8 most common triggers of anxiety in adulthood – and how to solve them

Anxiety can develop throughout any stage in our lives and the triggers can manifest differently for every individual. A person’s mental health state can often be affected by complex factors that can range from environment through to genetics. Whilst the triggers can vary from person to person, there are some common factors that underlie the triggers of anxiety for a lot of people. These are the 8 most common triggers of anxiety in adulthood and what you can do about them.

Brain chemistry

Brain chemistry is an important factor in many mental health disorders. Too much or too little of a certain chemical can cause imbalances in our brain. These chemicals, called neurotransmitters, are responsible for the way the brain facilitates communication between nerve cells. Research has shown that lower than normal levels or too many neurotransmitters can cause a variety of mental health concerns, however the cause of these chemical imbalances is unclear. Imbalances in brain chemistry can be a contributor amongst other factors that might cause someone to develop anxiety. Medical professionals are able to assist with brain imbalances, through various forms of treatment, which can involve medication or changes to factors such as diet and exercise.


Anxiety disorders that can be attributed to genetics often emerge in adolescence, when the brain goes through changes and exposes new genes. Scientists have uncovered genes that can be responsible for anxiety, such as the gene responsible for transporting the happiness hormone, serotonin. There is still a lot more research to be done into the genetic causes of mental illness but it is invariably a contributing factor for some people. Genetics are something we are born with however our DNA can change over time, if only slightly.

Substance abuse

Chemicals in drugs and seemingly harmless substances like caffeine can affect the way the brain functions and cause various anxiety symptoms such as nervousness, problems with concentration, panic attacks and constant worry. Anxiety caused from substance abuse, especially with heavy drugs can be particularly difficult to treat because the sufferers can be stuck in a cycle. This can mean that the substances are causing the anxiety, but they are then using the substances again to ease those feelings. To solve this issue, it is important to go through the process of abstaining or rehabilitation.

Psychological disorders

Anxiety can be commonly associated with other psychological disorders like depression and some people are more susceptible to these due to various factors such as genetics. Psychological disorders can cause someone to develop anxiety by conditioned responses, manifestation of interpersonal conflict, and existence of dysfunctional thought patterns. Many psychological disorders can be managed in a positive way, however the person suffering should seek the help from an expert such as a Lysn psychologist.

Environmental factors

A chaotic home life, abuse, or heavy stress at work can be examples of environmental factors that can trigger anxiety. These circumstances can lead to a toxin accumulation in the body which can then lead to anxiety. If a person feels like their environment might be affecting their mental health, it is important to take charge and make changes in their environment. Creating a calm and healthy environment will allow the body to detoxify and will calm the nervous system. Health should be a person’s number one priority, which also means a primary importance should be placed on fixing environmental factors that might be attributing to mental health disorders.

Medical factors

There are a number of medical conditions that can cause anxiety-like symptoms, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Premenstrual Syndrome, Benign Positional Vertigo, Hypertension, Asthma and the list goes on. These medical conditions can often display one or several symptoms of anxiety and thus can mean that doctors could mistakenly diagnose a person with anxiety instead of their other medical condition. If you are unsure whether your doctor has diagnosed your condition correctly, seek a second opinion. Anxiety is a manageable condition that many people live with comfortably, however it is extremely important to be treating the right medical concern.

Past or childhood experiences

Past or childhood experiences can trigger anxiety later in life, often a result of having blocked out or bottled up the experiences. Then as an adult, a person can experience flashbacks or as they are trying to process their emotions they can develop anxiety. In this situation it is important to seek the help of an expert such as a psychologist. Past traumatic experiences can have ongoing effects on a person’s life so it is imperative to take the necessary steps towards processing and managing these emotions.

Current life situations

A person’s current life situation can be the cause for someone to develop anxiety, especially if there have been some dramatic changes or a compound of life circumstances. For example, someone could lose their job, transition into a new stage of life or break up with their long-term partner, these are significant causes for someone to develop mental health concerns such as anxiety. Unfortunately, some life circumstances are out of a person’s control, however if you do find yourself in a situation where there have been some changes which are affecting you mentally, it is important to seek help. Seek help for both the physical situation and the mental and look to resources that are available.

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Zac Zacharia (Managing Director) has been assisting clients to create wealth and secure their futures for over 14 years.

He is also an accomplished presenter and educator

Co-authoring the popular investment book, Property vs Shares.