There are a myriad of reasons one may have anxiety ranging from the biological or the psychological. For some, it may be due to the neurological structure and functions in their brain. Areas of the brain that regulate anxiety, such as the amygdala and prefrontal cortex, may be underdeveloped.
Conversely, parts of the brain that amplify anxiety, such as the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, may be too sensitive and reactive.
Anxiety can also be the result of someone being in a chronic state of stress, unhealthy environments, or toxic relationships (such as abusive or codependent relationships). This can lead to a perpetual state of intense fear.
Specific to this article, we are going to focus more on the psychological causes of anxiety.
Just like every animal, we are wired to be aware of danger and to respond accordingly. Our anxiety mechanisms are simply acting on the things that were perceived to be a threat to us. Sometimes it is a literal threat, such as being fearful for our lives. Other times it is an abstract threat, like the fear of failure in our career.
Those with anxiety today may also have been experiencing anxiety for many years, due to the pervasive and chronic nature of anxiety disorders.
For example, children who faced a lot of pressure to excel at home as a child, may have grown up to carry those same fears and pressures, leading to a chronically anxious state.
Someone that faced the sudden loss of a loved one at a young age may experience anxiety in romantic relationships years later. People that were bullied in school may avoid meeting new people later in life due to the anxiety and fear still carried inside.
There are countless reasons why someone may have severe anxiety.