Medically reviewed by Katelyn Hagerty, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 12/15/2022
It’s normal to have anxiety from time to time. Fear and worry are two normal reactions to something that may be causing stress in your life.
But when anxiety seems to happen with no apparent cause, you may be asking yourself, “Why do I get anxiety for no reason?”
Feeling anxiety for no reason may even cause you to worry more and become even more anxious — creating a vicious cycle of anxiety.
While it may not seem apparent right away, there are many reasons why you seemingly get anxious. So instead of Googling, “why do I have anxiety for no reason?” keep reading to learn what your anxiety could mean, as well as ways to cope.
If you’re trying to figure out why you get anxiety for no reason, knowing what anxiety is can be the first step to figuring out your predicament.
As we said before, anxiety is a normal part of life and is even a healthy response. When you feel anxiety, fear or worry about something, it’s your body alerting you to a possible threat and telling you to pay attention.
When you experience anxiety that is overwhelming and persistent, you may be dealing with an anxiety disorder — just one possible answer for your internet search of “I feel anxiety for no reason.”
Below are possible reasons for your sudden, unexplained anxiety. This list can get you started, but you should always talk with a healthcare professional first to get more insight into your unexplained anxiety.
Anxiety disorders are fairly common mental health conditions, as there are over 40 million people with anxiety disorders in the country.
There are several different types of anxiety disorders, any of which could be one explanation for why you feel anxiety for no reason.
Generalized anxiety disorder can cause excessive or persistent feelings of anxiety or worry about your health, work and social life, among other things.
There can be many different symptoms of anxiety. Some common anxiety symptoms include:
Excessive worry about everyday things
Trouble controlling worries
Feeling on edge
Physical symptoms can include headaches or unexplained pains, feeling tired all the time, twitching or trembling, sweating and more. There are also some less common anxiety symptoms, such as jaw pain, ear ringing or excessive yawning.
Social anxiety disorder — also known as social phobia — is another type of anxiety disorder. People with social anxiety disorder often have an intense fear of being judged negatively by others in social situations.
Symptoms of social anxiety can include:
Blushing or sweating
Rapid heart rate
Trouble making eye contact
For some, social anxiety may interfere with going to school or work or doing everyday activities.
Those with panic disorders have unexpected panic attacks — a sudden intense fear or sense of losing control when there’s no clear danger.
Experiencing a panic attack typically includes:
Sense of doom
People may try to prevent future panic attacks by avoiding places or situations they associate with attacks. But while panic attacks may pass quickly, symptoms of anxiety last much longer.
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a condition that can develop after someone has been through a dangerous or scary experience, such as a natural disaster, sudden death of a loved one or an assault.
Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder can include nightmares, flashbacks, feelings of stress, negative thoughts about yourself, avoiding places or situations that remind you of the traumatic event and more.
Similar to other anxiety disorders, women are more likely to be affected by PTSD than men. To learn more about this condition, check out our blog on how to tell if you’re dealing with anxiety or PTSD.
Some over-the-counter or prescription medications, as well as herbal supplements, may cause anxiety symptoms.
Excess caffeine, whether from coffee or energy drinks, can also make anxiety worse for some people. People with panic disorder and social anxiety disorder were found to be especially sensitive to the anxiety-inducing effects of caffeine, according to a 2010 study.
There’s also a connection between alcohol and anxiety, as consuming alcohol can lead to increased anxiety — which could become a vicious cycle if you use alcohol to feel less anxious at social events.
If you have a chronic illness, you may be more prone to experiencing anxiety for no reason, especially if you’re dealing with an unknown condition or are uncertain about your illness or possible treatments.
Unexplained anxiety can be stressful to deal with and possibly cause even more anxiety and worry.
Fortunately, whether you’re dealing with one of the above types of anxiety disorders or just everyday stress, there are ways to cope with anxiety. So you can stop searching for the “why” behind feeling anxiety for no reason, and start feeling better.
A common treatment for anxiety disorders is psychotherapy, or “talk therapy.” In this kind of therapy, you can work with a mental health professional to talk about what’s going on in your life, your emotions and what’s on your mind.
The benefits of therapy are vast and may help you:
Identify unhealthy thoughts and behaviors
Learn better life coping skills
Improve your relationships
Become more resilient
No matter the cause, therapy can be a highly effective treatment for anxiety. If you’re interested in working with a mental health provider to manage your anxiety, you can try online therapy to figure out what type of mental health treatment may work for you.
Medication is another option to help manage the many symptoms of anxiety.
Benzodiazepines are generally a short-term anti-anxiety treatment, as long-term use significantly increases the potential for tolerance, dependence and abuse. Some common benzodiazepines include alprazolam (Xanax®), clonazepam (Klonopin®), diazepam (Valium®) and lorazepam (Ativan®).
Certain antidepressants are also used to manage anxiety, as some target the chemicals in the brain responsible for feelings of anxiety and stress. Antidepressants are typically used for long-term treatment, as they can take several weeks to start working on anxiety symptoms.
One of the most common categories of antidepressants prescribed to treat anxiety is selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). SSRIs used for anxiety include sertraline (Zoloft®), escitalopram (Lexapro®), paroxetine (Paxil®), fluoxetine (Prozac®) and citalopram (Celexa®).
Because everyone experiences anxiety differently and there’s no “one-size-fits-all” medication, a health professional may prescribe one or several drugs based on your symptoms, general health, lifestyle and other factors.
Our full guide on medications for anxiety can give you more information about anti-anxiety and antidepressant medication. You can also consult with a psychiatrist through our online mental health services to discuss your symptoms and learn more about anxiety medication.
While making changes to your lifestyle won’t treat your anxiety overnight, there are small changes you can make to help manage stress and keep anxiety at bay.
Physical activity is one of the most effective natural treatments to reduce stress, improve your mood and provide sustained health benefits. Start small, with a 10 to 15-minute jog, bike ride or another moderately intense cardio session.
Meditation is another way to relax and reduce stress, and has a long history of increasing calmness, improving psychological balance and enhancing overall health and well-being. If you’re new to this mindfulness practice, our guide can help teach you how to meditate.
If you’re super-sensitive to caffeine, work on cutting back your daily consumption. Try cutting out one cup of coffee per day or switching to teas with smaller amounts of caffeine, like black or green tea.
This article also provides more easy lifestyle choices to calm anxiety.
Whether you’re searching for a cause for the anxiety you feel for seemingly no reason or have one of the disorders mentioned above, there are steps you can take for your mental health.
The most important and helpful step you can take is talking to your healthcare provider about your symptoms. They’ll be able to better determine what you’re dealing with and help find the best treatment for you.