Why Anxiety Symptoms Return Same Time Every Year?

Written by Jim Folk
Last updated August 18, 2021

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Video Transcript

Question:

Why Do My Anxiety Symptoms Return At The Same Time Every Year?

Answer

Anxiety symptoms can re-occur at the same time of year. Not because they’re cyclical, but because of other factors, such as:

Negative memory associated with that time of year

If a struggle with anxiety disorder started at a specific time of year, and that struggle was difficult, the memory of that struggle could be associated with the time of year.

Then, when that time of year comes again, the memory of that struggle can trigger anxiety and stress. An increase in stress can cause a return of symptoms.

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Similar life circumstances

If your struggle with anxiety disorder started due to life circumstances at that time of year, a return to similar life circumstances could cause a return of anxiety, stress, and symptoms.

For instance:

  • An increase in job demands due to seasonal changes could cause an increase in anxiety and stress, and then symptoms.
  • A return to a busy work travel schedule could also increase anxiety and stress, and then symptoms.

Other examples include:

  • Due to a change in home activities, such as getting children ready for school.
  • A return from summer holidays and then back to work.
  • You might have a negative view of the upcoming winter months. That negative view could cause anxiety and stress.
  • If you had an uncomfortable medical procedure last year and have another one coming this year, that can also trigger anxiety and stress.
  • If there are seasonal financial pressures that cause you anxiety and stress.
  • If there is an increase in physical work demands, such as getting your home and yard ready for winter, or if you are a farmer, harvest demands can increase stress.
  • If you become distressed about the onset of colder fall weather.
  • If you are a student, a return to school can be perceived as stressful.
  • If you like being outdoors and the thought of being indoors again due to winter can cause anxiety, stress, and symptoms.

And so on.

Without knowing more about your situation and circumstances, we can’t be more specific.

However, if you are working with a therapist, they should be able to spot patterns that could cause a return of anxiety, stress, and symptoms.

Keep in mind that whenever stress is allowed to elevate into the unhealthy range, it can produce symptoms.

If you have stressors that occur at a specific time of year, that’s likely when symptoms will return if you haven’t addressed the underlying factors that create that stress.

Working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist is the most effective way of identifying and successfully addressing the underlying factors that cause issues with anxiety and stress, and especially those associated with patterns.

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The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist, coach, or counselor is the most effective way to address anxiety and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed – which we call the underlying factors of anxiety – a struggle with anxiety unwellness can return again and again. Dealing with the underlying factors of anxiety is the best way to address problematic anxiety.

Additional Resources

Return to our Anxiety Frequent Questions archive.

anxietycentre.com: Information, support, and therapy for anxiety disorder and its symptoms, including Why Do My Anxiety Symptoms Return At The Same Time Every Year?