Causes, Symptoms & Effects of Anxiety

Erlanger Behavioral Health Hospital offers high-quality services and support for adolescents, adults, and senior adults who are struggling with anxiety. Located in Chattanooga, TN, Erlanger is a leading provider of treatment for anxiety disorders.

Understanding Anxiety

Learn about anxiety

Learning more about anxiety disorders is an important first step in working towards recovery. If you or someone you care about is battling anxiety, gaining a greater understanding of the common signs, symptoms, and effects will help you to make the most informed decision when it comes to choosing a treatment center that’s right for you.

Throughout the course of your life, you will be met with situations and circumstances that cause you to experience stress and worry. This is a natural part of the human experience, and these feelings will typically dissipate on their own after the activating event has passed.

But for individuals who struggle with an anxiety disorder, worry is pervasive in their lives, and it doesn’t always have a known cause. Constantly feeling anxiety takes a toll on the mind and body in significant ways. It affects sleep, appetite, and energy, and can make it impossible to function at home, work, or school. It can also cause you to isolate yourself from loved ones and prevent you from engaging in activities you used to enjoy.

Living with chronic anxiety and panic is a debilitating experience. But with help from a quality treatment center for anxiety, you can begin to heal from the effects of anxiety and get your symptoms under control. Through an individualized anxiety treatment program, you can learn to navigate worry in a healthy manner and live the balanced life you deserve.


Statistics about anxiety

Anxiety is a widespread problem in the United States, and according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH):

  • Anxiety is a common mental illness, with about 9.1% of U.S. adults reporting an anxiety disorder in the past year.
  • More females (23.4%) than males (14.3%) struggle with anxiety disorders.
  • Nearly one-third of U.S. adults will experience an anxiety disorder at some time in their lives.
  • Among adults with an anxiety disorder, about8% reported a serious impairment, and about 33.7% reported a moderate impairment.

Causes & Risk Factors

Causes and risk factors for anxiety

While there is no one factor that can predict the onset of an anxiety disorder, there are some experiences and circumstances that might make you more likely to struggle with the condition. Genetics and environment can play a role, and your risk of developing anxiety can be increased or decreased by various factors, such as the following:

  • Personal history of other mental health disorders
  • Being the victim of a physical or sexual assault
  • Gender (certain types of anxiety are more common among women than among men)
  • Having a parent or sibling who has struggled with anxiety or other types of mental illness

Losing a parent or experiencing other forms of adversity during childhood

Signs & Symptoms

Symptoms of anxiety

No two people will ever have the exact same experience of anxiety, but there are some common symptoms that often accompany the condition. If you’re experiencing any of the following, it may indicate that you have an anxiety disorder.

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Changing your behaviors to avoid certain people, places, or objects
  • Refusing to participate in events that involve large gatherings of people
  • Unwillingness to be in open spaces or confined spaces
  • Withdrawing from friends and family members

Physical symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Muscle tension
  • Feeling like you are choking or incapable of catching your breath
  • Tingling sensation in feet or hands
  • Sleep problems
  • Dizziness
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Chest pain
  • Excessive perspiration
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Chills

Mental symptoms:

  • Persistent sense of worry or dread
  • Sense of detachment from your body or your surroundings
  • Pervasive fear that you are being negatively judged by others
  • Overwhelming sense of hopelessness
  • Irritability
  • Problems with focus or concentration


Effects of anxiety

Without receiving professional treatment for your anxiety disorder, your symptoms will likely worsen over time. Like other forms of mental illness, anxiety disorders are progressive diseases. If you don’t seek treatment, you may put yourself at increased risk for a variety of negative effects, such as the following:

  • Discord within your family
  • Substance abuse and chemical dependency
  • Onset or worsening of co-occurring mental health disorders
  • Pervasive sense of helplessness and hopelessness
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Strained or ruined interpersonal relationships
  • Substandard performance in school or at work
  • Job loss
  • Chronic unemployment
  • Financial problems
  • Withdrawing or becoming isolated from friends and family members

If you’ve already begun experiencing any of these effects, know that there is hope for recovery and that, with the proper support, you can stop these damaging effects from further impacting your life. By seeking comprehensive, professional treatment for your anxiety disorder, you can create a pathway to healing, and free yourself from the effects of anxiety.

Co-Occurring Disorders

Common co-occurring disorders among people who have anxiety disorders

If you struggle with anxiety, you may also be more likely to be diagnosed with one of the following co-occurring mental health conditions:

  • Depression
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Eating disorders
  • Substance use disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
Marks of Quality Care
  • The Joint Commission (JCAHO) Gold Seal of Approval