Environmental and external factors

Environmental factors that are known to cause several types of anxiety include:

  • Trauma from events such as abuse, victimization, or the death of a loved one.
  • Stress in a personal relationship, marriage, friendship, and divorce.
  • Stress at work.
  • Stress from school.
  • Stress about finances and money.
  • Stress from a natural disaster.
  • Lack of oxygen in high altitude areas.


Anxiety is a general term for several disorders that cause nervousness, fear, apprehension, and worrying. These disorders affect how we feel and behave, and they can manifest real physical symptoms. Mild anxiety is vague and unsettling, while severe anxiety can be extremely debilitating, having a serious impact on daily life.

People often experience a general state of worry or fear before confronting something challenging such as a test, examination, recital, or interview. These feelings are easily justified and considered normal. Anxiety is considered a problem when symptoms interfere with a person's ability to sleep or otherwise function. Generally speaking, anxiety occurs when a reaction is out of proportion with what might be normally expected in a situation.

Anxiety disorders may be caused by environmental factors, medical factors, genetics, brain chemistry, substance abuse, or a combination of these. It is most commonly triggered by the stress in our lives. Usually anxiety is a response to outside forces, but it is possible that we make ourselves anxious with "negative self-talk" - a habit of always telling ourselves the worst will happen.