Causes of Anxiety

  • Biological factors: Some changes in brain functioning have been associated with anxiety.
  • Learned behaviour/environment – Some people with social phobia attribute the development of the condition to being poorly treated, publicly embarrassed or humiliated (e.g. being bullied at school).
  • Family history: People with anxiety often have a history of mental health problems in their family. However, this doesn’t mean that a person will automatically develop anxiety if a parent or close relative has had a mental health condition.
  • Stressful life events: People may be more at risk if they experience a major life change that causes stress, such as the birth of a child, the breakdown/loss of a close relationship, or moving house/job. Physical, sexual or emotional abuse also increase the risk of developing anxiety, as do other traumatic experiences in childhood, such as the death of or separation from a parent.
  • Social events or situations in which interacting with other people may induce anxiety or stressful situations such as giving a presentation or a speech in front of a crowd of people.
  • Psychological factors: Some personality traits may put a person at greater risk of anxiety including: − being sensitive − being emotional or experiencing general nervousness − inability to tolerate frustration − feeling inhibited − having perfectionistic tendencies.