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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What causes anxiety disorders?

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    beyondblue is a national, independent, not-for-profit organisation working to address issues associated with depression, anxiety and related disorders in Australia.beyondblue is a bipartisan initiative of … View Profile

    Anxiety disorder can be caused by a range of factors.

    1. Family history

    People who experience an anxiety disorder often have a history of mental health problems in their family.

    2. Environmental factors

    Stressful events can also trigger symptoms of anxiety. Common triggers include:

    • Changing jobs
    • Family and relationship problems
    • Death or loss of a loved one.   
    • Changing living arrangements
    • Family and relationship problems
    • Experiencing a major emotional shock following a stressful event
    • Experiencing verbal, sexual, physical or emotional abuse or trauma


    3. Physical health issues

    Ongoing physical illness can also trigger anxiety disorders or complicate the treatment of the anxiety or the physical illness itself. Common conditions that can do this include:
    •  Hormonal problems e.g. over and under-active thyroid
    • Pregnancy and giving birth.
    • Heart disease

    If there is concern about any of these conditions, ask a doctor for medical tests to rule out a medical cause for the feelings of anxiety.

    4. Personality factors

    Some research suggests that people with certain personality traits are more likely to have an anxiety disorder. For example, children who are either perfectionists, easily flustered, lack self-esteem or want to control everything, sometimes develop anxiety disorders as adults.

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