. If you’re feeling jittery or uneasy after having your caffeine fix, it may be time to reduce your intake or cut it out of your diet completely.
Over-the-Counter (OTC) Medications and Supplements
Speaking of stimulants, there are plenty of different OTC drugs which may contain them. The list includes everything from decongestants and cough medicines to headache and migraine relievers. Many supplements for weight loss also contain relatively high levels of caffeine or other stimulants. Some people experience unease with certain herbal supplements, such as St. John’s Wort and ginseng. Pay attention to how you react to these drugs if you’re having trouble with anxiety.
Some prescription medications can also cause feelings of restlessness or anxiety. What if your doctor says you need a certain prescription med? Don’t hesitate to ask about side effects. There may be other medication or treatment options available.
Feeling frazzled at work? Trying to keep up with your kids’ busy schedules? When you’re in these types of situations, you might miss a meal or even have a lower appetite due to stress. But not making time to eat can be detrimental to your well-being. Without regular meals, your body’s blood sugar levels can drop, causing you to feel anxious, irritable, light-headed, and/or weak. Don’t let a “hangry” feeling contribute to your anxiety.
Too Much Sugar
When you do take time to eat a meal, try to make it a healthy one. When you eat nutritious foods, your body is better able to function. Diets that contain excessive amounts of sugar can leave you feeling less than stellar. That “sugar rush” isn’t worth the feelings of anxiety you may experience as a result.
Keeping with the theme of nutrition, you may want to check for additives in the foods you eat. There are some studies which indicate that certain food additives can potentially cause anxious behaviors. The effects may be related to inflammation caused by these ingredients.
Just like you need healthy food to keep your body nourished and functioning properly, you also need water. Without enough of it, you can start to feel tense, fatigued, and confused. Avoid dehydration and help ward off unwanted anxiety.
Drugs and Alcohol
Substance abuse is bad for your health in many ways, obviously. One of the things misusing drugs and alcohol can do to your body is trigger anxiety. Sadly, many people believe that using those substances will make their anxiety go away. Contrary to that idea, it can typically worsen it. If you’ve been caught up in a vicious cycle of substance abuse or addictive tendencies, you’re not alone. Get in touch with local mental health services or find treatment options online.
When it comes to anxiety and sleep disorders, it’s a chicken and egg situation. While anxiety can cause sleep problems, it can also go the other way when persistent trouble sleeping starts causing anxiety. As it turns out, many of the suggestions for reducing anxiety (meditating, exercising, etc.) are also recommended for people who suffer from sleep disorders.
Anxiety may be triggered by something that’s unique to you and your personal life experiences. If you had a bad experience with a certain person, place, object, or action in the past, confronting or being presented with that same thing now may lead to anxious feelings. This may be a sign that you have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), in which reminders of a particularly traumatic event can cause intense fear, stress, or panic. If this happens to you, make sure you talk to a mental health professional to get the help you need.
It’s important to note that just because you experience anxiety as a result of one of these triggers, it doesn’t indicate that you have an anxiety disorder. However, if anxiety is a persistent problem in your life, consider speaking to a mental health professional. If you are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, there are plenty of treatment options available, including alternative therapies like Ketamine Infusions.