What Causes Anxiety Attacks

Practically everyone is familiar with anxiety, and many people have experienced an anxiety attack at some point in their lives. Some people are more susceptible than others, perhaps because they lead more stressful lives, and it is not uncommon for some individuals to have anxiety attacks at such frequency that it impairs their life. During an anxiety attack, you may feel extreme fear and terror, helplessness and the strong feeling that something bad is going to happen. In addition, you may notice that you are shaking, sweating, have an upset stomach and your heart rate will go up. But what causes anxiety attacks?
In general, stressful situations and past experiences will dictate what will trigger an anxiety attack in an individual. Starting a new job, or moving to a new place are stressful situations to most people, as is an approaching deadline and the feeling that you may not be able to meet it. Other stressful situations are public speaking and asking your boss for a raise. In addition, a situation which is similar to a situation which was dangerous or traumatic in the past, can easily cause an anxiety attack. For example if someone had tied your hands and threatened your life, wearing a tight bracelet may remind you of that episode and can cause an anxiety attack.

Persons with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) can experience anxiety attacks for apparently little things, such as touching money and suddenly becoming very worried that they got infected by bacteria on the bank notes. Or you may suddenly get the feeling that you left your oven on and that this will set fire to the house and hurt someone.

Another condition that can cause frequent anxiety attacks is social phobia, which is characterised by overwhelming fear in social situations. The most common type of social phobia is stage fright, which triggers anxiety attacks when you have to perform in front of a public, for example, giving a presentation in front of your colleagues. Persons with social phobia will be obsessed that people are judging them.

All kinds of phobias can cause anxiety attacks when the situation the person is presented with is the situation they are afraid of. For example, persons with arachnophobia have an intense fear of spiders, and they are likely to suffer from an anxiety attack if they get in close vicinity of a spider. Similarly, persons with belonephobia are extremely fearful of sharp pointed objects such as needles, and it is likely that going to the hospital for an injection will cause an anxiety attack.

Substance abuse can also cause anxiety attacks. Marijuana frequently causes paranoia and panic attacks, as do amphetamines and caffeine overuse. Some medications can also have this undesirable effect.