What causes one person to feel anxious may not have the same effect on another person. Anxiety is usually caused by a combination of factors.
Personality, beliefs and attitudes
Physical health problems
Other mental health problems
Drugs and alcohol
Cultural beliefs and upbringing
If your parent or close relative has anxiety, it can increase your risk of developing it too.
Research suggests that certain personality traits, beliefs and attitudes can contribute to anxiety.
For example, you are more likely to develop anxiety if you:
We all go through stressful events and major life changes. It’s normal to feel anxious about these things. But if you find it hard to manage these emotions, you might develop anxiety. Some common triggers include:
Some chronic health conditions are associated with anxiety.
Several women’s health conditions are associated with anxiety.
Anxiety affects Tori as a result of living with chronic pelvic pain. Strategies such as activity pacing and seeing a pain specialist counsellor help to keep her anxiety in check. “You have sovereignty over your body and thoughts, and that’s the interface where you gain control over your whole life.”
Watch her story of anxiety.
Women go through different life stages such as puberty, after childbirth, before and after menopause. During these life stages, hormones such as oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone go up and down. Women can also experience hormonal changes when pregnant, breastfeeding or on the contraceptive pill. This can lead to low mood and, in some cases, anxiety.
If you think your anxiety is related to hormonal changes, talk to an experienced health professional for tailored treatment options.
People with other mental health problems, especially depression, have a higher risk of developing anxiety.
Drugs and alcohol can make your anxiety worse. If you are experiencing anxiety, it’s best to talk to your doctor instead of trying to manage it with drugs and alcohol.
The way you were raised and your cultural beliefs can increase your risk of anxiety.
Thanks to Liptember Foundation for supporting Jean Hailes to produce these pages on anxiety. Each year, the Liptember Campaign raises funds and awareness for women's mental health during the month of September.
This web page is designed to be informative and educational. It is not intended to provide specific medical advice or replace advice from your health practitioner. The information above is based on current medical knowledge, evidence and practice as at June 2022.