Researchers have found a significant link between genetics and diseases like cancer and heart disease. But what about mental health conditions like anxiety?
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health condition in the United States, affecting up to 30% of adults at some point in their lives. Genetics is one of many factors that may increase a person’s risk of developing an anxiety disorder.
Though there is a genetic connection, your genes don’t mean anxiety is inevitable or your condition is untreatable.
At Revîv Functional Psychiatry & TMS Wellness Center in Fullerton, California, our highly experienced psychiatrist Dr. Hina Sidhu specializes in diagnosing and treating anxiety disorders. We take a holistic approach to mental health, combining traditional psychiatric interventions with lifestyle changes to help our patients create a life that allows them to take control of their anxiety.
Keep reading to learn about anxiety and its genetic connection.
Some anxiety is a normal part of life. It’s the worry you feel when facing a new or challenging situation. Your feelings are brought on by your body’s stress response and are meant to help you get through the situation by boosting your energy and improving your focus. Your anxiety is temporary and resolves once the stress resolves.
However, some people may have overwhelming feelings of worry, dread, or fear that doesn’t go away, affecting their ability to function. Anxiety disorders are mental health conditions that cause ongoing feelings of anxiety that worsen over time.
Anxiety and genetics
Your genetics influence your health. Though researchers haven’t identified a specific anxiety gene, they have found a group of genes that may predispose a person to anxiety.
If anxiety disorders run in your family, you’re at greater risk of developing it. However, risk doesn’t equal causation, and genetics aren’t the only risk factor.
Other factors that cause anxiety
Environmental factors also cause anxiety. If you grew up with anxious parents, you may have learned that the world isn’t safe and bad things happen all the time. That may make you worry or even fear the world.
Going through a stressful or traumatic event at an early age may also put you at risk of developing an anxiety disorder. Shy children who get nervous in new situations are also at risk of developing anxiety disorders.
Anxiety disorders may also develop from an underlying medical condition like a thyroid problem.
You can’t change your genetics, but you can take steps to improve how you manage anxiety so it doesn’t take over your life. Treatment for anxiety depends on the type and severity of your symptoms. It can include:
- Lifestyle modifications
- Meditation or relaxation techniques
Finding healthy ways to manage your anxiety may prevent your symptoms from worsening. We also prescribe anti-anxiety medications when appropriate.
Genetics may play a role in your anxiety, but it’s not the only factor. If you have overwhelming feelings of anxiety affecting your daily life, we can provide the guidance and support you need to feel better. Call our office or book an appointment online today. We can also see you remotely through our telemedicine platform.