Common causes of anxiety, tips on how to alleviate them

September 25, 2014

Approximately 40 million Americans experience anxious feelings, many of whom include college students. In such a fast-paced environment it is unsurprising that students often feel overwhelmed. Here are some common anxiety triggers, as well as methods to help address these problems.

Stress

Though impossible to avoid completely, increases in stress — caused by anything from homework to your personal life — can cause you to experience anxiety, restlessness or even panic attacks. Try to make time for you. Set aside an hour a day to relax and breathe, which will help put external stressors in perspective.

Sleep

Sleep deprivation can do a lot of damage to your body, and can even trigger anxiety. To avoid putting your body on edge, try to stick to a regular sleep schedule, shooting for seven to eight hours a night.

Caffeine

Your daily espresso craving may be causing more than just a buzz. Ingesting caffeine, which increases your heart rate in order to give you that boost of energy, can also be an anxiety trigger. Cut back your daily coffee intake and instead stay hydrated with water.

Medication

Certain prescription meds, such as drugs for asthma, attention deficit disorder and oral contraceptives, have the possible side effect of increased anxiety. If you are taking any form of medication, consult your physician to see if the type of drug can be altered to decrease these symptoms.

Genetics

Sometimes anxiety is part of your genetic makeup — your DNA may make you susceptible to feelings of anxiety. If you have a family member with anxiety and experience feelings of anxiety yourself, a variety of options are available, from therapy to getting a prescription medicine.

For more information on anxiety, visit the Anxiety and Depression Association of America’s website at adaa.org.

A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, Sept. 25 print edition. Email Dana Reszutek at [email protected]

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