7 Outside Influences That Cause Anxiety

by Jerry Kennard, Ph.D. Medical Reviewer


A considerable number of medications cause anxiety or make it worse. The list may surprise you but includes meds for asthma or blood pressure, decongestants, cough medicines, oral contraceptives and even antidepressants. Over-the-counter medications are as likely to have these side effects as those prescribed.

Illicit drugs

Cocaine, ecstasy, crack or speed are examples of illegal drugs known to cause anxiety and/or panic.

Oxygen Depletion

People tend to think of high altitudes when oxygen depletion is mentioned. More down to earth reasons include conditions where insufficient oxygen reaches the brain. Emphysema (damage to the lungs making breathing difficult) or pulmonary embolism (blockage in the artery to the lungs) are two examples.

Workplace anxiety

The causes can be highly varied and range from under-stimulation, to bullying, difficult customers or colleagues, fear of failure, deadline pressures, and so on. If work keeps you worrying, causes sleep disturbances and problems of focus during the day, you’re almost certainly suffering with workplace anxiety and your health is likely to suffer accordingly.


Various conditions and diseases include anxiety as one of the symptoms. Some tumors, infectious diseases (e.g. Lyme disease) or nutritional deficiencies (e.g. Vitamin B12) or excesses can cause anxiety.


Two forms of trauma can be considered. Head trauma, even mild, can result in various psychiatric symptoms of which anxiety is one. Psychological trauma, for example PTSD, itself a form of anxiety disorder.


The dynamics of any interpersonal relationship is often complex and difficult to navigate. Personal anxieties (it won’t last, it’s my fault) mix with anxieties and frustrations about a partner (can I trust them, he/she is too needy). There’s no easy answer. Sometimes there are grounds for concern but sometimes our own defenses cause insecurities and may even block the development of intimacy.

Jerry Kennard, Ph.D.
Meet Our Writer
Jerry Kennard, Ph.D.

Jerry Kennard, Ph.D., is a Chartered Psychologist and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society. Jerry’s work background is in mental health and, most recently, higher education. He is the author of various self-help books and is co-founder of positivityguides.net.