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
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
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
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
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
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