Many people who have anxiety understand the challenges of daily life: nervousness, sweating, fear, rapid heartbeat, digestive issues, feeling overwhelmed, concentration problems, chest pain, and hyperventilation are just a few unpleasant symptoms, as noted by Calm Clinic. At times, our anxiety may get so out of control that we may avoid social situations, even something as simple as going to the grocery store. If we let it, anxiety can rule all our thoughts, decisions, and emotions. People with anxiety often wonder if they have had it “forever” – is it possible that some of us are born with anxiety? There are several theories surrounding the causation of anxiety and just how “far back” it really goes.
NBC News reports that increased frequency of environmental stressors can cause an excess of cortisol, the “fight or flight” hormone in our body, which ultimately causes us to develop a poorly regulated stress system. If we are still in the womb, or even during our first year of life, and we experience excessive amounts of stress, we may become “stress dysregulated” (SDR), meaning that we will react more often, more strongly, and for a longer period. Harvard psychologist Jerome Kegan has spent several decades tracking babies from birth to adulthood and found that babies who were more stressed out by “novel stimuli” – strange noises, toys, and smells – typically grew up to become anxious teenagers and adults.
Harsh early life experiences may train the body to “ramp up” the stress system as a form of protection from danger; this may mean that we feel more anxious, uptight, agitated, and overwhelmed most of the time. These feelings may cause us to “lash out” at others or overreact in response to slightly stressful situations, such as when a person experiences road rage.
Dr. Robert Leahy from Yale University explained for Psychology Today that some fears may be learned over time. As we grow and adapt, we learn what our “threshold” is. This may grow and change over time; you may not have developed a fear of heights until you turned 25. Other times, we learn to fear certain things based on our experiences and warnings we receive. For example, if we eat poisonous mushrooms, we may quickly learn not to make that mistake again.
There are several reasons or theories for how and why we have anxiety – genetic predisposition, biology, stress stimuli, and more could influence the “how’s” and “why’s” of anxiety. What’s most important is that we take control of our anxiety symptoms so that they do not control us any longer.
If you are ready to begin taking control over your anxiety, speak with us today by calling 844-374-1951. New Vista Behavioral Health offers three main treatment centers: Avalon Malibu, Infinity Malibu, and Simple Recovery – all of which aim to restore the mind, body, and spirit of everyone. We believe in working with you each step of the way – make the decision to begin your journey of recovery starting today.