ANXIETY TRIGGERS · Parkinson's Resource Organization

ANXIETY TRIGGERS

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ANXIETY TRIGGERS

As if dealing with the Coronavirus issues weren’t enough, there are other things that can create anxieties. Knowing some of these triggers might be very helpful to your wellbeing, perhaps in this article, there will be issues you want to work on.

1. Health issues - A health diagnosis that’s upsetting or difficult, such as Parkinson’s or another chronic illness, may trigger anxiety or make it worse. This type of trigger is very powerful because of the immediate and personal feelings it produces.

    You can help reduce anxiety caused by health issues by being proactive and engaged with your doctor. Talking with a therapist may also be useful, as they can help you learn to manage your emotions around your diagnosis.

2. Medications - Certain prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications may trigger symptoms of anxiety. That’s because active ingredients in these medications may make you feel uneasy or unwell. Those feelings can set off a series of events in your mind and body that may lead to additional symptoms of anxiety.

    Medicines that may trigger anxiety include:

birth control pills;

cough and congestion medications, and;

weight loss medications.

Talk with your doctor about how these drugs make you feel and look for an alternative that doesn’t trigger your anxiety or worsen your symptoms.

3. Caffeine - Many people rely on their morning cup of joe to wake up, but it might actually trigger or worsen anxiety. According to one study in 2010 Trusted Source, people with panic disorder and social anxiety disorder are especially sensitive to the anxiety-inducing effects of caffeine.

    Work to cut back your caffeine intake by substituting non-caffeinated options whenever possible.

4. Skipping meals - When you don’t eat, your blood sugar may drop. That can lead to jittery hands and a rumbling tummy. It can also trigger anxiety.

    Eating balanced meals is important for many reasons. It provides you with energy and important nutrients. If you can’t make time for three meals a day, healthy snacks are a great way to prevent low blood sugar, feelings of nervousness or agitation, and anxiety. Remember, food can affect your mood.

5. Negative thinking - Your mind controls much of your body, and that’s certainly true with anxiety. When you’re upset or frustrated, the words you say to yourself can trigger greater feelings of anxiety.

    If you tend to use a lot of negative words when thinking about yourself, learning to refocus your language and feelings when you start down this path is helpful. Working with a therapist can be incredibly helpful with this process.

6. Financial concerns - Worries about saving money or having debt can trigger anxiety. Unexpected bills or money fears are triggers, too.

    Learning to manage these types of triggers may require seeking professional help, such as from a financial advisor. Feeling you have a companion and a guide in the process may ease your concern.

7. Parties or social events - If a room full of strangers doesn’t sound like fun, you’re not alone. Events that require you to make small talk or interact with people you don’t know can trigger feelings of anxiety, which may be diagnosed as a social anxiety disorder.

    To help ease your worries or unease, you can always bring along a companion when possible. But it’s also important to work with a professional to find coping mechanisms that make these events more manageable in the long term.

8. Conflict - Relationship problems, arguments, disagreements — these conflicts can all trigger or worsen anxiety. If conflict particularly triggers you, you may need to learn conflict resolution strategies. Also, talk with a therapist or other mental health expert to learn how to manage the feelings these conflicts cause.

9. Stress - Daily stressors like traffic jams or missing your train can cause anyone anxiety. But long-term or chronic stress can lead to long-term anxiety and worsening symptoms, as well as other health problems.

    Stress can also lead to behaviors like skipping meals, drinking alcohol, or not getting enough sleep. These factors can trigger or worsen anxiety, too.

    Treating and preventing stress often requires learning coping mechanisms. A therapist or counselor can help you learn to recognize your sources of stress and handle them when they become overwhelming or problematic.

10. Public events or performances - Public speaking, talking in front of your boss, performing in a competition, or even just reading aloud is a common trigger of anxiety. If your job or hobbies require this, your doctor or therapist can work with you to learn ways to be more comfortable in these settings.

    Also, positive reinforcements from friends and colleagues can help you feel more comfortable and confident.

11. Personal triggers - These triggers may be difficult to identify, but a mental health specialist is trained to help you identify them. These may begin with a smell, a place, or even a song. Personal triggers remind you, either consciously or unconsciously, of a bad memory or traumatic event in your life. Individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) frequently experience anxiety triggers from environmental triggers.

    Identifying personal triggers may take time, but it’s important so you can learn to overcome them.

Tips for identifying triggers - If you can identify and understand your triggers, you can work to avoid them and to cope. You can learn specific coping strategies to handle the triggers when they happen.

    Here are three tips for identifying triggers:

Start a journal. Write down when your anxiety is noticeable and record what you think might have led to the trigger. Some apps can help you track your anxiety, too.

Work with a therapist. Some anxiety triggers can be difficult to identify, but a mental health specialist has training that can help you. They may use talk therapy, journaling, or other methods to find triggers.

Be honest with yourself. Anxiety can cause negative thoughts and poor self-assessments. This can make identifying triggers difficult because of the anxious reactions. Be patient with yourself and be willing to explore things in your past to identify how they may affect you today.

12. Symptoms of anxiety - The most common symptoms of anxiety include:

uncontrollable worry

fear

muscle tension

a fast heartbeat

difficulty sleeping or insomnia

difficulty concentrating

physical discomfort

tingling

restlessness

feeling on edge

irritability

 

If you experience these symptoms regularly for six months or more, you may have a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Other types of anxiety disorders exist as well. The symptoms for those may be different than GAD. For example, with panic disorder you may experience:

a rapid heartbeat or palpitations

sweating

trembling

shaking

feeling as if your throat is closing

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Updated: August 16, 2017