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What To Do When Anxiety Gets Worse In The Evening

Vivian Okirie, M.D.
What To Do When Anxiety Gets Worse In The Evening

Everyone experiences anxiety differently. There are people that wake up and already struggling with significant anxiety. While they experience most of their anxiety in the mornings and it tends to last all through the day, it is almost never as bad as it is when they get up.

But there are others that experience anxiety that gets worse in the evenings. Many still have anxiety throughout the day, but it is during the evening hours when their anxiety tends to become far more overwhelming.

Causes of Evening Anxiety

Anxiety that gets worse in the evenings may be caused by several issues, including the association of bedtime with stress, a lack of distraction forcing you to think about your anxiety, and simply being drained from the day.

The causes of evening anxiety are somewhat unclear, in that there is not anything in particular about anxiety that should cause it to increase in the evenings.  This means evening sufferers likely have a specific cause to their symptoms. Possible causes include the following: 

This list is only preliminary. It is also possible that some individuals are more prone to biological responses as well. Brain chemistry fluctuates based on energy levels, time of day, diet, and other factors that may differ at night compared to during the day. Also, some people become their own mental enemy in the evening. 

As soon as you start to wonder whether or not you are more prone to evening anxiety, you are also psyching yourself up to anticipate evening anxiety. As strange as it sounds, the very realization that you have evening anxiety may make evening anxiety more likely.

The most likely reason is simply the lack of distractions. Anxiety tends to take over when we are lost in our own thoughts, and unfortunately, most people have little to think about at night that prevents them from focusing on their anxiety. But again, it may be any combination of causes.

How to Prevent Evening Anxiety

There are some very simple ways to reduce evening anxiety, at least comparatively. Overall, the only way to guarantee that you do not get anxiety in the evenings is to manage your anxiety altogether. But in the absence of that option, there are strategies that can help you break the cycle of anxiety at night. These include:

These are all tools designed to break the evening anxiety cycle. They are not going to cure your anxiety altogether, because they are not anxiety coping skills. Instead, it will work towards helping you properly assess evening anxiety and possibly reducing it. 

You will still need to partner any of these strategies with a long-term anxiety treatment. It ensures you experience less anxiety overall, not just at night.

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