- Clarinda Brandao, Psychotherapist
Triggers That Can Increase Anxiety Attacks
Do you struggle with anxiety disorder or are prone to anxiety attacks? There are a few factors that can actually increase, heighten or lead to an anxiety attack.
Here is a list of potential triggers that may heighten or increase your anxiety:
Lack of sleep or bad sleeping habits. A good night’s rest can make a big difference if you’re someone who has an anxiety disorder. If you don’t feel well rested, you will feel unfocused and sluggish which can lead to anxiety.
Food matters. Missing meals or not having adequate meals with enough nutrients can cause your mind to feel unclear and unfocused. An uncleared mind can often bring on an anxiety attack.
Coffee is a big trigger for many. If you’ve experienced more anxiety than usual, try eliminating coffee or only drinking decaffeinated coffee. Coffee is a stimulator and can cause you to feel jittery or anxious.
Alcohol or drugs can increase anxiety. Taking alcohol or any form of drugs to calm your anxiety is actually not the best form to eliminate or lessen your anxiety attacks in the long run. They actually can increase your anxiety as time goes on.
Some medications can have side-effects that result in anxiety attacks. If you’re taking medication and are not sure if they are adding to your anxiety, check with your doctor or a pharmacist, they are qualified to answer those questions.
Have your thyroid gland checked. Your thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland in the front of your neck that produces thyroid hormones. These hormones are important for regulating your metabolism and energy levels. If the levels are off, this can trigger and actually cause anxiety.
The one we often ignore is stress. Stress can cause and lead to anxiety. When we’re stressed we begin to do things that cause more anxiety such as smoking, drinking, etc. Our bodies are already heightened and anxious, this in result will increase our anxiety attacks.
I often recommend clients to keep track of their anxiety to help them better understand where it might be coming from; more so, what might be triggering their anxiety. Please note, the best way to fully manage and work on your anxiety is through therapy - to get to the root of what is causing your mind to create the negative and unwanted thoughts. Anxiety disorder can be caused by many factors, the list above is what heightens your anxiety and can cause your attacks to be more frequent. How and why our mind causes anxiety is more about how we think and feel.