Americans are anxious folks. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, nearly 40 million Americans suffer from panic attacks — the sudden onset of a variety of symptoms including sweating, shortness of breath, uncontrollable trembling, as well as conjured fears of losing control and even dying. While there are a number of causes for anxiety, some may be more obvious and overt than others. Here are four surprising causes for anxiety that you may have overlooked.
1. Sleep Deprivation
According to the ADAA, there is a weird, circular symbiosis when it comes to sleep deprivation and anxiety: Lack of sleep can cause you to be anxious, and having anxiety can cause you to lose sleep. "Research also shows that some form of sleep disruption is present in nearly all psychiatric disorders," the AADA wrote. "Studies also show that people with chronic insomnia are at high risk of developing an anxiety disorder."
2. Thyroid Issues
According to Calm Clinic, hormones secreted from your thyroid contribute to anxiety because they regulate neurotransmitters in the brain. If you suffer from hypothyroidism, however, regulation is difficult: "When your thyroid hormone is not functioning properly, these neurotransmitters tend to go haywire, causing not only anxiety, but also frequent panic attacks," Calm Clinic wrote. Exacerbating the anxiety stemming from haywire hormones are the physical symptoms associated with the disease, from thinning hair to getting a puffy face.
3. Nutrient Deficiency
A lack of vitamins B and D, magnesium, tryptophan and magnesium can all contribute to anxiety, whether it's affecting your nervous system or your body's biochemical reactions.
4. Adrenal Fatigue
Adrenal fatigue is a term referring to fatigue and corollary symptoms due to an ineffective adrenal gland. According to Dr. Lam, adrenal fatigue causes an imbalance of hormones like norepinephrine and epinephrine within our sympathoadrenal system. This imbalance acts as a catalyst for anxiety because the sympathoadrenal system "over-activates," affecting how our bodies are primed for stressors, such as standing up, public speaking or an appropriate fight-or-flight response.