Do You Have the Jitters? Top Six Surprising Causes For Anxiety

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Ever have those nagging feelings that something terrible is about to happen, or terrible unwanted thoughts or unexplained nausea, headaches, nosebleeds?   Did you know that there are "external" factors/habits in our daily lives that can increase anxiety?

  

Dr. Sanam Hafeez  a NYC based neuropsychologist and Teaching Faculty Member at the prestigious Columbia University Teacher's College shares surprising things that could be causing anxiety.

You may see several on this list that are causing jitters in your own life.

1.    Cigarettes 

Often, people who smoke tend to rely on cigarettes to ease their anxiety. However, nicotine found in cigarettes affects your brain, including your mood. But nicotine also ramps up blood pressure and heart rate, two physical symptoms that can mirror anxiety. In addition, the carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke also may cause breathing problems that the body responds to as if it's suffocating, increasing the likelihood of panic attacks. The relief a smoker feels is temporary and will likely return and cause an even greater risk of anxiety symptoms Studies have found that those who quit smoking for more than two weeks had lower anxiety levels than when they were smoking regularly.

2.    Caffeine

The jitters, shakes, and irregular heart rhythm one might get after a dose of caffeine can feel an awful lot like a panic attack, especially if you are already susceptible. That's because caffeine stimulates your "fight or flight" response, tricking the body into feeling like it's being chased by a lion even when there is no danger present.  If caffeine makes you anxious switch to decaf coffee, and do not drink energy drinks such as Redbull which are loaded with caffeine. Be wary of PMS medications like Midol which contain a hefty dose of caffeine as an active ingredient.


Are You Dating a Narcissist? Seven Red Flags Not to Miss


3.    Medications

Medicines that contain caffeine, such as Anacin, Empirin, Excedrin, No-Doz, and cough medicines. Decongestants, such as phenylephrine, including Sudafed PE can bring on symptoms of anxiety or panic.  Some ADHD medications also list anxiety or nervousness as a possible side effect. These medications include Adderall, Ritalin, and Straterra to name a few. Some birth control pills can contribute to feelings of emotional disturbance including depression and anxiety. Asthma medications can cause symptoms of anxiety for some patients. The National Institute of Health reports that the use of bronchodilators can lead to feelings of anxiety and nervousness. If you are prone to anxiety, make your doctor aware of this to be sure that both OTC meds and prescriptions will not exacerbate your symptoms.

4.    Alcohol

Anxiety and alcohol use are often connected. People often drink to relax and reduce anxiety, and in some instances, chronic alcohol abuse can lead to anxiety. With both alcohol use and anxiety being so prevalent in the US, it's no surprise that the two are often linked. Drinking alcohol can influence the brain chemistry and change the levels of serotonin. Alcohol can affect your mood and decrease the "feel good" chemical in your brain increasing feelings of anxiety and depression. Long-term heavy drinkers may be exposed to a higher risk of anxiety.  

5.    Hormonal Activity

Hormones are the messengers to the brain and when your body is under stress due to internal factors such as the menstrual cycle, this can lead to mood changes and irritability. Adrenal issues — imbalances in the body's stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol, and the precursor hormone DHEA — can cause a variety of symptoms that seem to be mental health-related, including depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Cortisol aka "the stress hormone" can have a powerful effect on your brain, and anything that increases cortisol production or decreases cortisol reduction (such as a lack of exercise) can cause anxiety. Other hormones such as estrogen, testosterone and thyroid can all affect anxiety. If you feel hormones may be the culprit of your anxiety, consult your internist who can do a full blood workup.

6.    Skipping Meals

Skipping meals can affect your brain, which can lead to a drop in serotonin levels creating symptoms of anxiety. This can cause, mood swings, stress, fatigue and unsteady blood sugar levels.  As a result, one might experience shakiness, dizziness, confusion, and difficulty speaking.  Prevent these blood sugar swings by eating frequent small meals and keeping snacks on hand.


Overly Self Critical? Five Tips to Tame The Critical and Shape it Into Your New Best Friend


About the Doctor:

Dr. Sanam Hafeez PsyD is a NYC based licensed clinical psychologist, teaching faculty member at the prestigious Columbia University Teacher's College and the founder and Clinical Director of Comprehensive Consultation Psychological Services, P.C. a neuropsychological, developmental and educational center in Manhattan and Queens. 

Dr. Hafeez masterfully applies her years of experience connecting psychological implications to address some of today's common issues such as body image, social media addiction, relationships, workplace stress, parenting and psychopathology (bipolar, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, etc…). In addition, Dr. Hafeez works with individuals who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), learning disabilities, attention and memory problems, and abuse. Dr. Hafeez often shares her credible expertise to various news outlets in New York City and frequently appears on CNN and Dr.Oz.

Connect with her via twitter @comprehendMind or www.comprehendthemind.com

Haute Tease

  • New York City Opera Opens Season with Triumphant Production of Anna Nicole, Co-Produced With Bam; Announces Major Fundraising Appeal

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    New York City Opera will open its season on September 17th with the opera Anna Nicole, by composer Mark-Anthony Turnage and librettist Richard Thomas. The Opera is a co-production with BAM, and will open both companies’ seasons.

     
  • Love & Friendship Review - Beautifully Done, An Unconventional, Winning, Comedy

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Love & Friendship, from Amazon Studios and Roadside Attractions, present a beautifully crafted charmingly manipulative, visually creative experience, based on Jane Austen’s comedic novella, Lady Susan, depicting the manner in which society looks upon women of determination and freedom.

     
  • Epson’s MegaPlex Portable Projector Review – Experience Cinema Under the Stars

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    It’s official! I’ve found my favorite gadget of this season: the Epson MegaPlex MG-850HD All-in-One Projector, Speaker, and Apple-Device Dock Combo that facilitates big screen viewing virtually anywhere. This haute high-tech toy offers crystal-clear portable projection and audio both indoors and out.

     
  • Beltway Insider: Trump, Pence Stump MAGA Redux, Cuts Central American Aid, Brexit Power Grab, Boeing MAX Jets, 2020

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Trump, riding high on his vindication interpretation, roared into Michigan initiating his 2020 re-election campaign setting the tone with hate mongering, cursing, and belittling the investigation that resulted in 34 guilty pleas, including six from former advisors.

     
  • Celebrity Interviews: Talking with Me, Earl and The Dying Girl Stars Thomas Mann, RJ Cyler and Olivia Cooke

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Me and Earl and The Dying Girl from FOX Searchlight Pictures has been opened in the United States garnering rave reviews for the teen comedy-drama that traces one year in the life of three friends as they face the uncertain future.

     
  • The Confessions (Le Confessioni) Review - A Captivating International Murder Mystery

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Confessions, from Bobo Film TV and Uncork’d Entertainment, presents a thrilling whodunit, as the world titters on economic collapse a gathering of the G8 leaders at a luxurious seaside hotel becomes a murder mystery with all suspect.

     
  • Beltway Insider: The Affordable Care Act Controversy Continues; October Job Numbers; Christie’s Big Win; Key Election Results

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Obama, stinging from several weeks of continued criticism over the failures of the Affordable Care Act Marketplace website and the less than forthcoming data from the White House, took to the road this week to pitch the plan.

     
  • Money News: Dow Caught in Bear Trap; World Markets Split 80/20

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The DOW Jones Industrial Average fell to the bear over the past week with limited collateral damage across global markets as the world markets bounced back from the devastating free-fall of the past week. 

     
  • New Flying Spur V8 Makes Debut For Bentley In Moscow

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    (Crewe / Moscow August 2014) Bentley marks its presence at the 2014 Moscow International Automobile Salon (MIAS) today, with the Russian debut of the new Flying Spur V8 luxury sedan.

     
  • The Aftermath Review – Electrifying Post World War II Drama Delivers Captivating Performances

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Aftermath, from FOX Searchlight and Scott Free Productions, presents the story of new beginnings, deep hatred, hope, healing, anguish, and unending heartache against the backdrop of a barren, bombed out, wasteland when a seedling of renewal appears.

     
  • The Isle Review – Convincing Characters, Gripping Story, Spellbinding Thriller

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Isle, from Brainstorm Media, brings to the screen the story of revenge from the beyond, as once bustling family isle becomes inhabited by the death song of one they didn't protect from the violent among them.

     
  • World News: France Global Diplomacy Stunted Against Libyan Rebels

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    France, who liberated Libya in 2011, is struggling to resolve the current conflict and is finding its diplomatic influence stunted and the inability to mediate an end, in spite of itself, confirms its status as an average world power.

     
  • Teen, Tortured and Shamed by Dad, Commits Suicide

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Isabel Laxamana, a beautiful raven haired ‘tween, suffered the brutalities of bullying when her father believing discipline, including shaming, would stop any future poor social media choices chopped off her long hair on camera and uploaded the video.

     
  • The Complete Brain Exercise Book Review - Easy Mental Exercises Guaranteed to Keep The Mind Sharp

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Complete Brain Exercise Book, the second brain stimuli tome from Dr. Fraser Smith, picks up where he left off in Keep Your Brain Young, by penning an exercise manual guaranteed to keep the mind sharp and agile.

     
  • Business/Finance: Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson Speaks with CNBC's "Squawk on the Street"

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    "Squawk on the Street" host Jim Cramer, host of CNBC’s Mad Money, interviewed Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson who explained recent gains in Starbucks shares, beta testing Starbucks Delivers, java growth in China, Alibaba partnerships and the long game.