Is Anxiety Genetic?
Mental illness is highly prevalent across the U.S. Anxiety disorders make up a considerable proportion of diagnosed mental illnesses. The National Association on Mental Illness (NAMI) says that 18% of all Americans suffer from a type of anxiety disorder.
But is anxiety genetic?
This is a debate scientists have had for some time. The role of nature vs. nurture in mental illness has long been studied. Limited research into the genes of the 9th chromosome may hold the answers.
Is anxiety disorder hereditary? We will answer that question, examine what other factors contribute to the emergence of this disorder, and look at the best ways to get help for anxiety.
What is Anxiety?
Do you suffer from anxiety? Genetic questions aside, not all types of anxiety are the same. Anxiety is a feeling. This is why it can be so difficult to diagnose disorders.
To make things more complicated, anxiety may also be one of the symptoms of another mental illness.
Diagnosis is difficult, and drilling down into the precise type of disorder is even more difficult. Some types of anxiety are more common than others, however.
Types of Anxiety
- Phobias – A type of anxiety triggered by something specific. It could be anything from a fear of heights, fear of spiders, or fear of being alone.
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) – A form of chronic anxiety relating to everyday experiences and environments.
- Panic Disorder – Recurring, frequent panic attacks.
- Social Anxiety Disorder – Intense fear of social situations.
- Separation Anxiety Disorder – A fear of losing loved ones.
Anxiety is a feeling and may manifest itself both physically and mentally. Anyone suffering from an anxiety disorder will be filled with excessive worry and fear. They may also jump to the worst-case scenario, often passed off as extreme pessimism or cynicism.
Physical symptoms of anxiety can include:
- An elevated heart rate
- Tense muscles
- Sleeping problems
Is Anxiety Genetic?
Common questions patients, healthcare providers, and scientists have endeavored to answer over the years include:
- Is anxiety hereditary?
- Is anxiety inherited?
- Is there such a thing as an anxiety gene?
- Is anxiety disorder genetic?
Significant advancements have been made concerning the research into the genes of the 9th chromosome. Currently, scientists believe that anxiety disorders have a 26% chance of being inherited.
A range of factors goes into whether someone develops an anxiety disorder. So, is anxiety hereditary or learned? It’s a combination of both.
Environment and genetics can both play a role in the development of these disorders.
Can I take medications to get rid of Anxiety?
Short answer is yes, however many of these medications are addictive and have the potential for abuse.
Your doctor will put you on a “Trial and Error” of trying different medications until one works with the least amount of side effects. This method can take well over 6 months to a year just to find the right medication. Skip the “Trial and Error” and find out exactly works best with your body, unique to your DNA with Precision Medicine. The Pharmacogenetic Test (PGX) will tell you exactly what will work well for you as well as which medications to stay away from.
Get off the doom loop of “Trial and Error” and move to Precision Medicine with TruGenX as we work with you and your doctor.
Results are sent to you and your doctor, and a Molecular Specialist will go over the results at your request. We have made the report using the “Stop Light” (Green/Yellow?Red) to try and make it as simple as possible, however our Molecular Specialist can deep dive into what your genetics say about your body and how it metabolizes medications
Am I Guaranteed to Pass it to My Kids?
Parents who suffer from a disorder may worry about whether their anxiety and genetics mean they’re guaranteed to pass the disorder to their children.
The latest research shows that children with anxiety disorders were three times more likely to have at least one parent who suffers from an anxiety disorder. This does not, however, mean inherited anxiety is a guarantee.
Whether a child suffers from anxiety disorder mainly depends on the environment they grow up in.
What Life Events or Environmental Factors Can Contribute to Anxiety?
Can anxiety be genetic? Yes, but scientists know environmental factors and life experiences are the main contributing factors.
Every experience impacts a person differently. What research has shown is that certain factors do increase the likelihood of triggering an anxiety disorder.
Some of these factors include:
- Family violence
- Sexual abuse
- Three or more traumatic childhood experiences
- Substance abuse
Getting Help for Your Anxiety
There is help available for people who suffer from anxiety. First, it’s important never to self-diagnose an anxiety disorder.
- Seek out professional help through a doctor. Healthcare professionals are the only people who can effectively diagnose an anxiety disorder.
- Consider therapy. According to the American Psychological Association, 75% of participants find talk therapy helpful.
- Be willing to alter your lifestyle. Many lifestyle factors help with anxiety management.
- Consider medication. Medication is not always necessary, but for some people, it can help. If you do choose to go down this road, we would suggest taking a PGX test to ensure you are on the correct medication and dosages, removing all “Trial and Error” and going straight to Precision Medicine with TruGenX
- Avoid triggers. Does a specific situation trigger you? Think of ways in which you can avoid those triggers.
Anxiety is chronic in most cases. However, this is no barrier to living a fulfilling, joyful life. Most people who seek professional treatment for anxiety can successfully manage their disorders with help.
Is anxiety genetic?
Yes, genetics can be a significant contributing factor, but it is far from the most important one. Environmental factors and life experiences influence anxiety disorders far more than genetic factors do.
Anxiety can be managed through medication and therapy. Medications play a significant role in helping people cope with anxiety and do not always have devastating side effects.
Find out more about the anxiety medications that can help you through TruGenXs’ pharmacogenetic testing services.