While anxiety is a common feeling, it can be severe or it can be a non-serious issue that shouldn’t keep you up at night. If you have anxiety that’s severe or doesn’t get better over time, it could be a sign that you have an anxiety disorder. Some different factors Can cause or contribute to anxiety include your exposure to stressful events, your history of mental illness and your physical health.
Some potential causes of anxiety that many people aren’t aware of are medication and over-the-counter treatments, including common office citizens treats like coffee and cigarettes, as well as prescription drugs. Below, we’ve discussed the link between medication and anxiety in detail and listed the supplements and substances known to cause or aggravate anxiety.
We’ve also talked about how you can use anxiety to your advantage if you think that medication or other substances could be the cause of your problem.
The Basics of Anxiety
Anxiety is a normal feeling, but when it interferes with your everyday life, this can be a serious problem. The most common anxiety disorder is called Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). This involves excessive worry, which can be difficult to live with.
However, you can also experience anxiety that’s not related to a mental health problem. For example, if you have an anxiety disorder that’s severe or doesn’t get better over time, it could be a sign that you have an anxiety disorder. Medication is a common cause of severe or chronic anxiety. If you’re experiencing this issue, it’s important to talk to your doctor about the possibility of medication causing your symptoms.
Below, we’ve discussed the link between medication and anxiety in detail and listed the supplements and substances known to cause or aggravate anxiety.
The Basics of Anxiety Anxious feelings are normal feelings that most people experience at some point in their lives. However, if you experience excessive worry or become easily agitated when something bad happens (like losing your car keys), this may be a sign of an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety disorders are very common: 4 out of 10 adults will experience some form of generalized anxiety at some point in their lives. These disorders can be very serious because they can affect every aspect of your life: how you perform at work or school; how well you handle stress; how much sleep you get; how healthy and happy.
Even though anxiety is normal and many people experience it at some point in their lives, when this feeling interferes with your everyday life it’s important to seek help from your doctor. Your doctor may prescribe medication for anxiety disorders if these feelings are causing significant problems for you in your daily life. There are several types of anxiety medications.
- Antidepressants – Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most common class of antidepressant prescribed to people who suffer from anxiety. These drugs are typically taken once per day, as they increase the amount of serotonin in your brain. SSRIs can cause dry mouth and constipation, which can aggravate anxiety.
- Benzodiazepines – Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs that are commonly used to treat anxiety. Benzodiazepines have been known to cause anxiety for some people when used for long periods of time. Some examples include alprazolam (Xanax), lorazepam (Ativan), and diazepam (Valium). These drugs can also be habit-forming, so they should only be taken for short periods of time and under a doctor’s supervision.
- Caffeine – Caffeine is naturally present in coffee, tea, soda, chocolate and other foods and beverages containing caffeine. Caffeine is also found in many over-the-counter medications including cold medicine and pain relievers like acetaminophen (Tylenol). While there’s no evidence that caffeine causes anxiety by itself, it has been shown to worsen symptoms of anxiety in those who have an underlying mental health problem like depression or social phobia . In addition to its effects on your brain chemistry, caffeine can make you feel nervous because it blocks your ability to sleep . This can lead to a vicious cycle of fatigue, which can cause anxiety.
- Quit Smoking – Smoking is a well-known cause of anxiety. It can lead to a number of physical health problems, including heart disease and lung cancer, but smoking also causes damage to your brain chemistry through the release of chemicals like nicotine and carbon monoxide. When you smoke cigarettes, your body produces chemicals called catecholamines that are released into the bloodstream and travel to your brain. The catecholamines come with an “adrenaline rush” that causes your heart rate and blood pressure to increase. This adrenaline rush makes you feel anxious in the short term but it’s not good for your long-term health or mood .
- Stimulants – Stimulants are drugs that increase activity in parts of the brain associated with attention, emotion and memory. Common examples include Ritalin (methylphenidate) and Adderall (mixed amphetamine salts). These drugs have been known to cause anxiety because they affect levels of dopamine in the brain . Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate emotions like happiness and pleasure as well as movement . When there’s too much dopamine in the body, it can make you feel anxious or jittery .
- Prescription Drugs – Some prescription drugs are known to cause anxiety when used for a long period of time. Although these drugs may be prescribed for serious conditions like schizophrenia , depression or bipolar disorder , some people use them recreationally. Some of these drugs can cause anxiety due to their side effects, such as sedation or a feeling of detachment. Other prescription drugs that have been known to cause anxiety include antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications and narcotic pain relievers like Vicodin (hydrocodone and acetaminophen).
- Stress – Stress is a common cause of anxiety, especially in teenagers. Stress can be caused by any number of factors like family problems, school, friends or work. Stress can also lead to other mental health problems like depression , which can then lead to anxiety. The good news is that stress-related anxiety usually goes away when the stress causing factor is resolved . If you suffer from stress-related anxiety, try taking a few deep breaths when you’re feeling anxious and see if that helps.
Medication Withdrawal and Anxiety?
Anxiety can be caused by the withdrawal of certain medications. If you’re taking a medication, talk to your doctor about how you might withdraw from the drug. If your doctor says that you need to stop taking the medication, then do so immediately.
Try not to take more than one dose of the medicine at a time, and try not to take any other medication while you’re withdrawing from your medication. Never mix drugs or alcohol while withdrawing from a drug because this could lead to serious complications .
If it’s been a long time since you’ve taken your last dose of an anxiety-causing drug, then it’s likely that withdrawal symptoms will be milder than if you’d just stopped taking the drug recently. It’s also important for you to follow doctor’s instructions about when and how long you should wait before starting another anxiety-causing medication again after stopping an old one .
Fluoxetine (Prozac) is often prescribed for anxiety disorders like panic disorder , social anxiety disorder or obsessive compulsive disorder . It can cause anxiety in some people when they stop taking it suddenly or if they try to stop taking it without consulting their doctor first.
For example, if someone has been on Prozac for several years, trying to abruptly stop using it could lead them to experience severe withdrawal symptoms such as dizziness , irritability , insomnia and depression . However, if someone has been on Prozac for less than two months then they might be able to taper off the medication without experiencing any withdrawal symptoms.
If you have been taking Prozac for several months and suddenly stop taking it, then you might experience some withdrawal symptoms such as restlessness , irritability and fatigue . These symptoms are most likely to occur if your Prozac dosage is too high. If you’ve been on Prozac for less than two months, then withdrawing from it gradually could help to minimize your withdrawal symptoms.
If you’re concerned that you might be experiencing a drug or alcohol withdrawal syndrome , talk to your doctor about it right away. If necessary, your doctor can prescribe a drug called clonidine or a benzodiazepine such as lorazepam to help with the anxiety caused by the withdrawal of certain medications.
Recreational Drugs and Anxiety
Some people use recreational drugs such as marijuana or LSD to help them cope with anxiety. Studies have shown that people who use these drugs are more likely to experience anxiety than those who do not use them. However, there is no research that shows that using these drugs can cause anxiety in the long-term.
Benzodiazepines (Valium and Xanax) are a type of drug that is used to help people cope with anxiety. The benzodiazepine class of medications has been around for several decades and is still widely prescribed today for the treatment of anxiety disorders. These medications are believed to work by changing the way your brain processes information, which leads to a reduction in symptoms associated with anxiety .
Of course, it’s important for you to be aware of any potential risks associated with using marijuana or LSD when you have an existing mental health condition such as depression or bipolar disorder . People who experience severe depression or bipolar disorder may have a more difficult time stopping marijuana or LSD use if they find it difficult to control their moods and emotions while under its influence.
How to Treat a Substance or Medication-Induced Anxiety Disorder
If you have an anxiety disorder, it’s important that you talk to your doctor about the treatments that are right for you. If your doctor recommends medication, then it’s important that you take it regularly. This will help to prevent a relapse of symptoms in the future.
If your doctor suggests lifestyle changes such as exercise or a healthy diet, then these changes can also be helpful in reducing symptoms of anxiety. If you’re having a hard time with the recommended lifestyle changes, then talk to your doctor about other options such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or psychotherapy . These therapies are designed to help people learn how to control their thoughts and behaviors and how to better cope with stress.
The Bottom Line
There is no one cause of anxiety. Instead, the symptoms of anxiety are caused by a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. There are many different types of anxiety disorders and each person experiences the symptoms differently.
Anxiety is a very common condition and you’re not alone if you feel anxious at times. The good news is that there are several things you can do to reduce your symptoms such as reading this article and discussing them with your doctor or therapist.
FAQs about Anxiety
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is a normal response to stress. It’s a type of “fight or flight” reaction that prepares your body and mind for action. When you’re anxious, your body releases hormones and chemicals that prepare you for action, such as running away from a potential threat or fighting off an attacker. Stressful situations can cause anxiety because they cause the release of these hormones and chemicals, which make you feel anxious.
How do I know if I have an anxiety disorder?
If you struggle with feelings of stress and worry, then you may have an anxiety disorder. It’s important to talk to your doctor about the symptoms that seem to be causing problems for you. Some common signs include:
- Feelings of panic or fear in response to everyday situations such as going home alone at night or driving in traffic
- Feeling restless or on edge for no apparent reason
- Having trouble concentrating on tasks at work or school
- Feeling like everything around you is out of control
- Feeling irritable or short-tempered because of stress
How do I treat my anxiety? Is there a cure?
There are many different types of anxiety, and each person experiences the symptoms differently. For some people, treatment is as simple as changing their lifestyle and avoiding situations that cause stress. For others, treatment may involve medications or psychotherapy .
What are the most common anxiety disorders?
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): A feeling of constant worry that doesn’t go away. It can be difficult to concentrate, sleep well, and relax. GAD affects about 18 million adults in the U.S. who experience daily worry for more than six months at a time.
A feeling of constant worry that doesn’t go away. It can be difficult to concentrate, sleep well, and relax. GAD affects about 18 million adults in the U.S. who experience daily worry for more than six months at a time.
Social Anxiety Disorder: A fear of being judged or rejected by other people or appearing anxious in social situations such as public speaking or talking to strangers on the phone . Social Anxiety affects about 6 million adults in the U.S., but only 1-2% seek treatment for it due to embarrassment or lack of understanding about what’s going on with them .