Coping with Anxiety: What Triggers it and How to Get Treatment

Angela Neal-Barnett, Ph.D., a professor of psychology for Kent State, explains the different types of anxiety disorders and how to get the right treatment

In the realm of entertainment and news, trigger warnings are familiar reminders of potentially upsetting content. However, when discussing anxiety disorders, the concept of "triggers" takes on a different, more serious meaning. Angela Neal-Barnett, Ph.D., a psychology professor at Kent State University and an expert in the field, emphasizes that triggers for anxiety disorders vary depending on the specific disorder.

Angela Neal-Barnett, Ph.D.
Angela Neal-Barnett, Ph.D., Kent State professor of psychology, discusses anxiety disorders with

In an article for, Neal-Barnett explains that anxiety involves excessive worry and an apprehension that something bad is going to happen: “The perception is that there is some kind of threat. You don't know what. You don't know when. You just know it's coming.”

 People with anxiety disorders often experience physical symptoms like increased heart rate, muscle tension and rapid breathing when faced with their triggers, and they may go to great lengths to avoid these sources of fear.

The causes of anxiety disorders are complex, stemming from a combination of genetic, environmental and psychological factors. Avoiding triggers can be limiting and exacerbate the disorder's severity, affecting one's ability to function in various aspects of life.

Understanding one's triggers is the crucial first step toward managing and healing anxiety disorders, Neal-Barnett explained in the Psycom article. The article also delves into common triggers for specific anxiety disorders, such as social anxiety disorder, specific phobias, generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder, highlighting that recognizing and addressing these triggers is essential for effective treatment. Various therapeutic approaches, including cognitive-behavioral therapy and medication, can be employed to help individuals manage their anxiety disorders.

Find information about mental health resources available through Kent State.

Learn more about Kent State’s Department of Psychological Sciences.

POSTED: Monday, November 6, 2023 01:35 PM
Updated: Friday, January 19, 2024 09:55 AM
Amy Antenora