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Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Is Anxiety Hereditary? | Genetic Anxiety

genetic anxiety

When in a new situation or facing a particularly challenging time in your life, it is natural to be a little anxious about it. You may be worried about making a favorable impression at an interview or concerned about getting to know neighbors in a new town. However, if those feelings of worry or fear do not go away or become worse, you could have an anxiety disorder. Is anxiety hereditary?

Types of Anxiety Disorders

There are several different types of anxiety disorders. Excessive worry about everyday things such as health, work, routine life events, and social interactions are part of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). The intense fear can cause serious issues in the individual’s daily activities at work, school, and in personal relationships.

Panic disorder is another type of anxiety disorder. Individuals who have sudden periods of intense fear that come on quickly may have panic disorder. Recurrent unexpected panic attacks occur unexpectedly. They can also be brought on a particular situation or object that is feared by the individual.

When someone has a phobia, they have an intense fear of situations or objects that typically do not present any real danger to them. A phobia can be a fear of closed spaces, large gatherings of people, heights, or something else that the individual feels is a threat to their health and safety.

Anxiety Symptoms

Symptoms will vary, depending on the type of anxiety and the person experiencing it. Some people have nightmares or painful thoughts they can’t control. Some have a general feeling of worry or fear. Symptoms of general anxiety include restlessness, trouble concentrating, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, and difficulty falling asleep.

Is Anxiety Hereditary?

Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental health disorders. The specific cause of anxiety, like many other such disorders, is unknown. Research on families and twins have determined that both genetics and environment are factors in whether an individual develops anxiety. The studies found that the heritability of the disorder to be at 30% to 50%.

Anxiety is considered to be partially genetic, meaning it can be hereditary, but family can influence the onset of an anxiety disorder in many different ways. If a family member had an anxiety disorder, it increases the possibility that you will also have the condition. However, it doesn’t mean you are destined to inherit it.

Nature and Nurture

Your life experiences, including your family environment, can also play a role in whether you will develop an anxiety disorder. The heritability rate cited by researchers means that if a member of your family, including parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents, have the condition, your chances of inheriting genetic anxiety increase. Scientists have found that genes located on chromosome 9 are associated with anxiety.

Researchers also recognize the importance of nurture, the environment in which you grew up, in determining certain types of illness that affect both physical and mental health. Other factors in your life, including traumatic experiences as a child or a young adult, also have an impact on your potential for developing an anxiety disorder.

You may have had a particularly frightening experience involving being trapped in a tight space, for example, and that could very well contribute to a phobia known as claustrophobia. With this fear of tight spaces becoming more significant as you age, you will find that you try to avoid such situations completely.

Your family can also influence your mental health in other ways. Parents model certain behaviors for their children, intentionally or not. If a parent does not enjoy social interactions, they may avoid engaging with others in a social setting. A child growing up in this environment may find that they start to also avoid social events and that behavior could develop into social anxiety as they grow up.

California Faith-Based Mental Health and Addiction Treatment

Celebrate Hope is here for you when you need help with mental health issues, such as an anxiety disorder, particularly when it co-occurs with addiction. Please contact Celebrate Hope to learn more about our faith-based dual diagnosis treatment program. Our team helps men and women address the vicious cycle of mental illness and addiction so they can begin life anew. We rely on the teachings of Jesus Christ, along with evidence-based therapies to get individuals on the path of recovery.

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