Is anxiety inherited?

Is anxiety inherited?

Anxiety comes in various forms and can affect anyone, anytime. Some people have the predisposition to be anxious, while some seem to cruise through life, staying calm even under intense pressure. For some, the bouts of anxiousness start affecting the day-to-day functioning of life, slowly but steadily taking the shape of a serious anxiety disorder. Though researchers are still trying to find out whether anxiety is inherited, studies reveal that if either parent suffered from it, the child might get it too. The anxious behaviors could be either learned or inherited.

In recent years, mental illnesses have started getting acceptance in the society, but that was not always the case. It may happen that the severe outbursts of a father or the nervous habits of a mother, were actually signs of anxiety or depression but they had no help. However, what if in today’s era of easy access to information, someone finds himself or herself reeling with panic, being short of breath, a bag of nerves or unable to sleep for months, just like his or her mother or father did? Could it be that they have inherited anxiety? If the latest research is to be believed, then the answer is a resounding yes.

Timely treatment can save a person from lifetime of misery

A study by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, has found that the brain function that is responsible for anxiety and depression is inherited. However, the researchers also ascertained the role of experience and environment in influencing disorders such as anxiety.

Dr. Ned Kalin, a psychiatrist at the University, and his team, studied the young rhesus monkeys and found three brain regions related to anxiety that could be inherited. Their results revealed that about 30 percent of early anxiety is inherited or can be traced in the family. They found that in the monkeys, three brain regions, such as the orbitofrontal cortex, amygdala and limbic system, registered more activity in anxious brains. The researchers believed that this over activity could be inherited.

Dr. Kalin and his team concluded that though this over activity made a person more vulnerable, treatment and intervention at the appropriate time can save a person from a lifetime of misery, since 70 percent of the variation in the risk is not genetic.

Other studies have revealed that though anxiety can be inherited, it is not necessary that a person with anxiety would have got it from a parent, or if neither has it, that person won’t be anxiety-ridden in his life. More importantly, even if one has anxiety, he can train his way out of it. Evolutionary psychologists also claim that some anxiety disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) could be the result of genetic mutations.

Can anxiety be a learned behavior?

Children are vulnerable and their brains malleable. They often pick up habits and tendencies from parents, right from the early childhood. Moreover, if they did not inherit it, chances are high that if one parent had anxiety and always acted that way in their environment, children could end up learning this behavior.

Further, recessive genes could be passed as a dominant gene to a child predisposing them to anxiety. In fact, a recessive gene of anxiety may become dominant in an offspring, thus, making him or her susceptible to the disorder.

Anxiety is treatable

There is no need to panic even if you suffer from anxiety. If you are experiencing symptoms of an anxiety disorder, talk to your parents. If any one of them had it, they may have coping techniques that could help you, or if a parent is exhibiting signs of anxiety, get them help.

The bottom line is that anxiety is treatable. Through medication and cognitive behavioral therapy, you can help yourself, or someone close to you, and completely recover from it. If you want to begin treatment and don’t know where to go, contact the Anxiety Treatment Centers of California. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-972-9459 to get access to the best anxiety treatment centers in California. You may also chat online with our treatment advisors to know more about anxiety disorders treatment in California.


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